While the USC Trojans didn’t come close to living up to their preseason No. 1 ranking in the AP poll, they do need coach Lane Kiffin to stay for the 2013 season if they are going to eventually compete at the top level of college football.
The Trojans were recently booted from the AP poll following their loss to UCLA, and it’s going to take an unlikely win over No. 1 ranked Notre Dame to get back in, but that’s beside the point. Many were predicting a Heisman campaign for QB Matt Barkley, and the team to compete in the BCS National Championship Game—especially with a soft Pac-12 schedule.
Unfortunately, the 7-4 program lost against Stanford, Arizona, Oregon and most recently the Bruins, causing a number of supporters and analysts to wonder whether or not Kiffin would be retained.
According to Mike Hiserman of the Los Angeles Times, Kiffin assured the media that he would return to his post next season. It would be the first time in his head coaching career that he lasted more than two seasons at one location.
Bill Plaschke of the LA Times noted that USC athletic director Pat Haden is also on board with this decision:
Lane is my head coach, 150%, now and hopefully for a long time. I see the future. I see the potential. I know what he's been fighting through and I like what he's done.
It’s great news for the team’s players that Kiffin wants back, and the USC decision-makers want him back. They now have a chance to have some more consistency and can build on this disappointing 2012 campaign.
Should the Trojans retain Kiffin?
Players like WRs Marqise Lee and possibly Robert Woods should be returning; there are three suitable options at the QB position in Cody Kessler and Max Wittek; and Kiffin is an excellent recruiter that will bring in another coveted class.
The Trojans are eventually going to be competing for a BCS bowl in the next few years, as long as they keep their head coach and build upon the failed 2012 season.