3-point stance: Kiffin's defense struggling

September, 28, 2011
9/28/11
5:00
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1. When USC hired Lane Kiffin, the Trojans supposedly received the quintessential twofer. Not only did Kiffin return to run the offense but he brought with him his father, Monte, a coaching legend, to run the defense. It’s a sweet story -- just hold off on the violins. Arizona State became the seventh opponent in 17 games to score at least 30 points on Monte Kiffin’s defense. Blame turnovers (minus-four vs. the Sun Devils) or inexperience if you wish. But Monte Kiffin defenses have been far from legendary.

2. Ole Miss can’t catch a break. The Rebels (1-3) travel 2,000 miles west Saturday to play at Fresno State. In the SEC, Ole Miss is a team that has scored a total of 34 points in its three losses. But no one at Bulldog Stadium will care. All they will see is the first-ever visit by an SEC team. Fresno State has done the best job of any WAC team east of Hawaii of making deals to get AQ-conference schools in their stadium (fifth in six years). That includes you, Boise State.

3. Year after year, Clemson has gotten to the brink of championship contention and backed away. After victories over Auburn and Florida State, No. 13 Clemson has a chance to start 5-0 for the first time since 2000 but must win at No. 11 Virginia Tech to do so. “Our schedule has helped us,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “We haven’t had a chance to think about the last game because we’ve had to focus on the next game.” So what happens next week at home vs. a struggling Boston College?

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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