In a sport in which turnover is constant and there are very few sure things on the recruiting trail, college football has seen its share of rapid rises and falls -- programs or coaches going from the penthouse to the outhouse, or vice versa, in a short period of time.
Saturday night marked another low point in the precipitous fall of the USC football program. Trojans fans will likely debate whether the 10-7 loss to Washington State -- which featured 54 passing yards by two USC quarterbacks -- ranks above or below last season’s 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, when USC totaled 205 yards of offense.
What is no longer up for debate is where this program sits in comparison to 14 months ago.
As July 2012 came to a close, USC held the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class -- one of the more impressive collections of talent in recent memory, featuring 18 terrific high school athletes -- and was a few weeks away from being ranked No. 1 in the country in the preseason Associated Press poll. The disappointing 2012 football season took its toll on that recruiting class, as eight of the 18 verbal commitments wound up signing letters of intent with other programs.
While an offseason filled with coaching questions led to a slow start to the 2014 recruiting class, Saturday’s loss might have put the brakes on it completely. That is, if Saturday’s performance remains the status quo.
USC picked a bad night to have one of its worst offensive games in school history. Several 2014 and 2015 recruits in attendance for USC’s first home game of the season were witnesses to prolonged boos and a chant urging athletic director Pat Haden to fire head coach Lane Kiffin.