Not Ready For Prime Time?

Lane Kiffin said it was possible USC would be a more dangerous team against Oregon because the Trojans are going to be motivated coming off a loss.

I tend to agree but probably for a different reason: I’m not sure Kiffin could handle being ranked No. 1 in the preseason or enjoyed the burden of high expectations. His often-tight persona does not lend itself to a loose, high-flying drive to a BCS title.

He’s more of a stiff, CEO type that would rather grumble about distractions than make sure his team doesn’t care about them.

So that is why USC played better last season: No pressure.

Sunday Night With Kiffin

Probably nothing said to calm discouraged fans. Lane Kiffin said he would now spike the ball on USC’s second-to-last play with 20 seconds left, but only to give WR Marqise Lee a breather.

So that means he still would throw deep down sideline on play? Matt Barkley’s throw was way off.

Kiffin said he showed the Trojans film of every major penalty of the first 8 games to emphasize the “selfishness” of penalties.

Clock Management

Where would you rank this as a problem in 2012? The Trojans were atrocious on the final drive against Arizona and also struggled with it against Stanford.

There also seems to be a complete disdain for field goals. The potential 30-yarder ignored against Stanford. The refusal to kick a field goal yesterday on several occasions.

And two deep passes to end the Arizona game when a couple short passes could set up a field goal.

The Top 25

Here is my ballot for the Associated Press poll:

1.  Alabama
2.  Oregon
3.  Kansas State
4.  Notre Dame
5.  Ohio State
6.  Georgia
7.  Florida
8.  LSU
9.  Florida State
10.  Oregon State
11.  Clemson
12.  Louisville
13.  Oklahoma
14.  South Carolina
15.  Mississippi State
16.  USC
17.  Stanford
18.  Texas Tech
19.  Boise State
20.  Rutgers
21.  Texas A&M
22.  Louisiana Tech
23.  West Virginia
24.  UCLA
25.  Nebraska

Tucson Thought

Is it time for USC to hire an offensive coordinator so Lane Kiffin can “coach” the entire team instead of burying his head in the play chart?

Truthfully, the better solution would be for Kiffin to become the offensive coordinator and let someone else inspire and lead the team. That way Kiffin can do what he likes best.

Morning Buzz

Here’s my recap from a wild game in Tucson that ended USC’s BCS title hopes. “It stinks,” freshman defensive end Leonard Williams said.

The game also raised more questions about Coach Lane Kiffin’s ability to deal with pressure and expectations this season.

Link here

Another Reason For A Field Goal

Lane Kiffin’s refusal to spike the ball and try to gain 18 yards to set up a field goal made no sense for another reason: Arizona QB Matt Scott was hurt so if there was an overtime, the Wildcats might have been stuck with their backup.

The odds favored USC in that scenario.

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Unfinished Business

There definitely is some unfinished business as USC left Arizona Stadium with a season in tatters.

Like why an offense featuring so many marquee players can be so inconsistent? Or why its coach is so averse to playing to win on the road? Or how a team with so much talent leads the nation in penalties?

The Defense Rests

Especially on that big 60-yard completion in the second half that gave Arizona momentum.

And what about the Wildcats’ last possession, running nearly 4 minutes off clock with a backup QB and everyone in stadium knowing they would run the ball?

And Another Thing

Marqise Lee said he was not tired during the second half but it looked like USC went away from him. Can you blame it on a Cover 2 defense?

Lee was still open whenever USC threw to him. But this also exposed the inconsistency of Matt Barkley. If he hits a wide open (and we mean wide open) Robert Woods down the sideline for a touchdown, the game is over.