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The Trojan Demise
The University of Southern California Trojans football team was synonymous with victory. The football players themselves were akin to gods. Everyone expected this season to be an easy ride for the Trojans. So what happened?
The Trojans just came out of a two year bowl ban, but they swept their first games with Hawaii and Syracuse. It was smooth sailing.
Then, the unthinkable happened. The number two Trojans lost to number 21 Stanford for the fourth time in a row. However, this time, Stanford didn’t have star quarterback Andrew Luck.
Trojan confidence was shaken. One question resounded in everyone’s minds: How could the legendary USC football team lose to Stanford again?
Their performance was hard to watch. The Trojans were riding a roller coaster of wins and losses. For every win, there was a crucial loss.
USC’s behavior was baffling. Quarterback Matt Barkley broke school records. Wide receiver Marqise Lee set a Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) record for receiving yards during the Trojans’ humiliating loss to Arizona.
Why was USC’s football team playing so badly when the individual players are clearly fantastic? The issues surrounding the team are unclear and the head coach hates reporters.
“I don’t know,” said Lane Kiffin, the head coach, refusing to answer a reporter who asked about a player’s injury. A few seconds later, he stormed away from the press conference.
Kiffin’s injury policy is strict. USC revoked the credential of Scott Wolfe, an L.A. Daily News reporter, for writing a story on kicker Andre Heidari’s knee surgery. Wolfe’s credential was restored upon appeal.
“Every team [wants] to win, man,” Lee said in an interview with ESPN. “Every game is important.”
Unfortunately, football can’t be won on skill or effort alone. It’s called a team sport for a reason.
However, Mandy Smith*, who has been following USC football since the age of seven, didn’t think the players were the issue.
“I think they work well together. Really well,” Smith said.
If it’s not the players, it has to be coaches. Coaching seemed like one of the major problems with USC football.
Monte Kiffin, assistant head coach and father of Lane Kiffin, resigned from USC. His bend-but-don’t-break philosophy didn’t mesh with modern college football.
“I respect my father’s decision and desire to return to NFL,” Lane Kiffin said in an interview with the Associated Press.
That was probably good news for the Trojans, whose defensive line was in absolute shambles.
USC’s ego is huge in a sport where arrogance is not permitted. The Trojans have won 24 Rose Bowl games, the most of any college team. Until recently, they were tied with Notre Dame and Ohio State University for the most Heisman trophies. Nevertheless, the Trojans’ arrogance has cost quarterback Matt Barkley’s Heisman and USC their chance at a notable bowl game.
“I don’t think they were paying attention to the earlier games, like with Stanford,” Sarah Martin* said. Martin, a huge Stanford fan, is delighted with USC’s fall from grace. “They were looking toward the bowl games instead.”
USC must get their head back in the game. This season was a rude wake up call.
Arrogance is the Trojans’ fatal flaw. This lost USC the chance for a Heisman and a notable bowl game. The Trojans’ pride will suffer in the upcoming Sun Bowl. Once the coaching is fixed and the Trojans become humble, USC will enjoy a successful football season.
*Name changed to protect identity