USC Trojans

Five things USC football can do to increase optimism for 2021

USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
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USC football has an uphill climb getting fans to believe in 2021.

USC football’s 2020 season ended with a whimper as they fall to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday.

The Trojans couldn’t complete an undefeated season and didn’t manage to hoist their first conference title since 2017.

They definitely didn’t convince fans that the future of the program is something to be optimistic about.

So what can USC do to inject some positivity back into the fanbase? Here are some thoughts:

Start fresh by firing Clay Helton

Okay, we have to start with the obvious one, even if it’s also extremely unrealistic. Athletic directors simply don’t fire a coach coming off a one-loss season.

Still, nothing would make USC fans as a whole happier.

Helton has had five seasons to prove himself. Sure, in that time he won a Rose Bowl and a Pac-12 title, but those accomplishments are shrouded by more disappointment than anything.

After the 2018 season, USC set out to follow the Notre Dame model of retaining their head coach by rebuilding the staff. Brian Kelly and the Irish won 84 percent of their games in the two years after. Helton and co have won 68 percent of their games in the same span.

The Trojans have the same problems they’ve always had under Helton. And they aren’t close to being a playoff contender.

It would take a bold decision, but Mike Bohn should make it. Helton’s ceiling is clear, and it’s not what USC should aspire to.

Let’s be honest though, that’s not going to happen, so we’ve got some other ideas…