Lane Kiffin is a popular target these days. Deservedly so. The USC coach has been in everybody's cross-hairs since Saturday night, when SC lost to Stanford in triple OT, 56-48, easily the most exciting game of the season.
The problem is that, the second that game ended, Kiffin the Coach turned into Kiffin the Whiny Jerk, insisiting over and over and over that the refs cheated his team out of a chance to kick a winning field goal in the final seconds of regulation. He charges that the officials not only blundered a call on a out-of-bounds play but also lied to him.
Whining is one thing. But accusing officials of mismanagement and lying is something else. That, fumed Pac12 bigwigs, is going too far. So they fined Kiffin $10,000.
Kiffin got what he deserved. Instead of behaving like a responsible head coach, he was carrying on like a spoiled brat. Rather than grumbling about one play he should have been dwelling on all his team's positives--as a thoughtful, mature coach would do.
Here's part of the list of positives:
--In the Stanford game, SC traded punches in a tense, brutal battle with one of the sport's heavyweights and came within an unfortunate turnover of scoring a knockout. How many teams could have done that?
--Trojan QB Matt Barkley nearly outdueled mighty Andrew Luck, the Stanford QB who's the Heisman front-runner.
--With a relatively young team, the Trojans went back to that lions den in South Bend and strolled away with a victory over Notre Dame.
--Since shaky wins over cream puffs like Minnesota and Syracuse early in the season, the Trojans have blossomed into a formidable team, on both sides of the ball.
Now that Kiffin the Whiny Jerk has been muted maybe, for a change, Kiffin the Capable Coach can finally take his turn in the limelight and focus on giving the Trojans the plaudits they deserve.
This won't be a popular stance among all the Trojan haters but, to be fair, let's give credit where credit is due.