Los Angeles – What perhaps will be the final chapter for the embarrassing career of Lane Kiffin at USC begins Thursday in Hawaii. The embattled head coach will try to right the Trojan ship after a collapse of epic proportions in 2012. USC began the season ranked #1 and had the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman in QB Matt Barkley. The season, mired in six loses, deflated footballs and illegal jersey number changes, ended with a thud in El Paso, where Georgia Tech pounded the Trojans 21-7 in the Sun Bowl.
Instead of coming out with a razor-like focus in 2013, Kiffin seems to be coaching as if he is aware of the fact that he is, barring perhaps a BCS bowl appearance, a dead man walking this season. For example, he has so far declined to name a starting QB for tonight’s game, at least to the media.
However, when questioned yesterday, Kiffin said he actually has decided, but is simply not telling anyone.
The two front-runners are sophomore Max Wittek and redshirt freshman Cody Kessler. From the sounds of it — despite the benefit of playing last season when Barkeley was injured — Wittek, the NFL prototype, has had every opportunity to win the job but cannot separate himself from the smaller, yet more consistent, Kessler.
Both are likely to play against Hawaii, but who gets the start? We all find out tonight, even if Kiffin won’t say.