It was a little more than seven years ago when USC and Texas were on top of the college football universe.
During the 2006 BCS title—a 41-38 Longhorns victory—the two teams showcased their supremacy in what was arguably the best championship game of the BCS era. Fast forward to 2013; two embarrassing Week 2 collapses have both programs out of the Top 25 and likely in search of new head coaches.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Now, both USC and Texas look set to enter a transition period—something their respective fanbases haven't been accustomed to in a long time.
It all begs the question: Which program is better for a new head coach to take over?
The Case for Texas
The Longhorns aren't too far off from a run of success.
Following their BCS title triumph, the team recorded four straight seasons of 10 wins or more from 2006-09. Texas accumulated a record of 45-8 that resulted in yet another national championship appearance during the 2009 campaign.
Sure, that may have been the last of the Longhorns’ success—the team is just 22-16 over the past three years. However, it can't be said that the program suffers from lousy recruiting.
In the past nine seasons, Texas has registered a top-five class six times.
It just goes to show, no matter what the previous year’s record was, players from all over the country come to play in Austin. And if they don't, it helps to know that Rivals recently ranked Texas as the top state in producing the most BCS signees over a 10-year span.
Out of the two programs, the Longhorns have the best chance of turning things around this season and limiting the amount of damage caused.
The Case for USC
This is a program with a history for success.
The Trojans didn't let the BCS Championship defeat put them down. From 2006-08, the team put together three straight 11-win seasons. USC was a combined 34-5 during that span.
The team also proved to be a dominating presence in the conference.
From 2002-08, the Trojans were champions, or co-champions, of the then-Pac-10 Conference title every year. They were a combined 50-7 during that span (including wins that have since been removed due to NCAA sanctions).
Then there's recruiting.
In the last eight seasons, USC have had a top-10 class seven times. That's a hard feat to accomplish.
According to Bleacher Report’s college football recruiting analyst Edwin Weathersby, Southern California is the best recruiting hotbed in the nation. Furthermore, in the aforementioned rankings by Rivals, California was ranked No. 3.
The 2013 campaign is likely a lost cause for the Trojans. However, with talent coming in every year, it's not a mess that would be too difficult to clean up.
Summing It All Up
There's no doubt that both programs are in a state of disarray. However, for one of them, it might just take new leadership to right the ship.
That program is Texas.
No matter what USC does, it will be hard to look past the sanctions the school faced in 2010.
After finding the program guilty of improper benefits to former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, the NCAA threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Trojans. The punishments included a two-year bowl ban, four years’ probation, the loss of scholarships and forfeits of an entire year's worth of games. The team was also stripped of its 2004 BCS title and heralded head coach Pete Carroll fled to the NFL.
Although Lane Kiffin has still managed to bring in plenty of quality recruits over the last couple of years, it would be naive to believe that these sanctions haven't at least played a minor role when a top high school talent is discussing potential colleges with his parents.
Sure, the bowl ban is over and the loss of scholarships end in 2013. However, these kind of things are akin to a black cloud hanging over the program.
No matter which way you spin it, the USC job comes with too much baggage. It might prove to be too much of a hurdle for a new coach.