USC has been a flagship college football program for the last decade. Since 2003, the Trojans have a 116-21 overall record, including two national championships (vacated or not). It's impossible to neglect the immense amount of success this program has had over the years.
Despite the NCAA sanctions that were placed on USC, they were still able to attract some quality recruits to keep the program afloat during their darkest hours.
However, the Trojans loss to the UCLA Bruins tonight has made one thing readily apparent: The Bruins are the new kings of Los Angeles.
That's not to say USC is done as a prominent college football program. They will always be "Tailback U" and the allure of playing for one of the most historic programs in the nation will always garner them recruits. However, recent events suggest that it's going to be a long time before we see the Trojans put a truly dominant team back out onto the football field.
Let's take a look at three reasons why USC is now playing little brother to UCLA.
Nobody Is Scared of the Trojans Anymore
Gone are the days of Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Mike Williams and the dominant USC football teams that struck fear in the hearts of their opponents. The current Trojans squad has lost three of their last four contests. Furthermore, they have given up at least 38 points in each of those losses. USC used to be a program that prided itself on defense, but now it's getting walked all over by teams like Arizona and UCLA.
USC has not lived up to their expectations this season. At times, they have looked flat. On other occasions, it appeared as if they expected their opponents to lie down at their feet. This squad does not have the heart, the grit or the talent that college football fans are used to seeing from USC football teams.
UCLA showed the nation today that not only are they unafraid of the Trojans, but that they are an up-and-coming team that isn't planning on leaving the national landscape anytime soon.
Lane Kiffin is a leach that is sucking the life right out of USC's football program. He has left a path of destruction in each of his previous head coaching gigs. In fact, Tennessee has still not recovered from Kiffin's disastrous one-and-done tenure. Not only did Kiffin bring the program under fire for violating NCAA recruiting policies, but failed as a head coach as well.
At USC, Kiffin has had to deal with crippling NCAA sanctions that the program is just now beginning to emerge from. However, he has a proven track record of leaving places worse off then when he got there. With Matt Barkley graduating after this season, there is a good chance that the Trojans are going to get worse before they get better. Especially as they continue to feel the repercussions of the poor recruiting classes they brought in while under postseason bans.
Lane Kiffin is a smart football mind. He's just not an honorable, worthwhile individual that should be leading young men onto the football field ever week. As long as USC has Kiffin as a head coach, UCLA will continue to get better as the expense of USC.
UCLA Is Back
UCLA has come a long way since losing to the Trojans 50-0 in 2011. The Bruins have beaten three ranked teams this season. Furthermore, with today's win, they clinched the Pac-12 South divisional title and will play either Oregon or Stanford for a chance to go to the Rose Bowl. Not too shabby for a team that finished last season under .500.
There is some good young talent at UCLA. Brett Hundley lead the Bruins to victory today as a freshman quarterback. Shaquelle Evans is eligible to return next season and the list goes on. If they keep beating USC, UCLA is going to have a much easier time attracting top prospects out of the southern California area.