USC Football: The Downfall of a Dynasty

Ben GoldsteinContributor IIIJuly 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Head coach Lane Kiffin looks on during the  USC Trojans spring game on  May 1, 2010 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Just a year ago it seemed as if USC was going to be a lock to win the Pac-10 with new quarterback Matt Barkley and coach Pete Carroll leading the team in another season.

But things didn't go as planned.

Barkley struggled and so did the USC football team, winning only five games in the Pac-10 conference and ending the season 9-4 in the Emerald City Bowl.

With losses to Oregon, Washington, Stanford, and Arizona, USC football didn't seem like such a threat in the Pac-10 anymore.

Then the legendary head coach Pete Carroll left to coach in the NFL. His replacement was former Tennessee Volunteers head coach Lane Kiffin, who spurned the Volunteers after one season to coach at USC.

After the head coaching blunder, the NCAA sanctioned USC after finding former running back Reggie Bush had received benefits. The sanction was a two-year ban from the postseason and a loss of 30 scholarships over the next three seasons. 

But worse was they vacated all wins from when Bush played, which included a 2005 Orange Bowl win also known as the national championship.

Now backed into a corner with no postseason, a loss of scholarships, and a new coach, the team is now losing in the recruiting battles.

On ESPN the Trojans are ranked 10th in the recruiting ranks. They are losing to such teams as Texas, Alabama, and Florida, who are all championship contenders.

But it doesn't stop there.

Highly touted offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson was released from his letter of intent and is now looking at the University of Miami.

This is just a glimpse into the future of recruiting at USC; not signing the stars that will help them win championships, which USC is supposed to do, and having recruits leave because of the sanctions.

Unfortunately for the Trojans and Kiffin, things won't get better for another two years because of the ban.

And now that the Trojans aren't a sure thing, it looks like there might be a new Pac-10 winner to USC's dismay.

So here's to the end of a dynasty at least for a couple of years, at least until Kiffin bolts for the NFL and the ban is over.