Texas or USC: Which turnaround has been more impressive in 2013?

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The Trojans have improved under interim coach Ed Orgeron.

Texas or USC: Which turnaround has been more impressive in 2013?

USC and Texas were two of the biggest disappointments after the first month of the college football season.

USC started 3-2, with wins over Hawaii, Boston College and Utah State. The Trojans had a disappointing 10-7 home loss to Washington State and were dominated in a 62-41 defeat at Arizona State.

After the loss to Arizona State, Lane Kiffin was fired and Ed Orgeron was promoted to head coach.

Under Orgeron’s watch, USC is 4-1 and is back in the Pac-12 South title picture.

Texas started 1-2, losing by at least 19 points to both BYU and Ole Miss.

Coach Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and promoted Greg Robinson to call the defensive signals. The Longhorns enter Week 12 on a six-game winning streak, but the toughest portion of their schedule is still to come.

Texas or USC: Which turnaround has been more impressive in 2013?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
This one is a tossup, but I give a slight edge to USC. When Ed Orgeron took over for Lane Kiffin in late September, the Trojans were 0-2 in conference play, injuries and scholarship issues were starting to show in the lineup, and most figured it would be a struggle for USC just to get bowl eligible. Since Orgeron’s promotion, USC almost looks like what we expect from this program on a yearly basis. The Trojans have won four out of their last five, with the only defeat coming in South Bend against Notre Dame – a game USC could have easily won. With Stanford and UCLA remaining on the schedule, the Trojans aren’t out of the Pac-12 South title picture and could work their way into one of the conference’s top bowl games. Both sides of the ball have been impressive under Orgeron, as the offense has scored at least 30 points in three out of the last five games, and the defense held three opponents under 14 points or less. Texas’ turnaround has been impressive, but even after a 1-2 start, this team had yet to play a Big 12 game and still had a favorable schedule upcoming. Credit to both Orgeron and Texas coach Mack Brown for pushing the right buttons since the slow starts, but USC’s turnaround has been more impressive.  

Mark Ross
Credit to Ed Orgeron for rescuing the sinking ship that was USC, and with a limited crew no less, but as the saying goes, "everything is bigger in Texas" and it's no different when it comes to turnarounds. Back in September, the cries were loud and clear that it was time for Mack Brown to head out to pasture, as his Longhorns were coming off of back-to-back drubbings to BYU and Ole Miss. Since then, Brown's herd has reeled off six straight victories, none bigger than the 36-20 win over Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry that pretty much no one saw coming. Now while the games haven't always been pretty, such as a one-point win over lowly Iowa State and an overtime road victory against West Virginia on Saturday, Texas has taken care of business and as a result controls its own destiny in the Big 12. The Longhorns have three big games remaining, starting with Saturday's home date with Oklahoma State and culminating with the regular-season finale at Baylor, but the path is clear — win out and Texas claims the conference title and automatic BCS bowl bid. From the hot seat to the driver's seat in two months is pretty impressive, especially in the football-crazed hotbed that is the Lone Star State.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I have to give the credit to Texas on this one. The expectations on USC were pretty low entering the season, especially on offense. The assumption for Texas, however, was that the Longhorns had the talent to make a run at the Big 12 title even after they underachieved last season. That looked ridiculous after the BYU and Ole Miss gashed the Texas defense early this season. The Longhorns also lost linebacker Jordan Hicks again to injury, a player who was described as they key cog to their run defense. Of course, both programs brought in a failed head coach to take the reins, Ed Orgeron at USC and Greg Robinson as defensive coordinator at Texas. Both are major surprises, but Texas really could have given up on the season, but now we’re looking at the Longhorns as a potential Big 12 champion. Crazy as it sounds, but Mack Brown might deserve league coach of the year for that.

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), CollegeFootballTalk.com and Crystal Ball Run
While it has been remarkable for the ways both USC and Texas have seemed to save their seasons, I think what the Trojans have done is slightly more impressive. Both teams got off to a rough start and made changes on the staff, but USC went so far as to fire their head coach while Texas changed defensive coordinators. I had no idea if USC would be able to turn things around under Ed Orgeron, but he has certainly found a way to give everyone associated with the Trojans a new outlook on what they are doing, and it shows. USC has regained its swagger, they are playing to their strengths as they get healthier on offense, and the defense has regained their footing as well. USC still has a good way to go and they may not be a Pac 12 contender at this point, but they are one of the teams nobody will want to be paired up with any week from this point out.

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