Hit By Bus? Coach USC? Just One Number To Call

USC football coach Lane Kiffin has quietly employed an extra point strategy this season that is, in college football’s modern era, unprecedented.

Lane Kiffin's number: 222-2222

Despite have a healthy, competent placekicker, Kiffin has attempted two-point conversions on half of the USC’s 14 touchdowns so far this season. The pattern of those attempts has been indiscriminate, as Kiffin leaves the decision up to backup quarterback Mitch Mustain. Mustain’s job is to read the defense before the conversion play and if he thinks the opposing formation is conducive for a two-point try, the Trojans attempt it.

So far the result has been a miserable success rate, with the Trojans converting on just two of those seven tries.

The quality of competition probably isn’t coincidental to Kiffin’s PAT approach. It’s a lot easier to make up for botched extra points against Hawaii, Virginia and Minnesota than future USC opponents Oregon and Stanford.

This week USC starts conference play against putrid Washington State and despite the alarmingly futile rate of two-point conversions, Kiffin said Wednesday that he has every intention of continuing his prolific albeit unconventional post-TD approach.

I’m all for blowing up standard coaching practice if it makes sense, but there’s a reason why no coach in recent memory has employed such a strategy when afforded a competent kicker: Of the limited statistical studies on the subject, there’s no evidence to suggest that going for two consistently gives a team a better chance to win.

Eight months ago Judy Battista of the NEW YORK TIMES had a piece on the subject, at least as it applied to NFL teams. Citing numbers from the stats geeks at FootballOutsiders.com, Battista noted: Read more…