I’m not sure why anyone needed a Year 3 under Clay Helton to figure out what is happening with USC football. Most coaches require time to improve the program. But USC is actually worse than it was in Year 1 under Helton.
Year 1: USC only lost to Stanford (with Max Browne at QB) and narrowly to Utah because Helton decided to make it Sam Darnold’s first start in perhaps the second-loudest stadium in the Pac-12 (Rice-Eccles Stadium). USC wins the Rose Bowl in dramatic fashion over Penn State behind Darnold’s heroics.
Year 2: USC suffers a narrow loss at Washington State, is embarassed by Notre Dame and gets completely dominated by Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.
Year 3: USC is shut down by Stanford and outscored 34-0 in the final three quarters by an average-looking Texas team. And it’s only three games into the season.
Why did people not see this trend? USC is not getting better since 2016. It is going in the opposite direction.
If you want Helton to be the coach, that is fine. But you cannot argue the program is making progress. So this whole “Helton needs time to prove himself” theory is not valid. He has been proving himself. If you like it, then everything is fine. If not, then you just have to bear it.