USC Football: Sun Bowl Debacle Should Put Lane Kiffin on the Hot Seat in 2013

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterDecember 31, 2012

Sometimes, Twitter recaps games perfectly.

Case in point: Former USC linebacker Chris Galippo encapsulated the USC vs. Georgia Tech Hyundai Sun Bowl matchup quite succinctly for USC fans.

I've been trying to be good on here lately but this is SO bad.

— Chris Galippo (@ChrisGalippo) December 31, 2012

This is a bunch of guys that were convinced they were gonna be in the NC. So now, El Paso, GT, it's windy... meh.

— Chris Galippo (@ChrisGalippo) December 31, 2012

You haveta wonder if losing this bowl game changes anything regarding Lane.

— Chris Galippo (@ChrisGalippo) December 31, 2012

That pretty much sums up USC's 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech at the Sun Bowl. Frankly, it wasn't even that close—USC was held scoreless in the second half. Through three quarters of play, the Trojans could only muster four first downs and went three-and-out on four straight possessions. 

It was U-G-L-Y. 

USC head coach Lane Kiffin was somberly dressed—black windbreaker with hood and dark sunglasses. Perfect. For a funeral. 

USC came out lethargic and uninspired while Kiffin stood on the sidelines looking at his play-call sheet—a play-call sheet that should be copied and sent to every USC opponent if they want to beat the Trojans next year. Seriously.  

The Trojans lost to a team that had to get a waiver to play in the Sun Bowl. A team whose defense gave up an average of 30 points a game. A team that allowed an FCS team—Presbyterian—to score just four points less than what USC scored. USC mustered up 205 yards against Georgia Tech while the Presbyterian Blue Hose strutted for 243 yards. 

Where do you even go to describe this complete disaster of a bowl?

It started out with the bowl-week festivities. Several USC players made their feelings known about having to go to El Paso via Twitter—they would later apologize. 

Later on in the week, USC arrived late to the bowl's Sheriff's Posse dinner, which both teams were scheduled to attend. Georgia Tech was scheduled to arrive at 6:30, but arrived 30 minutes early, according to's Dan Weber

USC was scheduled to arrive at 6:45, but arrived at 7:15. USC was blasted for its perceived snub, but the team actually didn't do anything wrong, according to Weber:

Because according to the official schedule, Georgia Tech was supposed to stay until 8:30 p.m. so the Yellow Jackets actually left an hour and 15 minutes earlier than they were supposed to. And got no criticism because, of course, they fired the first shot.

USC was caught totally surprised because they'd kept the Sun Bowl officials apprised all the way through and everyone knew they were running late as the result of a flight delay from L.A.

"It wasn't a problem for anybody," USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone said Thursday. "No one was upset."

Still, the City of El Paso wasn't impressed by USC's lack of perceived excitement over its bowl, and hence, USC generally got blamed for the whole debacle.

So maybe the actual game would be a good one? For USC fans and alumni, it was the defining point of a season that came crashing down to earth like a North Korean missile launch. 

It was painful to watch. Redshirt quarterback Max Wittek looked absolutely lost trying to go through his progressions—at least four of his passes were batted down and he ended up going 14-of-37 for 107 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. It wasn't exactly his fault, although a lot of the offensive ineptitude was due to his inconsistency—many of his throws were either too high or short-armed. 

What Kiffin should have done was rotate his quarterbacks—it worked for Georgia Tech. What Kiffin should have done was prepare his team.

Instead, Kiffin fielded a team that didn't tackle, didn't play with intensity and didn't beat a team that got more fight from Maryland, that same Maryland team that had a linebacker playing in the quarterback position. 

USC, a preseason No. 1 team, lost five of its last six games to finish 7-6. The last time a Trojan team had six losses was in 2001.

It's hard to find any highlights in this game, but there were a few. USC was only penalized twice for 10 yards. Running back Silas Redd was still fighting for yardage until the bitter end, while Robert Woods looked fired up. But that's the end of the highlight reel for USC.

Woods has declared he will forego his senior year and enter the NFL draft, according to this tweet from ESPN's Pedro Moura:

Robert Woods formally announced that he will turn pro and forego his senior season at USC

— Pedro Moura (@PedroMoura) December 31, 2012

It's a good decision for Woods because Troy is burning right now.

Wittek doesn't seem to have progressed from the Notre Dame game and alumni are rallying around their "Fire Kiffin" chants on Twitter, no less. Kiffin, by the way, was "assured" by athletic director Pat Haden that his job isn't in jeopardy, according to USC hasn't even felt the full effects of the NCAA scholarship restrictions. 

But that was six weeks ago. And a lot has happened in six weeks.

A highly coveted prospect (Eddie Vanderdoes) decommitted from USC. An embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech showed how Kiffin was outcoached and his players were outplayed. 

And as of today, Lane Kiffin is officially on the 2013 coaches' hot-seat list.