We never really thought it possible, but USC is beginning to lose its swagger. Trojans fans have head coach Lane Kiffin to thank.
It's hard enough to recruit to a program when you're dealing with lingering NCAA sanctions that limit scholarship numbers, but add in a shocking 7-6 finish to a season in which the Trojans started as the No. 1 team in America, and all of a sudden, the fanbase stages a nutty and potential recruits begin to weigh other options.
So what's wrong in Trojan country these days? Look no further than Kiffin. His odd behavior, ranging from claiming the Pac-12 and its officials lied to him, costing the Trojans a victory, to lying to the media about his poll ballot and walking away from reporters like a spoiled child, can't help matters.
Just in case you didn't think that was enough to turn off even the most dedicated and committed recruit, there's that just plain mind-boggling play-calling.
The Notre Dame loss was bad enough, but anyone who watched Kiffin's dumbfounding decisions during the Sun Bowl has to be wondering if Kiffin really knows what he's doing with the headset.
Thanks to that disaster, Kiffin should find his rear end firmly planted on the hot seat next season.
Finally, we can't talk about how big of a loser Lane Kiffin was in this bowl season without mentioning the complete and utter lack of respect, humility and adult conduct showcased by some of his players during the run-up to the 2012 Sun Bowl. When an El Paso Times article begins with the headline “Another USC player apologizes,” you know things are bad.
USC couldn't help but trip all over itself during its bowl trip. Rather than the refined powerhouse from Southern California, the Trojans looked like the Beverly Hillbillies heading into El Paso.
At least Jed Clampett never missed dinner time.