Trojans face road night test in Utah

LOS ANGELES -- Lane Kiffin's least favorite kickoff time is the one his Trojans are facing this Thursday against Utah, but the USC coach doesn't expect it'll have any adverse effects on his team.

The Utes host No. 13 USC at 7 p.m. local time -- 6 p.m. PT -- on Thursday in Salt Lake City.

"We really don't like night games, especially when we're on the road," Kiffin said Tuesday in response to a question about his preferred time to begin games.

That probably has something to do with his record -- Kiffin's teams are 9-1 in day games (defined as pre-5 p.m. kickoffs) and just 12-7 in night games with USC.

But that doesn't mean he's expecting the Trojans to come out flat, or anything of the sort.

"I mean, I'm not worried about preparation," he said of Thursday's game. "I'm just answering the question as far as what I prefer from the standpoint of for the kids. I'm not worried about when the game kicks off as far as how well we’ll play."

What time does Kiffin like most? 12:30 p.m., he said.

That allows the players to go home and rest up before returning to campus the next day, an important part of the college gameday weekend, according to Kiffin.

He admitted it's "old-fashioned" but said it's better for everybody involved.

"You know you get up, you play and then have the rest of the day," Kiffin said. "It's not like the NFL, they come in on Sundays. They lift, they meet, and then they have tutors and study hall and academic stuff Sunday night."

USC players report for practice in the 6 a.m. hour most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, so that probably plays a role, too.