When Lane Kiffin abandoned the Tennessee Volunteers to go to the USC Trojans, he brought with him an air of change to the program. Everyone assumed that he would be able to get the Trojans back to the top of the PAC-12 and even the NCAA. Three years later, USC is nowhere near a top team in the PAC-12 and Kiffin is without a job.
After the 62 – 41 loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday, Kiffin was fired from USC. However, Kiffin was not fired due to the loss to Arizona State, to even suggest that would be completely ignorant of that talent that the Sun Devils posses.
Arizona State is a dangerous team in the PAC-12. Taylor Kelly is the real deal at quarterback, and the Sun Devils’ defense is much better than they are given credit. This is a team that could really surprise potential BCS-bound teams later in the season. So, why would a loss against a good team result in firing the head coach?
Kiffin’s firing was due to the string of losses he had accumulated with USC and that he had lost the faith of the players and fans. It’s impossible to bring in recruits and prepare for a future, especially at a storied program like USC, if even the talented players are unhappy.
Despite USC’s recent struggles, Kiffin shouldn’t be blamed for the Trojans’ train wreck of a football team. I’m not a fan of Kiffin, but you cannot win in major NCAA football conferences without both offense and defense. USC has struggled offensively all season long, and the one time their offense actually showed up late in a game, their defense was missing.
It’s easy to blame Kiffin for a terrible job coaching, but what winning really comes down to in college football is the players. USC isn’t the USC of the past anymore; there are a lot more problems with the program than just the coach.
Until the Trojans get some new recruits that look like they actually want to play for the team instead of trying to get a free ride to the NFL, USC can change the coach 20 times and it’s not going to do any good. Kiffin’s firing is the start of the changes that USC needs to make in order to get back into PAC-12 contention, but it’s not what is going to get the Trojans there.