By Zac Ellis
Throughout the offseason, SI.com will spotlight several teams, players and coaches with something to prove heading into the 2013 season. To check out every edition of this series, click here.
Lane Kiffin has his share of doubters, but few of those critics had much to say around this time last year. Entering his third season as USC’s head coach, Kiffin had a team that was primed for BCS title contention. The Trojans boasted a potentially Heisman-worthy quarterback (Matt Barkley) and the nation’s top receiving duo (Robert Woods and Marqise Lee). Coming off a two-year bowl ban, USC seemed on the verge of finding its glory days once again.
Then the season happened, and nothing went according to plan. The Trojans limped to a 7-6 finish capped by a loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl, and Barkley watched his draft stock plummet from unanimous first-rounder to eventual third-day selection. Now, for arguably the first time since he shot up the coaching ranks, Kiffin heads into a season on the hot seat. It’s time for him to prove his worth.