USC’s Kiffin responds to USA TODAY report

LOS ANGELES — USC head coach Lane Kiffin says USA TODAY revealing his vote in the coaches’ poll is “Not a big deal.”

The paper took it upon themselves to reveal the information because they believed Kiffin was being “misleading” when he was asked who he voted No. 1 following Tuesday’s practice. Votes are normally kept confidential unless a coach volunteers the information.

“You guys asked me about Rich Rod and I said I wouldn’t put us No. 1,” Kiffin explained on Friday. “I was saying that was because of our issues with numbers (if I was speaking) as other people. Did I vote us No. 1? Yeah. Just like when they called me. I said I voted us No. 1 before they even told me.

“I don’t know how you go into (the locker room with) these guys and everything that we do and say ‘Well, hey, thanks for coming back for your senior year, and by the way, my opinion is I have all of these other teams in front of you.'”

Kiffin says he filled out his ballot with “A group of people helping” him. He says he hasn’t been told if he will be allowed to continue voting in the poll.

“They’ve not told me that, nor have they sent me a letter, nor have they called me to ask what did you say and why did you say it,” Kiffin said. “I’ve had no communication with (AFCA executive director) Grant (Teaff).”

Coaches are randomly selected to participate in the poll. Kiffin has been selected since he took over at USC but the committee elected to not have him participate because of the bowl ban the school was under. After one week, he’s unsure if he’ll continue.

“I don’t really care,” he said. “Really it doesn’t make sense to me. Coaches vote. The coaches I know, the good ones, they don’t watch other games. They’re trying to worry about their own team, watching film, but we vote on who’s the best.”