MIAMI (CBSMiami) – How quickly can a program fall in the college football world? Consider the cases of the University of Texas and the University of Southern California as the latest case studies on what can happen to schools in the blink of an eye.
It was just seven years ago the Longhorns and the Trojans played in one of the greatest national championship games ever. The Longhorns defeated the Trojans on that night thanks to a late 4th quarter Vince Young touchdown run.
While both programs enjoyed a couple more seasons of success, most notably a 13-1 record for the Longhorns in 2009, things have gone south in a hurry in both Austin and Los Angeles.
Since hiring Lane Kiffin as the team’s head coach, the USC Trojans have gone 26-14. That’s not a bad record, but in the past two seasons, Kiffin is 8-7 and his team lost to lowly Washington State on Saturday and only put up one touchdown in the game.
Making matters worse for Kiffin is how he’s been losing. Since USC ascended to be ranked number 10 in the country last season, the Trojans won just one game the rest of the season against Arizona State. In the other losses, USC gave up 39 points to Arizona, 62 to Oregon, 38 to UCLA, and lost a bowl game 21-7 to Georgia Tech.
The Trojans started out this season with a win in Hawaii against the Warriors, but then followed that game up by laying an egg at home against the Cougars, 10-7. The schedule doesn’t do the Trojans many favors this year either.
While USC escapes the thrashing it would have taken at the hands of Oregon, USC still plays on the road against a good Notre Dame team plus has to face Stanford and UCLA over a span of three weeks with an upstart Colorado team sandwiched in between the games.
So, Kiffin may be coaching for his job as the season continues and each loss will only make the seat he’s on get that much hotter.
In Austin, Texas, things have gone from bad to worse in just a matter of weeks. Head coach Mack Brown had his first losing season at Texas in 2010 and hasn’t made it to double-digit wins since then. At Texas, it’s expected the school will hit double-digit wins and compete for national championships.
Brown’s team started off 2013 with a victory and then went to play Brigham Young University and laid a massive egg.
Texas’ defense, which was already the source of consternation amongst Longhorns fans, gave up an astonishing 550 rushing yards to BYU. The Cougars’ quarterback, Taysom Hill, lit up Texas for 259 yards on just 17 carries, or 15.2 yards per rush.
Not surprisingly, a sacrifice was expected from the coaching staff and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz became the sacrificial coach, losing his job less than 24 hours after the Longhorns’ disaster.
But then in a move that stunned most observers, Brown decided to hire Greg Robinson to replace Diaz as UT’s defensive coordinator. The move stunned because in Robinson’s last two jobs in college football, his performance was abysmal.
Robinson was the head coach at Syracuse from 2005-2008 and compiled a 10-37 record before being fired. He then went to coordinate the defense at the University of Michigan. During his two years at Michigan, 2009-2010, his teams finished 82nd and 110th in total defense.
In other words, Texas fans may be in for quite a bumpy ride considering the Longhorns have to face two of the highest scoring teams in the nation this year, Baylor and Oklahoma State.
Texas and USC topped the USA Today misery index for college football, followed closely by the University of Florida, which lost to the Miami Hurricanes over the weekend.
While Texas and USC have fallen on hard times, both teams are one good head coach away from being back at the top of the college football world. If they need an example, look at the University of Alabama who went from doormat to the penthouse in just a few years under head coach Nick Saban.
Still, until both schools show significant improvement week to week, both fan bases will continue to lose patience and the seats both Brown and Kiffin sit on will continue to get hotter and hotter.