But, it’s all of the other stuff that has been attached to USC this fall, much of it seeming so petty, that has made the program into something of a national punchline. That’s what is really fueling this.
There’s just been a ridiculous amount of well, ridiculous stuff that has led to a constant stream of odd USC news this fall. Some of it is definitely Kiffin’s fault. Some of it would likely fall into a gray area or no one would even care about it if it were just about any other coach. (Who knows exactly what’s behind this whole deflated balls story?) But that’s just it with Lane Kiffin these days. He lost the benefit of the doubt a long time again, and whatever credibility he built back up last season has been stripped away.
It is all so bizarre. Last year, he led USC to a 10-2 season where among other things, the Trojans were a 9-point underdog in South Bend and he out-coached Brian Kelly and they beat the Irish by two TDs. Then, a few weeks the Trojans, a 15-point underdog, snapped Oregon’s 21-game home winning streak. Those were big wins for Kiffin with people around the USC program. But now that’s all a distant memory and all those people who wrote their off-season stories about how Lane Kiffin had supposedly matured feel so duped.
This all seems so beneath Pat Haden, the program’s A.D. who is widely regarded as a decent, sincere man. Haden and the USC brass aren’t the knee-jerk, panic types that you see mucking up college programs at some other parts of the country. Point being if you’ve frustrated Pat Haden, you’ve really done something.
How much does all of this Twitter fodder actually impact Kiffin’s team on the field? Hard to say. I know this: it certainly doesn’t help. It sure looks like this team is tight.
Players are smart. They’re aware of what’s going on. Heck, USC is more proactive in promoting its’ players Twitter accounts than any other program in the country.
If the Trojans lose two of their next three games, I could see the USC brass going into a different direction. Win all three and then lose again to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game and I suspect Kiffin returns.