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USC, the preseason No. 1 team, falls to 7-6 after Sun Bowl loss

Sun Bowl Football AP

There are few teams that have fallen farther from grace this season than West Virginia. USC managed to do it, though.

The preseason No. 1 team has been the biggest disappointment in college football this year. The depth issues facing the Trojans were becoming impossible to ignore in the preseason, but it was hard to predict USC losing five out of its final six games, including today’s Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech.

Max Wittek, replacing the injured Matt Barkley, went just 14-of-37 for 107 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions as the Trojans fell to the Yellow Jackets 21-7. Aided by blustery conditions, Wittek overthrew receivers all day and had a hard time connecting with Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. But the redshirt freshman also generally had one mode for throwing the ball all afternoon: as hard as he could.

Wittek is young and will learn from the experience, but his performance was an impression of how Lane Kiffin once again was unable to make successful second half adjustments — if there were adjustments at all. For the third time this season, the Trojans failed to score in the second half of a game.

Kiffin calls the offensive plays, yet USC had just 205 total yards and had just seven first downs the whole game without the help of penalties. For perspective, that’s 182 yards less than what Georgia Tech, which fired defensive coordinator Al Groh midseason, allowed on average per game all year, and only 1-AA Presbyterian scored fewer points against the Yellow Jackets in 2012.

And it’s Monte Kiffin, USC’s defensive coordinator, who is retiring.

Of course, you can blame the game conditions or the inexperience of Wittek, but USC showed from the first down of play that it had no interest being in the Sun Bowl. Not that it was some gigantic secret.

So now USC becomes the first preseason No. 1 team since 1950 to lose six games in a season. It’s final loss came against a team that needed a bowl waiver just to get to the postseason.

It was going to be interesting to see how Wittek played since it appears he’s the future for USC at the quarterback spot, but the Sun Bowl turned into a disaster where little, if any, positives could be taken away for the Trojans.

Kiffin’s going to need a banner season in 2013 now more than ever. If he doesn’t, it will likely be his last in Los Angeles.

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48 Responses to “USC, the preseason No. 1 team, falls to 7-6 after Sun Bowl loss”
  1. texasbornlsufan says: Dec 31, 2012 6:31 PM

    I sure hope we don’t have to hear how good USC is again next year! That game was pitiful ! Kentucky beats USC today!

  2. be4bama says: Dec 31, 2012 6:36 PM

    That’s the truth texasbornlsu fan. Wishing the LSU TIGERS the best tonight. ROLL LSU ROLL

  3. iamjimmyjack says: Dec 31, 2012 6:43 PM

    If pat Haden doesn’t fire Kiffin, than Haden should be fired. If the teams on field performance isn’t enough to dismiss lane, than the off the field stuff should be. This was an embarrassing season. He dragged this great program through the mud nearly every week. Get lose lane.

  4. thraiderskin says: Dec 31, 2012 6:49 PM

    Wow… that is funny.

  5. tg1896 says: Dec 31, 2012 6:52 PM

    Is there any coach in America that could do less with more?

    Well, yeah…..Andy Reid. But, OTHER THAN ANDY REID…

    Kiffin is a joke.

  6. jimbo75025 says: Dec 31, 2012 6:54 PM

    Ha ha ha ha. I was unaware the NC game was being played today? Is that not where USC was supposed to be playing?

    A late Christmas present from GT today for everyone who is not a USC fan. Kiffen looked like he was trying to hide today by wearing all those coats.

  7. irishdodger says: Dec 31, 2012 7:03 PM

    Not that it was a decisive factor, but the beach schools (SC, Miami, etc) always seem to let the “cold” weather affect them in El Paso. By looking at their sideline, you’d think there was a blizzard going on. I remember when Miami was there a few years ago & looked like they were dressed for an Artic expedition. Again, that’s not the reason they lost…kudos to GT for showing up & playing to win.

    No excuse for that SC offense to not put up more offense than they did when you look at all the mediocre teams that rolled up 500-600 yds of offense on them. I don’t care if their starting QB was out, there’s no excuse for that performance. Worst is that heir D is loaded with 4-5 stars yet couldn’t stop an Academy-like offense despite having a month to prepare. No wonder their recruits are wavering.

