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Southern California's slide into mediocrity costs Lane Kiffin, leaves work for successor

Less than two years after Southern California finished a 10-2 season with a 50-point win over UCLA, coach Lane Kiffin is unemployed.

Thirteen months after the Trojans were the nation's top-ranked team, they've lost seven of their last 11 games. They haven't looked good in many of their victories, either.

USC is wondering how an elite football program descended to mediocrity so quickly, and whether the right coach can put the Trojans back among the elite.

Although NCAA sanctions have eroded USC for a few years now, athletic director Pat Haden feels Kiffin's coaching also was to blame.

As he searches for Kiffin's successor in the coming weeks, the former Trojans quarterback must find a candidate who can handle USC's enormous expectations while maximizing the once-glamorous school's many strengths.