USC Morning Buzz: Is Winning The Pac-12 A Great Accomplishment?

A reader tweeted me this comment: “The haters will lose their minds if we win the Pac12 this year w/o Sam (Darnold).”

My response was it would hardly be a huge accomplishment to win the Pac-12 when you have perhaps the most-hyped quarterback ever at USC. Besides, this is the Pac-12. It ain’t exactly the SEC. Remember, teams like Arizona have gotten to the Pac-12 title game. And Stanford was pretty close to beating USC in last year’s game with KJ Costello at quarterback.

I fully admit saying repeatedly that Clay Helton lived off Sam Darnold the past two years. But any USC coach can win Pac-12 games with superior talent. Let’s see if Helton can make USC a College Football Playoff contender, however, now that Darnold is not around to perform miracles in the fourth quarter.

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24 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Is Winning The Pac-12 A Great Accomplishment?

  1. Ah, now you’re jumping on the JT hype wagon, huh? Getting ready to trear him down straw-man style. As I’ve said, give the kid a break.

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  2. There is always a chance that Sam Darnold was a fluke upon which SC lived and died. Especially last season when Sam was dreadful the team followed suit. The real question is if Helton learned any lessons from last year? USC is betting he has so this season is easily the make or break season for the current coaching staff. My time machine is broken so my (considerably large) but is telling me to get on the Trojans to surpass expectation. And if we don’t then watch the antacids start pouring in from all sides.

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    1. Darnold was such a fluke he was drafted 3rd overall. He ” stunk ” because he was trying to do too much, had a horrid OL in front of him and had a head coach and staff totally not coaching him up.

      Gomer learned nothing, he will never be a top head coach, USC football is dead for the foreseeable future no matter how many top rated recruiting classes he brings in, they won’t be coached up.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Karma —I’m only going to agree with you [that Helton “learned nothing”] if he (1) splits the reps evenly among all three quarterbacks during Fall practice, (2) starts the season with Fink out of respect for his seniority in the program and (3) blows 2 of the first 3 games because he didn’t have the guts to tell Fink and Sears it’s J. T’s show now.

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      2. Totally agree, and well-said, man. Spot-on. Darnold also seemed to regress under the WKU-LosAngeles Extension coaching staff, and as you wrote, he had a crap O-line around him, at least inferior to the O-line in 2016.

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  3. Rather than “Inside USC with Scott Wolf” wouldn’t a more appropriate title be “I hate USC with Scott Wolf”?

    So if you have a highly touted high school QB coming in winning the Pac 12 shouldn’t be considered an accomplishment – got it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think Scott really hates USC, Globe —I think his Blog Title should be “I Know Just What To Say To Get Globe & Michael To Comment.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If Coach Helton wins 10 games this year (with new starters at qb and tb), not only will his job be safe —but he’ll be Coach of the Year.
    #AndHeMightDoIt

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear ya, marvienna. As a matter of fact, if we beat EVERYBODY else and, then, lost to an otherwise winless UCLA team —– it would kind of fuck up the season.
        #ButDon’tWorry,ItWon’tHappen

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Sam! So good to hear from you. Hope all is well with the family! As far as knowing when someone replies, the only thing that seems to work is to hit “like” so that it shows up in the person’s email. [Which means even hitting “like” when you disagree with somebody just so they know you’ve responded].
        Hope you stick around for the 2018 season, old buddy —things are gonna get interesting real soon!
        #SASIsBack!

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  5. Maybe Helton can dump a lot of top players so that he can win without talent and prove himself to Scotty. Yeah, I’m sure that is real important to Helton. Isn’t recruiting top players part of what makes a coach great?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ken—- I’m on the fence with this ‘drop top players’ proposal. On the surface it sounds great (i.e., a chance to win Scott’s approval once and for all)—-but something tells me there could be a downside…..
      #….Can’tPutMyFingerOnIt…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Michael, regarding your question below my post (“Chris, how will you feel if SC beats Stanford and Texas?”), my answer is “great”. I always want SC to win. I just don’t see much hope in Austin with a true freshman starting his third game in college (or his first game, if Helton is an idiot and repeats the gaffe of what he did in 2016 with Max Browne and Darnold), Helton getting out-coached and our secondary getting torched. Texas’ D-line was dominant at the Coliseum last year, for the most part. Really, Texas came very, very close to upsetting SC at home. It came down to a stripped football-fumble recovery and two clutch kicks from Chase. It shouldn’t have been that close. When you saw how the season started against Western Michigan at home, that was a harbinger of things to come. I was at the loss at WSU, and the losses at Notre Dame and Ohio State were hideous. SC got shoved around on both lines, all day long. Helton’s tenure at SC is just delaying the inevitable, and thereby setting SC back another year. How this university can bungle a coaching hire every freaking time “promote from within”; “he just ‘understands’ SC, so hire him” and all of the other idiocy are perplexing. One stupid decision after another.

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    2. Give Wolf a break, Ken. It’s fair to see how Helton does without Sam to pull his fat out of the fire. Think of 4 games from 2016, most notably the Rose Bowl win over Penn State, and another 3 or 4 games in 2017 that would’ve been definite losses without Darnold. Helton’s game day coaching seems like on-the-job training, and I’m not that impressed with his recruiting. Some very good, and some mediocre. Wolf (usually) calls it like it is, and being realistic doesn’t make a sportswriter a “hater”, etc. If you were pleased with the product you saw on the field last year, then you have lower standards, I guess. Head coaching, the play-calling three-way communication cluster, the OL coaching, strength and conditioning all are lacking, and I’m not much of a Pendergast fan, either. Next to Oregon State and perhaps Colorado and maybe ASU, SC has the worst coaching staff in the conference. That’s what happens when it’s always “promote from within” at head coach and athletic director, rather than hiring the best you can find, with successful head coaching experience be damned. A lot of people (me included) really wanted to see SC go after now-Texas coach Tom Herman when he was at Houston and Coach Jack Daniels was fired. Texas will probably hand us our asses in Austin and you’ll see Clay out coached by the guy SC should’ve hired. Instead, Texas is building a winner there – both in recruiting AND in actual coaching and developing talent – and they came extremely close to beating us last year at our home, and they had lesser talent and a true frosh QB making his second start. If 8-4 or 9-3 excites or pleases you, I don’t know what to say. I like Helton as a nice guy and for his faith, and I will certainly support and pull for him this year, but my gut tells me he doesn’t have it, and that he should’ve never been hired. But SC typically makes stupid coaching decisions as a rule, and lucks into a Carroll or finds a McKay every now and then. Can you think of any “hires from within” (other than Robinson I and Jeff Cravath before the modern era that were successful? It surely wasn’t Tollner, Kiffin, Sarkisian, Robinson II or Don Clark, was it? Maybe the new university president will actually value football and not micromanage the athletic department. Let’s hope so, right?

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      1. (I forgot to include Helton’s continuance of the stupidity of signing 7 wide receivers in each class (I’m exaggerating, but barely) like his predecessors did (even Pete), while neglecting interior D-linemen, cornerbacks and offensive linemen, particularly big, fast, mobile guards. “Big plus slow equals lose”, as McKay said.)

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  6. Helton has to produce a juggernaut team this year or heads will roll starting with the o line coach. Then look at the offensive coordinator after that.

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