Profiling USC under Lane Kiffin

Profiling USC with CFBMatrix Recruiting Rankings

We all know that in the CFBMatrix, teams win and lose about 80% of the time right on the recruiting rank & schedule adjustment predictions.  The other 20% are, for the most part fairly random.  In the PAC12 we know that Oregon, UW and Stanford are tough at home,  that UCLA can lose anytime/anywhere under Neuheisel and Cal is bad on the road.  However, since 2010, head coach Kiffin at USC has been the model of consistent winning and losing outside the predicted results.
 
The first part of the CFBMatrix as it pertains to the Trojans is their recruiting.   they have a 4 year national recruiting rank composite of #1 (’10) or #2 (’11) during Kiffin’s tenure.  They are surrounded by teams like Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma,  and Auburn in these rankings.  In the PAC12, this should be a 10-12 win team with good to above average coaching.  The gap in talent between the Trojans and the rest of the conference is very significant.  As the NCAA sanctions start to kick in over the next few years, recruiting will drop and thus the level of competitiveness from USC.  Given Coach Kiffin’s current win/loss profile, that is of serious concern.
 
In 2010, Kiffin’s wins and loses were very evident that he was coaching them down to a lower level of competition that their talent indicated.  As you know in the CFBMatrix model, I have a national 4 year recruiting rank for every team and it this then adjusted up or down depending on if they are at home or on the road.  When you look at USC’s 2010 13 game campaign (see chart below), they were 7-0 against teams with an adjusted 4 year recruiting rank (RR) over #36.  Conversely, they were 1-5 against teams with a RR better than #36.  The only exception was a win over the worst coached team in the country.  In a CFBMatrix nutshell, he is coaching is team down 36 RR positions.  The national average at home is set a zero and on the road it ranges from 0 to +12 for the majority of AQ teams. 
 
2011 is , although it is early, following the same pattern.  2011 is a much more difficult schedule (#3 CFBMatrix SOS in the country) and thus the pattern looks worse.  Of the 4 games they have played, all 4 fell into the same Kiffin 2010 coaching pattern.  Beat the patsies, loose to the less talented but better teams on the schedule.  If the pattern holds for 2011 the Trojans will finish 6-6 for 2011 when 10 wins were very possible.  As recruiting levels drop with sanctions and the depth thins, the win totals will continue to decline under the current coaching staff.  The coaching needs to improve. Desperately. Now.
 
2010 Scheduled Games Adjusted 4 yr RR Result 2011 Scheduled Games Adjusted 4 yr RR Result
at UCLA 5 W 28–14 @Notre Dame 1
Notre Dame 20 L 16–20 @Oregon 6
@ Stanford 24 L 35–37 @California 17
 Oregon 26 L 32–53 UCLA 25
@ Oregon State 34 L 7–36 @Arizona State 26 L
Washington 36 L 31–32 Washington 34
California 38 W 48–14 Stanford 36
@  Arizona 39 W 24–21 @Colorado 58
@ Washington State 41 W 50–16 Minnesota 62 W
Arizona State 41 W 34–33 Arizona 63 W
@ Minnesota 43 W 32–21 Utah 68 W
@ Hawai’i 63 W 49–36 Syracuse 79 W
Virginia 68 W 17–14

This is the pre-season Matrix chart for the USC Trojans. The model projected a 10-2 team based on talent and schedule. The red blocks with the black asterix are games that they should win, but will incur a loss based on the ‘Kiffin W/L profile’ to date. After 4 games in 2011, it is still a perfect fit.

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