USC Football Has Run Out of Excuses: Title or Bust in 2015


The last time USC made national waves, Pete Carroll and Mark Sanchez were celebrating a Rose Bowl victory over Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions back in 2009. The USC gleam couldn’t have been any brighter this side of a National Championship.

Needless to say, a lot has changed.

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Carroll left for the NFL and won a Super Bowl. Sanchez left for the NFL and became a meme. Penn State became ground zero for college football fanaticism gone wrong.

Oh, and USC faced five years of probation that saw them hire and fire Lane Kiffin, hire his best friend Steve Sarkisian, lose out on two bowl bids and 30 scholarships.

The only good news that has come from all this, is now everyone sees the NCAA as a fraudulent organization that puts the hammer down just because they feel like it.

Preparing for their first non sanctioned season since 2009, the Trojans now have zero excuses.

The bad news lies squarely on the aforementioned Sarkisian, who was immediately placed on the hot seat when he was hired, thanks in part to a portion of the fan base’s undying loyalty to Ed Orgeron.

It doesn’t help that the Trojans left a couple of wins on the table last year, and the blame would have to be placed squarely at Sark’s feet. USC could go a season without losses involving Hail Marys or goal line stances.

Preparing for their first non-sanctioned season since 2009, the Trojans now have zero excuses. Sark’s No. 1 recruiting class and the advent of a four-team playoff only adds pressure. Heavy lies the crown, as Kiffin found out.

The Trojans return 16 starters and expectations are as high as they’ve been in a while. 

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sarkisian already knows what the expectations are, and being a better people person (sorry Kiff), he’s said as such in public.

“We realize what people’s expectations are for the program and we’re not going to shy away from them, we’re going to embrace them,” says Sarkisian.

Athletic Director and all-around scholar Pat Haden knows the expectations. After all, Haden won a championship as a Trojan student athlete.

However, he too is feeling the heat and may already be looking into an exit strategy. Much is asked of an AD, whether or not the fan base wishes to recognize the other sports around campus is moot. TV is not as stressful for an aging man whose health has been in question. Neither is retirement.

“I am fully engaged in this job and love working with our great staff, coaches and student-athletes here. We have a lot of work to do in the future,” says Haden.

How much of that work will involve him remains to be seen.

The run begins . Here’s hoping Sark’s team has learned how to finish or he, Haden and the gleam of USC may officially be finished.

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