Podcast: Can USC football bounce back in 2013?

Lane Kiffin will be under a microscope in 2013 as USC looks to bounce back. Photo: Getty Images

Lane Kiffin will be under a microscope in 2013 as USC looks to bounce back. Photo: Getty Images

Lane Kiffin may be on one of the hottest seats in college football in 2013. After taking a preseason championship contender to a seven-win season ending with a loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl, how could it not be?

USC is not the dominant force we thought they were compared to the days when Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and a cast of many other stars were suiting up for the Trojans. As we learned USC is still playing a bit of catch-up to the rest of the elite programs after working through NCAA sanctions. With the end coming soon Kiffin still has a chance to redeem himself, and the Trojans.

But this wil be much more difficult than just flipping a switch and penciling in trips to Pasadena on a routine basis. Stanford and Oregon have taken control of the Pac 12 banner. UCLA has emerged as a viable threat and seems to have put together one of the top recruiting classes in the conference. Not that USC’s is nothing to write home about despite losing some key prospects to

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other programs.

USC only managed to bring in a baker’s dozen of recruits, thanks in part to reduced scholarships available from NCAA sanctions, but Kiffin believes the players he is bringing in may be the best group in the country. Hear that Alabama and Ole Miss? The Trojans added the top prospects from the states of Maryland (DT Kenny Bigelow) and Washington (QB Max Browne) and California (S Su’a Cravens), and better yet they are already enrolled so they can participate in spring practices. USC added some top-notch players to their defense in the Class of 2013 and every member of the class rates at least four stars on the 247 Sports Composite. This is the textbook example of recruiting for quality over quantity. As good as UCLA’s class may have been – and it is very impressive – let us not write off the Trojans just yet. There is going to be some fantastic football being played in Los Angeles for years to come it appears.

After an off-season that has seen multiple coaching staff changes, Kiffin needs to do some reshuffling in order to ensure his team is more prepared for the 2013 season. A return to glory can still be achieved by USC, but whether or not it is Kiffin who will be the captain of the ship remains to be seen.

In the first episode of the podcast of 2013 I am joined by Michael Castillo, editor of Reign of Troy on the Fansided Network. We take a look at what happened to USC in 2012, what the recent coaching changes may mean and the players in USC’s incoming recruiting class that could have an early impact and more.

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About the author

Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.