USC Football: Would Blowout Loss to Notre Dame Spell the End of Lane Kiffin Era?

Randy ChambersAnalyst INovember 19, 2012

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 17:  Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans speaks to his offense during a 38-28 loss to the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl on November 17, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

This season can't end quick enough for the USC Trojans, as the team picked to win the Pac-12 has now lost hope of even competing in the championship game, and has fallen out of the BCS rankings.

With the Trojans suffering an embarrassing loss to the UCLA Bruins, USC now drops to 7-4 on the season and will likely have to settle for the Holiday Bowl, which would not be treated like a holiday from players that expected a national championship.

With the season getting worse by the week, head coach Lane Kiffin said that USC athletic director Pat Haden told him he is guaranteed to return for the 2013 season, according to ESPN. 

"Obviously, we're extremely disappointed in the season. We're too talented to have this many losses, and that falls on me," Kiffin said.

The bad news continues if you are a USC fan.

But even with things looking the way they are at the moment, things could become even more disappointing for this program with Notre Dame on the schedule this week. The Irish are one win away from competing for a national championship and capping off an undefeated season.

A loss is likely in the cards for the struggling Trojans, especially with quarterback Matt Barkley scheduled to miss the game due to injury.

The Irish are a remarkable defensive club, and regardless of the playmakers on the outside for USC, Notre Dame should be able to take advantage of an inexperienced Max Wittek at the quarterback position.

Even though Haden reportedly said Kiffin will return next year, would a blowout loss change his mind and force him to show Kiffin the door once the season comes to an end?

Truthfully, Kiffin should be gone at the end of the year, regardless of the outcome this weekend. 

A team that had all of the talent in the world isn't even one of the top teams in its own conference. The incidents off the field have become too much to handle, and now USC will watch a less talented Notre Dame team enter Los Angeles Coliseum with a chance to reach the national championship with a victory on Saturday.

That is what USC was supposed to do this year.

The Trojans have turned the ball over 29 times this season, which is tied for 115th in college football; the 8.7 penalties the team averages a game is good for 11th in the Pac-12, and it seems like there are more missed tackles than actual tackles on the field.

You can say that Kiffin doesn't play the game, but he is the head coach, and a lack of discipline and poor fundamentals is a sign of bad coaching.

You can say that Kiffin is a terrific recruiter and you would be right. That is probably the only thing that is keeping him around at this point. However, selling a program that has won 11 championships, has produced 78 consensus All-Americans and plays home games in California can't be that difficult.

We aren't talking about Massachusetts, Akron or Tulane, this is USC and regardless of who the head coach is, top recruits will sign up to become Trojans.

The program just needs somebody who can win with the talent that is on the roster, and Kiffin has shown obviously that he can't get the job done. When you include all of the incidents off the field that have occurred as well, it really isn’t worth keeping around a coach who has only won 65 percent of his games throughout his career.

This isn't Urban Meyer or Nick Saban we are talking about, it is Kiffin, a coach that has a bigger bark than bite, and carries controversy with him wherever he goes.

Unfortunately for USC fans, the school will likely have the same head coach roaming the sidelines next season, and another year of mediocrity will be in store for the program that is so hungry to be back on top.

Whether the loss to Notre Dame is by one possession or falls in the same boat as the one to Oregon, USC should begin the search for a new coach, but it doesn't look like that will be the case.

And the disappointment continues.


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