USC vs. Washington: What a Loss Would Mean for Lane Kiffin, Trojans

Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 10, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 08: Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans laughs with his teammates and head coach Lane Kiffin, right, before the start of their game against the Syracuse Orange at MetLife Stadium on September 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It has been a roller-coaster ride of a season if you are a USC fan.

A team that was considered one of the best in the country before the season started has already suffered one loss and could have very well received a couple more. The team has not looked like championship contenders and is struggling to knock off even some of the worst teams in the conference.

This weekend, the Trojans will travel to Washington to take on a Huskies team that has already upset Stanford, the same team that beat USC earlier in the year. While Lane Kiffin and company should win this game off of talent alone, you could say the same thing in the other contests that this football team has had a hard time in.

A total of four of the last six meetings between these two clubs has been decided by single-digits, and here is what a loss would mean to the Trojans if the Huskies manage to pull off another upset in 2012.


Matt Barkley

Heading into the season, Matt Barkley was considered by many to be the best quarterback in college football. Although USC has a horrible history of producing quality NFL quarterbacks, he was a lock to be taken in the first round of next year’s NFL draft and was the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

Barkley put his dreams of playing in the next level on hold to not only accomplish all of those things, but to also lead his talented team to a national championship. A loss to Washington would destroy all of that and make the senior quarterback second guess his decision for returning to school.

There is a good chance Barkley has already lost the Heisman to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, as the USC signal-caller is listed as the fifth best candidate, according to ESPN. Another loss would destroy any outside chance of winning the award and would make NFL scouts question his ability to lead his team more than they already are.

Many also like Smith over Barkley as an NFL prospect, so the USC quarterback simply can't afford another loss to his already shaky senior season.


Lane Kiffin

A loss would give Kiffin haters even more reason to hate his guts.

The bottom line is that he failed miserably with the Oakland Raiders, he did a mediocre job with Tennessee before skipping town after one season and he hasn't done much with USC through the first few years.

With one of the more talented teams in the country, a two-loss season would be simply unacceptable for a USC team coming fresh off of NCAA sanctions. The team is also averaging 10 penalties and two turnovers a game, which can be placed on poor discipline.

Kiffin is a great recruiter and bright offensive mind, but at programs such as USC, you are judged off of wins and losses. National championships and big-time bowl games help as well.

USC is a program that was extremely successful just a few years ago under Pete Carroll. And while it is not fair to compare the two just yet, Kiffin is expected to lead this team to a BCS bowl at the very least. A two-loss season could very well spell trouble for the third-year head coach and this program moving forward.


Trojans Football Team

As a team, you should consider it one of the worst disappointing seasons in program history if a loss takes place. Coming off of a two-year bowl ban and the whole scandal that gave the program more than a black eye, 2012 was supposed to be a season that made up for lost time.

Bringing back a majority of last year’s starters, including arguably the best quarterback in the country, two 1,000-yard rushers and some of the best receivers college football has to offer, a Pac-12 title and national championship is expected. Many had considered this Trojans team to be the best football squad outside of the SEC, and two losses would remove almost all hope of reaching a BCS National Championship, as well as put a dent in possible conference title hopes.

With a loss this weekend to Washington, a team that was supposed to run the table in the eyes of many would now be fighting just to reach the Pac-12 Championship, as it would be the team’s second conference loss.

Simply put, a loss can't take place this weekend if the Trojans are hoping to fulfill any of this year’s goals it set out for itself.