|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
|After starting off No. 1, USC's Lane Kiffin knows he dropped the ball on the 2012 season.|
“"No. 2, I would say the preseason buildup. The buildup of the preseason No. 1. The Heisman Trophy candidate. The All-Americans. Recruiting was going unbelievable -- the No. 1 recruiting class. With that hype comes a lot of expectations. When those aren't met that's going to fall on the head coach. "And then you're at SC, I would say would be the third one." Kiffin's mistakes don't seem to have an expiration date. People tend to love him or loathe him. If an LA Times readers poll is to be believed, he's trending high on the loathe-a-meter. When asked if USC should keep Kiffin, 76 percent of the respondents answered, "No." "When you're a sports figure and people dislike you, they're going to look for the negatives," Kiffin said. "Once you start rooting against somebody, you're always going to look for the negative in everything they do." Negatives aren't difficult to find in the Trojans' 2012 season. In August they were the Associated Press' preseason No. 1. In January, they were unranked and failed to receive even a single mercy vote in the final poll. North Dakota State did, but not mighty USC. Kiffin blames himself for this -- this being a 6-1 start, but a 1-5 finish. He blames himself for losses to rivals UCLA and Notre Dame, and a grotesque Hyundai Sun Bowl defeat to Georgia Tech, which entered the game with a 6-7 record. In the end, it was a season of the wrong kinds of firsts for USC. It was the first time since 1964 that an AP preseason No. 1 finished unranked. It was the first time since 2001 that a USC team finished with six losses.
I blame myself for this.” -- USC coach Lane Kiffin on the 2012 season
|Kiffin and quarterback Matt Barkley had sky-high expectations for the 2012 season.|
|USC lost the Hyundai Sun Bowl to Georgia Tech, which came in to the game with a losing record.|
|Kiffin, who still has the services of WR Marqise Lee, is eager to start the 2013 season against Hawaii.|