Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dead Pool Update: USC Fires Kiffin

In a move that took place well before the sun came up, and was decided during the second half of a 62-41 loss to Arizona State, USC fired Lane Kiffin, making him the first Dead Pool candidate on our list to fall victim to the swirling waters in 2013.
USC tied a school record by giving up 62 points to ASU last night, and gave up over 600 yards of offense, while turning the ball over four times in the loss that sent the Trojans spiraling to 0-2 in PAC-12 play. Kiffin lost 7 of his final 11 games as head coach of the program that he took over in the midst of what became NCAA sanctions.
Kiffin's final record at USC is 28-15, but the wins were getting harder to come by. If you will remember, I had predicted that if the Trojans had fallen to Boston College two weeks ago, that Kiffin would have been removed from his post back then. The Trojans blasted BC 35-7, which was followed by a stumbling 17-14 win over Utah State at home last week, a game that only the defense carried.
Kiffin, who has always been thought of as an offensive guru after he and Steve Sarkisian ousted Norm Chow as OC years ago, hasn't found an offensive pulse for USC this fall. Quarterback play has been a disaster, and never has it been considered to bring in Max Browne, and highly touted recruit out of Skyline, Washington, to save the Trojan's, and Kiffin's proverbial rumps.
When Kiffin never turned to the true freshman at QB, it became apparent that he believed that he would eventually be terminated, a fact that this blog has touted from day one of the 2013 season. Kiffin saved Browne for another administration, much as Rick Neuheisel had done at UCLA with Brett Hundley two years ago.
Some say that Kiffin will ride again in the coaching world, but I say, to quote Lee Corso, not so fast my friend. Kiffin was an abject disaster with the Oakland Raiders, hired much too early in his career to steer a ship that was already headed for falling off the ends of the Earth. Once fired into his second season, he landed at Tennessee, and managed to piss off everyone within the area covered by the range of the Smokies.
Kiffin's reputation has been severely damaged time and time again. He has the personality of a brick, and has always had a bad relationship with the media, despite attempts to soften his place with said media in 2013, as if somehow that would solve his issues. As of right now, there is absolutely no acumen to show that Kiffin is a viable hire. Remember, in his one year at Tennessee, he only managed a 7-6 record.
The Trojans were the preseason number one ranked team in the country in 2012, and the team finished 7-6, with a humiliating loss in the Sun Bowl, in which his team was fractured, and nobody believed.
That fracture of team morale continued into 2013, with players holding a meeting that half, or more, of the team never even knew happened, and Kiffin was clueless about himself. Kiffin's own father, Monte, bailed on the program after last season, leaving a sinking ship for the Dallas Cowboys, and he seemed to be the soul of whatever was left of the program.
Kiffin also lost Los Angeles to Jim Mora and UCLA. Mora, who is hardly considered media friendly, at least has the energy, the drive, and despite his blow ups with the press, has a much better way with people in general than Kiffin. When you lose LA to UCLA, you are toast at USC.
Kiffin had the deck stacked heavily against him, but that means nothing at USC. You are expected to overcome somehow. It doesn't matter how. USC is hardly a stranger to bending the rules, and they have certainly done so in the past to come back from despair. Of course, long term, that never really worked either.
USC now has the task of finding a new viable mind to right the ship at the tail end of the Reggie Bush sanctions. As of this moment, I cannot possibly begin to think of who the right guy is for the Trojans. I will begin to compile my personal list in the coming days, but the hire won't be made for another two months. Pat Haden certainly will have his choice of candidates, and will do just fine with the hire.
As for now, USC has to find a way to survive, and move on from this mess, and they will. That being said, the dynasty days aren't walking back in that door anytime soon, no matter what some might say. There is much work to be done, and much mending of fences on the recruiting trail to be hammered out. USC has much work to do, and not much time to do it. UCLA is heating up, and there is no end in sight to where that train is going. Any new coach will have to play catch up, and will have a tight leash to do so. The college football world will be waiting, and watching, with keen interest.

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