The inevitable happened on 9/28/13 way before sunrise, Saturday evening specifically. It was a head scratcher that USC hired Lane Kiffin. USC Athletic Director Pat Haden fired former Head Coach Lane Kiffin after the USC Trojans were soundly beaten by the Arizona State University Sun Devils 62-41. There is speculation that the decision to make the move started in the third quarter of the ASU game while the Sun Devils put 28 points on the board.
The reality is that Pat Haden came to this resolve a while ago and has left several people asking why it took so long. There was not one specific ill-advised timeout or specific play that brought about this outcome, there were many. It was a known fact before the season started that Lane Kiffin was sitting on the hottest seat in the country. Lane Kiffin literally went from coaching phenom to flop in record time.
Kiffin is simply not well liked. The USC program was not trending upward, it was merely treading water. The firing of Kiffin had a lot to do with recruiting; the Trojans have lost out on way too many recruits. Not all, but some recruits were backing off coming to USC because of Lane. When the smoke clears it will be plain to see that the NCAA sanctions, recruiting restrictions and scholarship reductions have decimated the program.
In addition to that several other schools have taken advantage of the situation. Kiffin had lost the trust of the Alumnae, administration and fan base. The Trojans had gone 4-7 in their last 11 games and allowed 60+ points twice. USC is 3-2 overall and a disappointing 0-2 in conference. Despite the unnecessary, heavy-handed sanctions placed on the program by the NCAA at USC that type of performance, or lack thereof, is unacceptable.
Making the move now gives the program a two month head start on finding a new coach. Pat Haden can make this situation right by hiring the right guy. USC has moved on, Ed Orgeron will step in as the Interim Head Coach and the search is on for a new Head Coach.
The question now, Do you stay in the family or do you go outside of the USC family to find the new leader of the program? Does USC go after a NFL coach or another college coach? USC went through five candidates before hiring Pete Carroll. The Head Coaching position at USC is still a big job, one of the best Head Coaching jobs in football.
The Trojans have deep pockets and some of the best facilities in the country. Pat Haden said that he would keep the Head Coaching search private. Here is a list of candidates and the odds of that person landing the job:
Jack Del Rio – 3/1
Chris Petersen – 5/1
James Franklin – 5/1
Greg Roman – 6/1
Clancy Pendergast – 7/1
Jon Gruden – 8/1
Steve Sarkisian – 8/1
Kevin Sumlin – 12/1
Herm Edwards – 15/1
Ed Orgeron – 20/1
Jack Del Rio is the favorite in the clubhouse, but with the Denver Broncos on an apparent Super Bowl run he probably will not leave Denver until after the Super Bowl. It is unknown who the next Head Coach will be, but if the Trojans could pull it off either Kevin Sumlin or Chris Petersen would be a huge win for the program moving forward.The name that has not been mentioned, Norm Chow, deserves a phone call.
Jeff Little is the host of "The Locker Room" a daily sports talk radio show based out of Los Angeles 6-8 pm PST www.sportsjourney.com Follow on twitter @JeffLittle32, Facebook, Pinterest