  8. harvupdyke says: Dec 31, 2012 7:03 PM

    I s*#! bigger than Lane Kiffin.

    Roll dam tide.

  9. sanduskyshowerboy says: Dec 31, 2012 7:07 PM

    Usc got sanduskyed

  10. tuscaloosaguy says: Dec 31, 2012 7:16 PM

    The Fightin’ Lame Kittens strike again. Late for the Sun Bowl dinner..looks like they never showed up for the game. Kitten, ughh, excuse me Kiffen is a joke.

  11. cometkazie says: Dec 31, 2012 7:17 PM

    Didn’t Sports Illustrated have a pre-season cover story on U$C about how great they were gonna be?

    Musta been the SI Kiss of Death. Been around forever. Being at such a great school, the players could read and believed what they read.

  12. silverdeer says: Dec 31, 2012 7:45 PM

    If I was one of USC’s recruits this year, I would have to seriously rethink my situation before I signed that letter of intent. Not a SC fan, but if I was, I would be completely embarrassed. It is the coaches job to make sure a team is ready to play and I don’t care if it is the toilet bowl and it was totally obvious that they most of them didn’t want to be there and the others weren’t ready.

  13. mogogo1 says: Dec 31, 2012 7:57 PM

    The biggest disappointment THIS year? What about ANY year? (Or has a preseason #1 ever finished worse than 7-6?)

    And it’s not just the losing, it’s the total classlessness that Kiffin brings along with him. If any coach was going to have his team skip the traditional bowl game dinner, you knew it’d be Kiffin. He’s a bigger loser as a person than he is as a coach.

  14. givemeglenn says: Dec 31, 2012 8:04 PM

    While almost everyone is talking about how poorly Southern Cal played, and how poor of a coach Lane Kiffin is, they seem to forget there were two teams on the same field playing against each other who had the exact same amount of time to prepare for the game against each other. And all of this BS about the Trojans not having Barkley available for the game…GA Tech was playing without their leading tackler (Isaiah Johnson, starting Safety), then they lost their star, starting outside linebacker Jeremiah Attachui for most of the game, as well as their most explosive offensive player, Orwin Smith, for most of the game. GA Tech outplayed Southern Cal in every aspect of the game; offensively, defensively, and special teams, not to mention coaching. Give them some credit; they earned it.

  15. bamasleeper13 says: Dec 31, 2012 8:14 PM

    Kiffen is a total loser. Good for GT!! I think it is HALARIOUS that they were pre-season #1 and ended up as they should have!

  16. houndofthebaskervols says: Dec 31, 2012 8:40 PM

    All I got to say is KARMA BITCH.

    And that Paul Johnson is a highly underrated coach.

  17. ndirishfan1 says: Dec 31, 2012 8:58 PM

    Lane Kiffin’s tenure should end tonight. The only team they played with more talent was Oregon. But they always seem so ill prepared and Kiffin always has that confused/bewildered look on his face.

    That being said, showing up late for a traditional bowl event and then saying “we were only 30 minutes late” is far more inexcusable than the on field performance.

    I’m an Irish fan so I’ve enjoyed this very much, but I can’t fathom how the Lane Kiffin regime lasts another year. Heck, his legendary father was made the scapegoat! Only Lane Kiffin…

  18. floridacock says: Dec 31, 2012 9:01 PM

    Obviously the REAL USC resides in Columbia, SC. Pathetic!

  19. cometkazie says: Dec 31, 2012 9:11 PM

    There ya go, getting U$C and USC mixed up.

  20. kozbee says: Dec 31, 2012 9:12 PM

    Daddy Monte retires he should take that jackazz son of his with him.Lane is the poster child for losers.

  21. bucrightoff says: Dec 31, 2012 9:14 PM

    Haha what a scumbag.

  22. duklover says: Dec 31, 2012 9:21 PM

    My,my, where did all those Trojan bloggers go!

  23. vincentbojackson says: Dec 31, 2012 9:32 PM

    Everything Kiffin touches turns to crap. Yet he keeps getting handed high profile head coaching jobs.

