USC Football: Lane Kiffin Is Scapegoat for Failing Program

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent INovember 25, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans before the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Saturday night's 22-13 loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish left a bitter taste in the mouths of USC fans, and rightly so.

Two interceptions from redshirt freshman quarterback Max Wittek and 439 total yards allowed by the Trojans defense likely helped the Irish clinch an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game, but USC head coach Lane Kiffin doesn't deserve all of the blame.

According to Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times, fans are calling for Kiffin's demise at USC after the Trojans lost four of their last five games to finish the season 7-5. ESPN's Rick Reilly gets his quips in on Kiffin, tweeting:

Notre Dame waits 45 days now to play again. Lane Kiffin could lose two jobs in that time.

— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) November 25, 2012

But why are USC fans so quick to point the finger at Kiffin?

The last time I checked, it wasn't the head coach's fault that his star quarterback was injured, forcing him to start a redshirt freshman on one of the biggest stages in college football.

Granted, Kiffin's game management has been questionable in the past, but is he really responsible for what his players do on the field?

If you watched last night's game, you saw USC's offense moving almost lethargically to the line in that crucial fourth quarter. You also saw guard Marcus Martin jump offside—unless Kiffin is a sorcerer, he had no control over Martin jumping or his offense moving slower than molasses.

And again, you could lay all the blame upon Kiffin for his play-calling at the goal line, where he ran it three straight times and passed on fourth down, but Notre Dame was destined to win that football game last night, as Notre Dame hasn't finished a season undefeated since 1988.

Barkley was supposed to lead this USC team to the promised land, but let's not forget how he looked during the latter portion of the season.

In his last four games of the season—not coincidentally, the Trojans went 1-3 during this span—Barkley threw nine interceptions after throwing just six during his first seven games of the season.

USC's running game—which ranked No. 70 in the nation—didn't help and neither did its defense that allowed more than 24 points per game.

I don't blame USC fans for being upset, but I think the blame goes a lot further than just the head coach. 

Follow me on Twitter: