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Winning vs Style Points

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Lane Kiffin says winning is the only objective...I think that depends on what your goals are.

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

Until the current system changes winning with style is more important than just winning.

We have beaten the dead horse repeatedly about how the flow of Kiffin's play calling has made a number of USC's performances disjointed.

Here is Kiffin's take on things...(emphasis mine)

Coach Lane Kiffin stressed after the game and again Sunday that USC’s objective is to win, not accumulate stats. Once the Trojans built a lead, he took the ball out of Barkley’s hands. USC ended up running 38 rushing plays and 22 passing plays.

Still, Kiffin understands why Barkley might have mixed emotions.

"As a quarterback, you like to throw for big numbers, obviously," Kiffin said. "He’s not going to be jumping up and down throwing 20 passes in the postgame press conference. He’s not going to show a lot of excitement about that, but I think he understands why we’re doing what we’re doing."

I disagree here on two points.

1) If you want your QB to win the Heisman he needs stats. The loss to Stanford hurt Barkley's chances...regardless of the reasons. USC has made a big deal out Barkley coming back...it was basically a defacto Heisman campaign. So, now that Barkley is behind in the Heisman straw polls he has little chance making a game of it if Kiffin continues to call vanilla game plans.

2)The loss to Stanford (now with two losses) doesn't help USC's beauty contest if they win out. Sure USC can get to the Rose Bowl but I can guarantee that the 2012 team had higher goals than that.

As fans we probably had unrealistic expectations, but I know of no player who isn't shooting for the stars.

Even if we think the coaches poll is a joke it still means something for now, making matters worse is the perception of Kiffin amongst his peers. Because he isn't well liked by many it's easy to see how that might also be a factor in USC not going up in the polls. They are 1-loss team that has played most of their games on the road. That's a stark comparison when compared to other 1-loss teams.

I know many will disagree, but it feels like Kiffin is just trying to get through next two years of sanctions. It sure feels like he is lowering expectations.

I get it...a win is a win.

But what is at the end of the road if the wins don't look like quality wins on paper?