Kiffin for coach of the year

What the USC coach has done in extremely trying circumstances is quite impressive

Updated: November 22, 2011, 3:36 PM ET
By Jeremy Hogue | We Are SC
Remember 2009? After years of Pac-10 dominance and the early departure of Mark Sanchez, USC fielded a team that was, at best, mediocre. When Pete Carroll left for Seattle soon thereafter, Trojans everywhere were in dismay. It was too soon to realize what USC really was, and clearly too early to know what might come next.

[+] EnlargeLane Kiffin
Steve Dykes/Getty ImagesLane Kiffin should get serious consideration for national coach of the year honors, as the Trojans' improvement since September has been remarkable.
What USC really was wasn't good. Beyond the 9-4 record and a trip to the Emerald Bowl, it wasn't the same type of team that had come before it. It was entitled. It was overhyped. It had players who came in on recruiting trips thinking too much about the NFL, too little about hard work, discipline and team. Not all were that way, not by any stretch, but enough to where the culture that Carroll built had eroded. And rather than stop it, reverse it, relight the fire, etc., Carroll moved on. And while he deserves all the credit in the world for bringing USC out of the Paul Hackett doldrums and into an era of unprecedented success, what seems clear now -- two years later -- is that maybe what was missing in those latter years is, thankfully, what has returned.