Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/6/11

As hard as it might be to remember now, it wasn’t all that long ago that the relationship between Lane Kiffin and USC seemed to be a bit fractured.

It was just four months ago that college football’s most controversial coach was coming off an 8-5 first season in Troy, and after narrow wins over Minnesota and Utah to open the year, and a loss at Arizona State, many wondered if Kiffin was cut out for the long-term. The Trojans players- many of which had been recruited by the previous regime- seemed to have tuned Kiffin out, and there were rumblings that the coach might’ve even been spatting behind the scenes with his boss, Athletics Director Pat Haden. As you may remember, Hayden didn’t hire Kiffin, but instead inherited him. The person who hired Kiffin was Hayden’s predecessor, Mike Garrett.

But as they say, “winning cures everything,” and winning is certainly something USC did plenty of in the second half of the year. The Trojans won seven of their final eight games, including an upset victory over Oregon, and a near win over Stanford. In the process, the Trojans completely transformed the state of and opinion about the program, with most fans in agreement that if quarterback Matt Barkley comes back next year, USC could even BCS National Championship favorites.

Winning also has apparently made fast friends of Kiffin and his perceived adversary Pat Haden.

Whether there was really a riff between the two or not, only the two of them really know. But regardless, Haden had some fun at Kiffin’s expense in Monday night’s team banquet, when he wore an outfit that was strikingly similar to Kiffin’s during the mega-victory at Oregon.

As you may remember, Kiffin looked a bit out of place in Eugene, and seemed more suited for a day of sledding than coaching football.

At the top, is what Kiffin wore on the sidelines the evening of the Trojan’s upset 38-35 upset over the No. 4 ranked team in the country.

And below, courtesy of Scott Enyeart’s Twitter profile, is what Haden wore to the podium at last night’s banquet.

Who said all the fun left USC’s program when Pete Carroll went to the NFL?

For all his opinions, insights and analysis on college football and more, be sure to follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.

Follow Crystal Ball Run @CrystalBallRun.

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