LOS ANGELES -- There are six Pac-12 teams in this week's edition of the AP top 25 poll. For some, that might showcase how far the conference has come. For Lane Kiffin, it showed how much more USC recruiting has to do.
“It's the result of us not nailing recruiting over the last five years," Kiffin said Sunday when asked for his thoughts on the news. "It's the players getting away, and it's been our goal to stop that."
It's an interesting viewpoint that vibes with Kiffin's past remarks on USC's status in the college football landscape.
He almost always refers to USC's road games as the other team's "Super Bowl," and he's indicated in the past that the Trojans' prestige over the last 10 years gives them a weighty advantage in recruiting.
But he took this a step further, saying he felt USC's NCAA-mandated scholarship sanctions have also played a role in the rest of the conference's resurgence. He said that will likely change in the future, when the limitations come off.
"When we get our numbers back to where we're allowed to sign more, that'll help too," Kiffin said Sunday.
Kiffin also mentioned the "very dynamic coaches that have joined in" of late and the "very competitive" nature of the conference as factors helping account for the six teams in the poll.
No conference has more teams in this week's poll. The SEC also has six teams among the top 25.
Of note: Of the six Pac-12 teams in the top 25, one -- UCLA -- has a new coach. And four of the coaches have been in place at their schools longer than Kiffin has at USC.
Among the notable recruits USC has lost out on in recent seasons include Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas and Arik Armstead and UCLA's Jordan Zumwalt and Dietrich Riley.
The Trojans have still finished first among Pac-12 schools in the ESPNU recruiting rankings in five of the last six years, and second in the other.