The day after USC lost a game against Notre Dame that they refused to win, there are rumblings from disgruntled Trojan fans that the men in stripes were the reason that the men of Troy lost this contest.
While it is indeed true that penalties played a large role in the Trojans loss, those who lay this defeat at the shoes of the ref's are missing so much more.
Instead, USC and their fans should rightfully point to the same issues that got Lane Kiffin fired as the reason for losing a game that they should have easily won.
The Trojans had ample opportunities to win this ugly affair, but a steady dose of missed field goals, dropped touchdown passes, poor offensive line play and a generally inept offense led by a quarterback who took a step backwards were too much to overcome for USC in the end.
As for the penalties, for the most part, they were earned. And instead of a disappointed fanbase playing the pity card, they should instead ask themselves a simple question:
Are the Trojans woes really Lane Kiffin's fault?
Many of those who follow USC thought the replacement of Kiffin by the likeable Ed Orgeron would manifest an about face from the issues that saw the Trojans under perform in 2013.
Instead, missed assignments resulted in a myriad of miscues, and those, in turn, saw offensive linemen, among others, trying to make up for those transgressions by grabbing their opponent, often in the direct line of vision of the zebras.
And then, those who follow the Cardinal and Gold have the temerity to blame the referees for USC losing a game that the Irish did their level best to give them?
Give me a break.
If these same fans who are blaming the referees are honest, they would point to the dropped touchdown pass by Marqise Lee in the second quarter.
If that doesn't work, how about the two missed field goals by Andre Heidari, who has been nothing short of pitiful in 2013.
Don't like that? Perhaps, a finger could be pointed at quarterback Cody Kessler, whose statistics weren't horrible, but once again couldn't deliver a Trojan win when it was imminently available.
But more than anything, an offensive line that was clearly over matched simply committed silly penalties, and when they didn't, they often lost their individual matchups which made life miserable for the entire offense.
But to blame the ref's for this loss is short-sighted and focuses on the wrong question, which is whether or not Ed Orgeron—or any other coach for that matter—can cure the Trojans' ills this year.
That answer may or may not be revealed, but one thing is for sure...this loss was not the referees fault.
And that's for sure.