|Matt Kartozian/USA Today Sports|
There are a few things to take away from this. First is that Kiffin got what he deserved. He landed the best job in America, inherited a top 10 caliber team and drove it straight into the ground. He was surly with the media, he lied to people's faces, he attempted to have multiple USC beat writers barred from university grounds after they criticized him, he tried to cheat to beat Oregon last year, and he utterly failed to recruit and develop a quarterback who could replace Matt Barkley. The second is that you never want to replace a legend. Kiffin was behind the eight ball from the beginning by trying to replace Pete Carroll. Kiffin was hardly USC's first choice back in 2010 and a lot of people avoided the USC job because they didn't want to come in after Carroll. It's easy to be the guy who replaced the failure who followed the legend so USC should be able to land it's top target this time around.
Thirdly, you can't take a word Pat Haden says seriously. I have never seen an AD give such an impassioned and iron clad defense of a coach and then fire him so quickly. Other coaches know about that video and will be turned off by how badly Haden threw Kiffin under the bus after Haden professed Kiffin to be his best friend. Haden's little side show will prevent a few top candidates from considering the job. Finally, the USC players will have a weight lifted of them. It was painfully obvious in last year's Sun Bowl that the Trojans had quit on Kiffin and their body language and the way they have reacted to him on the sideline this year was almost depressing to watch. Every day since last November the players have had to answer questions about Kiffin and wonder if this is the day he was fired. Now that Kiffin is out, they can just play and relax a little bit.
I was shocked Kiffin survived last season when he took a preseason number one team and ended up 7-6. Kiffin went into this season with a hotter seat than I can ever remember seeing and now he is out of work with a winning record on the year. When Kiffin called for a halfback pass out of a wildcat formation on 4th and 2 from his own 41 in the 3rd quarter, I thought it was arguably the worst play call I had ever seen. Now that I know Kiffin had already been fired when it happened, it may have been Kiffin crying out for mercy and a chance to get off that sideline and away from USC as quickly as possible.
Don't feel too bad for Kiffin, he is a jerk who is sleeping in the grave he dug but more importantly he will be paid a nice hefty buyout. Kiffin has also proven himself as a recruiter (at least outside the QB position) and will have no problem landing a cushy offensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator gig. I'll have a lot more on this later today and in the week to come but for now, USC fans can celebrate because the wicked witch is dead. The rest of the Pac-12 will sit in melancholy knowing that USC might have a chance to rise back to prominence.