We generally don’t take delight in the misfortune of others, but in the case of University of Southern California head football coach Lane Kiffin – our schadenfreude will always make an exception.

Kiffin’s Trojans – who entered the 2012 season with the No. 1 ranking in the nation (probably due to SEC fatigue more than anything else) – were upset on Saturday by the Stanford Cardinal.  And as the saying goes, “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”

For those of you who’ve forgotten, Kiffin attempted to lure St. Matthews, S.C. wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to the University of Tennessee three years ago by telling Jeffery that he would “end up pumping gas for the rest of his life” if he attended the University of South Carolina.  Jeffery ignored Kiffin’s “advice,” went to South Carolina and is now catching touchdown passes on Sundays for the Chicago Bears after becoming one of only three players in Southeastern Conference history to amass 3,000 career receiving yards.

Shouldn’t Kiffin have known NFL talent when he saw it?  Oh right … he posted a 5-15 mark in twenty games as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Never mind.

Kiffin also falsely accused former Florida (and current Ohio State) head coach Urban Meyer of violating NCAA rules in his efforts to recruit wide receiver Nu’Keese Richardson in 2009.

After famously jilting Tennessee to take the job in Los Angeles (leaving a dozen NCAA violations in his wake), Kiffin won ten games for the first time in his career in 2011 and appeared to be on the verge of living up to his tremendous potential.   For once, he also seemed to be bottling the immaturity that has plagued him throughout his career.

“Kiffin is maturing into a coach worthy of respect,” one columnist noted toward the end of last season.

Of course things have gone downhill since then … which surprises absolutely no one familiar with this 37-year-old man-child.

For example a month ago Kiffin made a comment to reporters about his vote in the preseason USA Today/ Coaches’ poll.

“I would not vote USC No. 1, I can tell you that,” he said.

The only problem with that statement?  Kiffin did vote USC No. 1 in the coaches’ poll.

Last week?  Kiffin attempted to “suspend” a member of the media for having the audacity to report on an injury sustained by one of his players – violating a policy that Kiffin instituted in August.

So much for freedom of the press, right?

Anyway while the Trojans aren’t necessarily out of the national title hunt just yet, the fact that their coach is once again displaying his trademark dishonesty and immaturity should be a major cause for concern among USC fans.  And while Kiffin can claim all he wants that his juvenile antics aren’t having an impact on his team’s on-field performance, Saturday’s loss to Stanford would certainly seem to indicate otherwise.

And no … “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”