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Mistakes cost USC as UCLA wins Pac-12 South

USC v UCLA Getty Images

For the second year in a row, UCLA, not USC, will represent the Pac-12 South division in the conference championship. But unlike 2011, the Bruins didn’t back their way in (thanks, NCAA!) with a .500 record and a coach on his way out.

No, No. 17 UCLA beat No. 21 USC fair and square in the Rose Bowl 38-28 — the first win by the Bruins the rivalry since 2006. UCLA has now won at least a share of the Pac-12 South and will represent the division in the conference championship game in two weeks. UCLA also got revenge for a certain 50-0 thumping it received last year from USC.

USC actually outgained UCLA in total yards (513 to 406), but Matt Barkley threw two interceptions — the Trojans had three for the day — and special teams was a problem with a missed extra point and two missed field goals (one was blocked). If USC had those seven points on the board, it’s worth noting that the Trojans were in UCLA territory and within field goal range at the end of the game.

Barkley also went down with an apparent shoulder injury late in the fourth quarter and did not return. The senior quarterback gave a gritty performance, but it wasn’t enough to give the Trojans the win.

Speaking of Barkley, I’m in no position to say if his decision to come back or not was a mistake because his opinion is the only one that matters on that subject, but it would be flat wrong to think this season hasn’t been a disappointment for USC . Assuming our math is correct, USC would be the first preseason No. 1 team to lose four games that year since Auburn in 1984 and could be the first preseason No. 1 team to finish unranked since Ole Miss in 1964.

The theme for USC — and Barkley specifically — this year has been taking care of “unfinished business”, yet there will be no Pac-12 championship or Rose Bowl for the Trojans in the first year removed from a postseason ban. And if USC continues to slide next week against Notre Dame, you have to seriously wonder what Lane Kiffin‘s job status is going to be. Sure, one would think the scholarship restrictions at USC (also courtesy of the NCAA) would actually give Kiffin a little wiggle room in terms of the W’s and L’s, but Kiffin’s had one too many distractions this year with jersey swapping and game ball deflating. That’s not even mentioning stupid stuff like lying about where you voted your team in the coaches’ poll or walking out of a press conference like a child.

None of those things have been a huge deal by themselves, but collectively they become annoying. When you don’t win (enough), people’s (boosters?) patience begins to run thin on reckless abandon because, who knows, it might be manifesting itself into things like excessive penalties. Those can result in losses too.

Of course, much of this might be forgiven if USC comes out next week and eliminates any chance of Notre Dame reaching the BCS championship game. If the Trojans can’t beat the Irish — even worse, if they get blown out — it could force USC athletic director Pat Haden to further ponder the direction of the program. Or, it means defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has to go and Merry Christmas, dad! 

Either way, this could all make way for a new titan in Los Angeles. Like, say, UCLA.

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18 Responses to “Mistakes cost USC as UCLA wins Pac-12 South”
  1. canetic says: Nov 17, 2012 7:28 PM

    Karma.

  2. BrownsTown says: Nov 17, 2012 7:39 PM

    Remember back in August when USC fans were coming out of the woodwork and talking a big game?

    I’m sure the stadium will be at 70% capacity again in no time.

  3. zurnvs says: Nov 17, 2012 7:50 PM

    Yes,I’m a hater. Matt Barkley cost himself a lot of money. And when he is a bust like every other USC QB, he will kick himself.

  4. cometkazie says: Nov 17, 2012 7:54 PM

    I wonder what our favorite U$C fan is going to say about this.

    At least the kids are getting a superior education. ;)

  5. tg1896 says: Nov 17, 2012 8:32 PM

    The silence from the Left Coast is deafening. USC and Lame Kiffin deserve each other.

  6. thefiesty1 says: Nov 17, 2012 8:34 PM

    Kind of jumped the gun with a pre-season #1 ranking don’t you think? They may qualify for the Poinsetta Bowl.

  7. jgater1981 says: Nov 17, 2012 8:55 PM

    Come on guys. You know the stadium will be full next week. Sure, it will be because ND fans will buy the tickets, but still…

  8. manchestermiracle says: Nov 17, 2012 9:33 PM

    Kiffin does less with more talent than any coach I’ve seen in awhile, though Mack Brown is right there, too. He’s like a politician: Able to gain the office (recruit), but has no clue when it comes to executing the responsibilities (winning). This team has been unprepared in nearly every game.

    The Condoms started slowly again, with Barkley throwing an interception on his first pass attempt. Pathetic. Barkley’s accuracy has disappeared. He’ll be lucky to be a 1st-round pick next year.

