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Insider

Kiffin's big test

LOS ANGELES -- After being banned from bowl play in 2010 and 2011, the 2012 USC Trojans were giddy at the thought of returning to the fun and excitement of postseason play.

But USC's dreams of landing in the Discover BCS National Championship Game on January 7 in swinging Miami have been replaced by the reality of the Hyundai Sun Bowl in the not-so-swinging West Texas town of El Paso on New Year's Eve.

The big question now becomes whether Trojans coach Lane Kiffin can get his team, which lost four of its final five games, focused enough to play in a game that wasn't considered part of the postseason travel itinerary back in August.