    Was a disaster with the Raiders, bolted Tennessee after running into NCAA violations, and now guided a talent loaded preseason #1 team to a 7-6 record.

  24. rsmeans says: Dec 31, 2012 9:36 PM

    Hoping that USC keeps both Haden and Kiffin. Both do great jobs in the toughest conference in college football as many PAC12 and ND fans will tell you. However Haden had better give Kiffin a big salary boost again since rumor has it that Kiffin may replace Saban at Alabama or go to the NFL. The real question is could ND beat GT? All of the Irish opponents seem autsome.

  25. lsuzilla says: Dec 31, 2012 9:57 PM

    Only thing that would be better would be if USC sucked again in 2013 and the Sun Bowl passed on them due to their pompas attitude and snubs this year.

  26. wolftalkblog says: Dec 31, 2012 10:41 PM

    Thoroughly enjoyed watching GT and the triple option destroy USC. It looked as if Lane and Monty had no idea how to stop it. Only had a month to prepare. I bet all the Vol fans enjoyed it as well. Very happy for Paul Johnson and Jackets.

  27. barbeaux says: Dec 31, 2012 10:56 PM

    It’s karma for hiring lane kiffin

  28. mcgillicutty49er says: Dec 31, 2012 10:58 PM

    Kitten is a 7-6 kind of coach. He can get all the 5-star recruits he wants but he can’t coach worth a damn!!! Lucky for him no one would take the SC job so he’ll have it. Haden doesn’t have the guts to fire him anyway

  29. 1971siebs says: Dec 31, 2012 11:00 PM

    I can hear people from Tennessee laughing at this one. For the fans of USC, I am sorry that you are stuck with an embarrassment of a coach. So sad what has become of the USC program after Pete Carroll bolted for Seattle fleeing the problems he caused, and how Lane has continued to lead the program nowhere.

  30. tbone71 says: Dec 31, 2012 11:22 PM

    God I hope Lane survives at USC for many years to come. He is great for college football and USC deserves him. LOL. Go Irish.

  31. mcgillicutty49er says: Dec 31, 2012 11:23 PM

    Tajh Boyd, the same guy kitten said wasn’t good enough to play at Tennessee, just led Clemson on an 80 yard drive to beat a very good LSU team!!! Great judge of talent there kiff!!!

  32. dcroz says: Jan 1, 2013 12:35 AM

    Funny, seems like all the SEC fans on here (not just the UT ones) warned the SC folks on here about what they were getting in Lane Kiffin, but the Trojan folks would hear none of it. He’s either sold his soul to the devil or he’s managed to get compromising pictures of all the NFL owners and/or college ADs for them to hire him when he has done not a damn thing to prove himself as a quality coach. And the funny thing is, when he inevitably is either fired or bolts before getting fired at the end of next season, he will convince someone else to ignore his past and give him another HC job either in the NFL or at a high-profile college. Folks just never learn….

  33. waynefontes says: Jan 1, 2013 8:23 AM

    dcroz says:
    Jan 1, 2013 12:35 AM
    Funny, seems like all the SEC fans on here (not just the UT ones) warned the SC folks on here about what they were getting in Lane Kiffin, but the Trojan folks would hear none of it. He’s either sold his soul to the devil or he’s managed to get compromising pictures of all the NFL owners and/or college ADs for them to hire him when he has done not a damn thing to prove himself as a quality coach. And the funny thing is, when he inevitably is either fired or bolts before getting fired at the end of next season, he will convince someone else to ignore his past and give him another HC job either in the NFL or at a high-profile college. Folks just never learn….

    I’m surprised papabush hasn’t logged on to support his dream coach. Then again, if I was a Trojan I wouldn’t log on here either.

    Fight On!

  34. theageofquarrel says: Jan 1, 2013 8:51 AM


  35. omniusprime says: Jan 1, 2013 8:59 AM

    What a pitiful game yesterday by the Trojans, looked like they were never taken out of their package. Lane Kiffin did an extremely poor job of preparing the team for their first bowl game in 3 years. Sad that Matt Barkley ended his college career from the sidelines.

    The one good thing is that Monte Kiffin is retiring and taking his worthless Tampon 2 defense with him. I guess he could now become a spokesman for Tampex since he knows so much about his Tampon 2 defense.

