When Lane Kiffin was named head coach of USC shortly after Pete Carroll's departure, many shook their heads wondering how this guy ever landed arguably the best college football coaching gig in the country.
His stint as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders was a disaster, and his brief tenure as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers was hardly a success. Some argue that if it weren't for his father Monty Kiffin and his stellar defensive coaching ability, the Vols would have had a far worse season in 2009.
Now that the NCAA has slapped the Trojans right in the mouth with penalties and sanctions, Lane Kiffin has a serious up-hill battle ahead of him. For the next three seasons after 2010, the Trojans will have 10 fewer scholarships per year to rebuild their team after early departures and graduation.
That being said, has the NCAA given Lane Kiffin a gift disguised as an excuse? Surely, as the Trojans go without bowl games and less scholarships, the university, alumni, and fans will give Kiffin and his staff time to be successful. It may take five years or more for USC to recover from the penalties they have received.
How much latitude being given to Coach Kiffin is unknown at this time, but four or five loss seasons are not out of the realm of possibility for the Trojans.
It may be the latter part of this decade before we know if Lane Kiffin is a good football coach or not. If we go by his records with the Raiders or Volunteers, then the answer is quite clear. Since the jury is still out, USC fans better be patient before handing in their verdict.
I just hope USC fans are patient for their sake.