Not only that, but Kiffin and his Trojans squad are coming off a blowout loss at the hands of Arizona State. Despite the huge loss to a team many believe will challenge for the Pac-12 South title, Kiffin understands that there is still a long road ahead.
"We're 3 and 1." Kiffin said. "The season is not over,"
The Trojans' head coach is in charge of a squad that is relatively young in comparison to previous years. So young in fact that nearly one-quarter of USC's starting lineup that took the field Saturday were freshmen. Kiffin knows that there will be plenty challenges Saturday.
"Last time they came in here they won so I'm sure they're going to be confident, they're getting healthy, they're getting some guys that have been banged up that played a little bit last week and expect some guys back this week so they're going to be ready to go," Kiffin said. "They probably played the hardest schedule in the country, playing three top-10 teams, the way that they did and three great offenses.
"Everybody talks about whether they're ranked on defense, those [teams they played] are some of the best offenses in the country they've played so they're going to be ready to play. Just like us on offense they have the same thing on defense, they've played a lot of first year guys, lost a lot of guys. They're going through some issues there, I'm sure they're thinking."
The Trojans may be a young squad, but teams have been able to find success in the past despite youth being present. Kiffin understands that and doesn't believe his team can use its inexperience as a scapegoat. However, those youthful players are going to have to step up against an offense Kiffin feels is powerful.
"Yeah it's really amazing as you line up in this conference how many great players there are, NFL quarterbacks, big, physical, strong arm guys," he said. "And I think more than anything for [Nick Foles] what's phenomenal is to be 10 touchdowns, no interceptions and you're behind big in three games. Usually, as you saw in our game, that's where the turnovers start to happen as you're trying to play catch up. So it says a lot for their coaching, a lot for him."
On the defensive side of the ball, Kiffin sees some similarities as Arizona has struggled to stop the run.
"Well I think it's a combination of two things," he said. "Number one, they have played three of the best offenses in the country, three great great offenses. And then number two, they are kind of going through what we did a year ago, early on. They have a lot of new guys playing.
"They lost a bunch of really good players last year, similar type of system. These systems take a while for guys to get used to them and be able to play in them. There is a lot of thinking that goes on in these systems. They are going through exactly some of the same stuff we went through early on last year."