After Stanford’s big victory last week against the #2 ranked Oregon Ducks, conventional wisdom called for the Cardinal players to be worked up for their meeting with the USC Trojans with a Bowl Championship game in sight. Indeed, Las Vegas oddsmakers gave Stanford the edge in the match with USC this last weekend – by more than a field goal. But the Trojans pulled an upset and won their fifth game in a row under Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron, beating Stanford in the final minutes of the game with a 47-yard field goal, 20-17.
Orgeron had been the Trojan’s defensive coach and was hoisted to his position after former head coach Lane Kiffen’s messy dismissal on the tarmac of Los Angeles International Airport after an even messier performance by the Trojans, losing on September 28 to Arizona State, 62-41. But since then, under Orgeron, the Trojans are 5-1.
Athletic Director Pat Haden, himself a former USC starting Quarterback, is in the process of finding a new Head Coach for USC. Orgeron, who had a dismal 10-26 record as the top coach at Ole Miss over three seasons, was surely not seen as a top candidate for the job when Kiffen was ousted. But players have come to like Orgeron’s style, which fits the “USC culture” far better than Kiffen’s. Orgeron uses positive encouragement, team pride, cheeseburgers and milkshakes to help motivate his players, and at USC that gets results. Players, fans and alumni have come to love his style, and during the Stanford game the USC rooting section could be seen doing Orgeron-specific cheers during the game, and with much delight. Simply stated, following a terrible start this year, Ed Orgeron has given USC fans something to cheer about.
Some sports organizations don’t share that enthusiasm. NBC Sports published a piece on Sunday claiming that USC “is bad at hiring Head Coaches” and strongly suggests that Orgeron is not the right person for the job. But the colorful, froggy voiced Orgeron has shown a lot of character in helping USC to salvage a good season and get a big win against Stanford. Orgeron seemed to get a big endorsement after the Stanford game in a tweet from popular former head coach Pete Carroll. Another big win against nationally ranked rival UCLA would make it almost impossible for Haden to not hire Orgeron, whom we think is just starting a new historic run for the Trojans.