The 2012 season was expected to be a successful one for the University of Southern California football program. The Trojans started off ranked as the #1 team in the country, and were one of the favorites to reach the national title game and end the SEC's championship stranglehold.
Needless to say, that won't be happening.
|Photo by: Getty Images|
Many different factors can be blamed for USC's blunders through 9 games, but none more so than their complete lack of discipline.
The Trojans are currently (and shamefully) ranked 120th in penalties per game. That's dead last in the FBS. They are also 118th in penalty yards per game.
This is a complete embarrassment for Southern Cal.
Anytime penalties are a problem with a team, I blame the head coach. They should have their players disciplined and focused enough to not commit bonehead mistakes.
While it's hard to believe that USC is the absolute worst team in penalties in all of Divison-I football, I am not that surprised that Lane Kiffin isn't getting the job done.
He's not top-tier head coach material.
Kiffin has never been great. He is an excellent recruiter and has a decent offensive mind, but that's about it. He's not cut out to be a head coach, especially of a big-time program. Kiffin was a disaster with the Oakland Raiders, and not that impressive as the Tennessee Volunteers coach.
Why the Trojans decided on him to replace Pete Carroll is beyond me.
Lane's father, Monte, also deserves his fair share of the blame. As USC's defensive coordinator, he's not getting the job done either.
The Trojans are ranked 65th in total defense.
They are also 61st in rush defense, and are coming off a horrific performance against Oregon, where they allowed running back Kenjon Barner to rush for a school-record 324 yards and 5 touchdowns.
That is utterly pathetic, no matter how good your opponent may be.
While Southern Cal's offense can hold its own with just about anyone, the D is their downfall, and the reason they lost to both Oregon and Arizona.
Obviously the 2012 season has not gone as planned for USC -- but it is far from over.
They are still in position to enjoy some success before it's all said and done. With remaining conference games against Arizona State and crosstown rival UCLA, the Trojans control their own destiny to win the Pac-12 South Division and contend for the Pac-12 Championship.
If they manage to do so, they have a chance to play in the much coveted Rose Bowl.
On top of this, USC still has to face long-time rival Notre Dame, who is still undefeated and looking for a chance at the BCS title game. I'm sure the Trojans would love to play spoiler and knock the Irish out of contention with a win in the season finale.
Whether the pride of football in Los Angeles decides to change things around and "Fight On" or not, these final 3 regular season games should certainly be interesting.