Just hours after Arizona State trounced USC 62-41 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe on Saturday night, Trojan Athletic Director Pat Haden took the inevitable step of firing head football Lane Kiffin.
Haden picked Ed Orgeron as USC’s interim head coach later Sunday. The Trojans (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) have eight games left on their 13-game schedule.
Kiffin formerly served as offensive coordinator for USC from 2005–2006, head coach of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders from 2007 to 2008 and head coach of the University of Tennessee Volunteers in 2009. He was the youngest head coach in NFL history when he joined the Raiders, and for a time was the youngest head coach of a BCS Conference team in college football.
In Los Angeles, however, Kiffin was never a true “USC guy.” The Trojan culture, embodied by the towering mascot Traveler and the ubiquitous strains of “Fight On,” never attached itself to Kiffin. He was literally doomed from the outset at the helm of the USC program.
Among the coaches rumored as possible replacements for Kiffin are:
- Chris Petersen, Boise State
- Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
- Jack Del Rio, Denver Broncos
- Steve Sarkisian, Washington
- James Franklin, Vanderbilt
While it’s difficult to imagine any of these coaches giving up secure and successful positions to take on the rudderless ship that is USC football, It’s not hard to envision the storied Trojans landing a capable head man.
In the short term, the naming of Orgeron as interim head coach may revitalize USC for its pending contest with the University of Arizona. A Wildcats loss is always reason for cheer among the ASU faithful.
Over the long haul, it’s a sure bet that USC will continue to field a powerful team comprised of players from the talent-rich Southern California high school ranks.
Regardless of the current turmoil in Troy, ASU will always have to contend with USC in the Pac-12 South.