    Go USC!!!

  36. givemeglenn says: Jan 1, 2013 11:31 AM

    How about giving GA Tech a LITTLE credit for the win? Their defense played better against Southern Cal than Notre Dame’s did in their last game of the regular season, and the Trojans had a whole month to prepare for the Jacket’s defense.

    This doesn’t bode well for the Fighting Irish against Alabama, does it?

  37. eidolon21 says: Jan 1, 2013 11:50 AM

    kiffin can’t win if he can’t cheat

  38. gdeli says: Jan 1, 2013 12:47 PM

    That jerk kffin gives my h.s. in mn a bad name. he is getting his just desserts for what he has done from TN to the raiders. I hope he gets canned next season.

  39. notredamegirl says: Jan 1, 2013 12:47 PM


    Are you serious and just because GT beat USC, Bama is going to beat ND because of that?! LOL!! !!! GT D is better then ND D? WHAT? Better then the #1 D in the country? If so, how come GT is not in the NC bowl game, has losses and is playing a 7-5 team?!! You haven’t watched a single ND game!! Notre Dame can spank both of those teams!! ND is 12-0 and going to the NC bowl game!! Your comment is such BS, but then again you are an ND hater!!

    BTW…Texas A&M handed Alabama a loss on their own field! I guess that one loss makes Alabama powerful!!!

  40. mbankston says: Jan 1, 2013 1:33 PM

    Karma is a bitch. You can’t go through life as Kiffin does and not expect some payback. Multple jersey numbers, football deflations, etc, etc. In addition to being a moron, he’s just not a very good coach.

  41. be4bama says: Jan 1, 2013 1:41 PM

    ND girl keep dreaming. Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and probably LSU could beat ND. Y’all barely beat UsCalifornia and Pitt….to name only 2 . The BCS NC game will prove ND should not be in the championship game. You’ve beaten nobody. Geez!!
    ROLL TIDE #15.

  42. be4bama says: Jan 1, 2013 1:43 PM

    BTW it’s not hard to have the #1 defense when you play a bunch of nobodies.

  43. notredamegirl says: Jan 1, 2013 5:49 PM


    Keep talking trash!!! Also, a win is a win hater!! Alabama has a loss, so you should keep your mouth shut about ND’s wins!! Every team has it’s troubles on the field and Alabama is a very good example!!!

    BTW….9 of those nobodies are going to a bowl! Also, Alabama has a bunch of nobodies on their weak schedule, for example, Florida Atlantic! So it is laughable calling these teams nobodies. Especially since you haters have been say all year will lose some games, now all of the haters are upset!!

  44. notredamegirl says: Jan 1, 2013 6:00 PM

    ND belongs in the NC since they are 12-0 and Alabama is not, so you need to thank Ohio State
    for being out this year!! ND started out unranked, beating ranked teams and fighting the way to number one!!

  45. notredamegirl says: Jan 1, 2013 6:05 PM

    USC has a lot of outstanding players on their team, but the coach is not utilizating them.

  46. be4bama says: Jan 2, 2013 9:23 AM

    LOL ND girl….lets let our teams do the talking!!! I’ll get back with you after the game. ROLL TIDE ROLL #15

  47. ukeone says: Jan 3, 2013 9:03 PM

    be4bama is a mouthy PARROT…repeats everything as if SHE were trained or something.

    Yeah…let’s wait till ‘after the game’….when ‘Bama has been beaten soundly; then, we’ll all see if you come back and play
    Polly want a cracker…” some more.

    And, right on, notredamegirl….the ‘bama logic just doesn’t cut it….like a warm knife over a ROCK!

    Besides, Saban is going back to the pros (where he belongs)…leaving the LOSERS toward better pastures.

    IRISH! IRISH! IRISH! IRISH! IRISH! (wow…repeating myself is hard work….need to ask be4bama for some help here!).

  48. be4bama says: Jan 4, 2013 9:23 AM

    Ukeon you are pitiful. Why do you enjoy calling people names and other nasty talk? As we say in the South…bless your heart.
    You must have a very sad life. God Bless

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