USC Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Trojans Loss vs. Arizona
I can see the headlines now: Demolition in the Desert. Trojans Trounced in Tucson. Kiffin Killed By ‘Cats.
And so on.
That was ugly, undisciplined, sloppy, immature football played this afternoon by the USC Trojans. It is inexcusable, unacceptable. It is an absolute waste of the talent the Trojans have on their sideline.
I’m resisting the powerful urge to title the slides: "Lane Kiffin Sucks." "Lane Kiffin is Arrogant." "Lane Kiffin is Immature." Etc.
It is tempting. Make no mistake, 90 percent of this loss has to be attributed to the coaching mistakes, which I will address shortly.
All is not well in Troy, not by a long shot. If something doesn’t change, the Trojans could be staring down the throat of a 6-6 season. I am not even joking—the team that took the field today will get demolished by Oregon, will get beaten by ASU for the second year in a row, will get crushed by crosstown rival UCLA and will get steamrolled by Notre Dame.
113 yards of penalties. USC cannot play that kind of football and win games against the teams left on its schedule.
Let’s just get on with the 10 Things We’ve Learned About USC today:
Lane Kiffin Is a Terrible Coach
This loss was 100 percent a failure on the part of the coaching staff.
Lane Kiffin is immature and petulant and so is his team. He is arrogant and incapable of in-game adjustments. USC's opponents know this and are then able to come out with a different game plan for second half and fourth quarter and throw USC off its game. It is unacceptable.
Arizona beat USC today in the very same way that Stanford did—by completely outplaying USC and dominating USC in the fourth quarter. If Kiffin were not so arrogant and immature, he might have been able to see the flaws in his own game plan and adjust accordingly.
But he didn’t, and USC lost. It did not have to be that way.
Kiffin has been terrible and ineffectual at in-game and half-time adjustments all season. It is not acceptable.
Marqise Lee Is a Beast
To be fair, we already knew this. However, did we understand it to the extent that we do now after today's showcase?
Marqise Lee had a huge day, breaking the Pac-12 record and USC record for receiving yards with 16 catches for 345 yards. Nearly 300 of those came in the first half alone.
Lee ended the day with 469 all-purpose yards including a couple of big kick returns.
The good news is that Lee is a sophomore. He cannot enter the NFL draft until 2014.
The Penalties Are out of Control
Again, we knew this, but to THIS EXTENT?
13 penalties. 117 yards. A boatload of personal fouls. Seriously, you could have made a drinking game out of it.
It is out of control, undisciplined and unacceptable. Lane Kiffin is immature and petulant and so is his team. It is a systemic issue that starts at the top.
USC is the most penalized program of all 120 FBS teams. And It gets worse from week to week.
Preseason Polls Are Meaningless
I am the Queen of obvious statements today but...come on! Did this USC team today look like a No. 1 team?
They were designated as such in the preseason polls. USC was supposed to contend for the national championship. Matt Barkley was the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.
My how things have changed.
The Defense Is Not Elite
USC’s Defense is just not gelling as they should be at this point in the season. Sure, Arizona’s offense is actually elite (instead of pretend-elite like USC), but they completely fell apart in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter.
Of course, the problem also lies in the offense not being able to hold onto the ball today, which helped wear out the Trojan defense far too early in the game.
There Is Something Wrong with Matt Barkley
Marqise Lee can’t do everything, but it looks like he has to.
Meanwhile, Barkley has been off his game most of the season. Sure, he looked good in last week’s 50-6 blowout win over Colorado, but give him an actual defense to play against and he falls apart, throwing pick after pick after pick—literally tossing long balls into space where nary a Trojan was.
It really seems like there may be something deeper going on with Matt Barkley—his health, an injury—something.
USC Can't Hold onto the Ball
Silas Redd and Jawanza Starling both fumbled the ball today—a dangerous practice against a team like Arizona.
Nevermind that it is not going to get any easier for the Trojans.
USC Likes to Turn over the Ball
If USC keeps turning over the ball FIVE TIMES in one game, they are going to keep losing the game. It is a simple and basic principle of football.
It is another systemic discipline problem that starts with the Coach.
November Is Going to Be a Very Rough Month for the Trojans and Their Fans
Y'all, it is hard to even contemplate just how hard November is going to get. Next week USC faces off against a scary good Oregon team. The following week the Trojans have a determined Arizona State visiting L.A. for USC's Homecoming game.
The week after that, USC travels to the Rose Bowl to meet crosstown foe UCLA.
Thanksgiving Saturday, the likelihood of USC facing an undefeated Notre Dame team is great.
USC could end up 6-6 if they keep playing like they played versus Arizona. Personally, I think USC ends up 8-4. But it is the prospect of a 6-6 season that strikes fear deep into my heart.
Other words that strike fear into the heart of every Trojan: "Notre Dame is relevant again."—Brent Musburger
USC's National Title Hopes Dead
USC fans held onto the slimmest of hopes that these Trojans could climb back into national title contention until Saturday.
Even in the highly unlikely event that USC wins out, they have two losses now and plenty of much better teams will have one or fewer losses.
It will be interesting to see which Trojan team rolls out next weekend in the Coliseum when Oregon comes calling. Did USC overlook the Wildcats in preparation for the Ducks?
At this point it doesn't even look like USC controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 South division. That is a far fall from the lofty goals the team had coming into the year.
You cannot play sloppy, undisciplined, inconsistent football and be considered one of the best teams in the country. USC is not a good football team right now. Not by a long shot.