    The defense has been MIA all season. Special teams are anything but special. Hedari couldn’t make a PAT, why would you give him a 40+ FG attempt? Typical of uninspired playcalling and an utter lack of imagination.

    All in all, one of the biggest disappointments in college football history. AD Pat Haden needs to seriously consider going in another direction, because Kiffin and Co. have not only not made any improvement on last year, they’ve gone backwards fast. After ND blows them out next week I expect Haden to clean house. I’d rather put up with another mediocre year or two breaking in a new staff than continue to allow Kiffin to prove he doesn’t have what it takes to coach at this level.

    Oh, and UCLA “a new titan in L.A.?” Hardly. They’ll likely face Oregon in the PAC12 title game and it won’t be pretty. The Bruins aren’t exactly disciplined, what with leading the FBS in penalties per game (and USC 2nd. The only way either of these has-beens leads the FBS in anything). Beating the Rubbers was more USC’s failures than UCLA’s successes. Just because you held off an over-hyped, under-achieving poser of a team doesn’t make you any kind of “titan,” either in L.A. or anywhere else. But, hey, you’ve got the “bragging rights” to a town that no longer has any decent football team, NFL be damned.

  9. cosanostra71 says: Nov 17, 2012 9:48 PM

    was a tough loss, but it’s hard to call UCLA the “new titan in LA”. We have still won 12 of the last 14 matchups, and USC is still where the top recruits in SoCal aspire to go. Obviously, they need to start winning more once they get there though.

  10. pdcooper08 says: Nov 17, 2012 10:35 PM

    manchestermiracle: I hate to say it, but you make a lot of good points. It’s not been a good month around here with the trojans lacking in all areas. I can see the team taking a dive next week as I question some of their hearts. If they lose, I’d have to bet P. Haden goes for a change.

    I’m a Trojan fan through thick and thin and will eat the crow served. There still my team regardless, and I won’t jump off the wagon. Fight On!

  11. usmc23112dacorps says: Nov 17, 2012 10:36 PM

    I wouldn’t go aa far and say that UCLA will be a Titan football team. I will say they will be a recognized and respected football program. If you think I’m wrong you obviously haven’t seen their redshirt freshman play. He will be a top pick in two years.

  12. bfile73 says: Nov 17, 2012 11:06 PM

    This whole article is about USC. Is there an article about the winning team?

  13. giantrobot666 says: Nov 18, 2012 12:50 AM

    Rabble rabble rabble! USC has won 12 of the last 14, or 13 of the last 23, or 1 of the last 2, records are all about perspective… Right now UCLA has the Victory Bell. Better luck next year.

  14. rohinaz says: Nov 18, 2012 1:28 AM

    Its unreal how many writers make excuses for USC. They havent been very good for a while. Over the past 3 years they have played a whopping 8 teams ranked in the top 25, they have won 2 of those games.

    2 wins vs ranked opponents over 3 YEARS! LSU accomplished that over the past 4 weeks. The cali media needs a new to love.

  15. cometkazie says: Nov 18, 2012 8:51 AM

    rohinaz says:
    Nov 18, 2012 1:28 AM
    Its unreal how many writers make excuses for USC. They havent been very good for a while. Over the past 3 years they have played a whopping 8 teams ranked in the top 25, they have won 2 of those games.

    2 wins vs ranked opponents over 3 YEARS! LSU accomplished that over the past 4 weeks. The cali media needs a new to love.
    +-+-+

    Don’t confuse them with facts!

  16. realfootballfan says: Nov 18, 2012 9:35 AM

    Any college team serious about winning shouldn’t have Lane Kiffin anywhere near it. Not only is he a bad coach, but he’s knee deep in the scandal that got USC on probation in the first place.

    Apparently, the only reason he took the Peter Principle to an accelerated rate, his father being on staff, has been a horrible disaster as he’s too old to keep up with the college game and still has no clue on how to stop a spread offense yet four years into getting his boy jobs that he was wholly unqualified for.

    That leaves the question, what exactly does he bring to the table that a real coach wouldn’t bring and don’t give me recruiting because if you hire anyone besides idiots like Paul Hackett or John Robinson after he’s failed miserably in the pros, something tells me you’ll be allright in recruiting, USC being the prominent school in the L.A. market and all.

    I guess Al Davis was right about this clown and his desire to bring in his father after all, huh, guys? Somebody might want to get on that story since he was destroyed in the press for that one, and he’s no longer here to defend that great decision.

  17. gorilladunk says: Nov 18, 2012 10:02 AM

    I think I saw “papabush” on the side of a milk carton. Come out, come out wherever you are !

  18. norcalirish says: Nov 18, 2012 10:42 AM

    I’m not gonna say anything………..yet.

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