USC-UCLA Report Card


Just remember Clay Helton is now 0 for 2 on QB calls. I’d argue 0 for 3 but not in this space. He picked JT Daniels over Kedon Slovis and Slovis would be on the bench if Daniels were healthy.

Grade: A


It must be fun to be window dressing for the Air Raid. Yes, there’s a play here or there but long term what elite backs are really going to want this offense?

Where are all those people who used to tell me, “North Texas ran a balanced offense . . .”

Grade: C-


Four receivers over 100 yards! What happened vs. Washington? Oregon? Notre Dame? BYU?

Grade: A


UCLA’s defense actually got to Kedon Slovis more than other recent opponents. But not really surprising with this offensive line, which has been given a pass by many pundits this season.

Grade: C-


They shut down the running game but UCLA had its best offensive performance against a team this season that wasn’t named Washington State.

Grade: D+


I blame Clancy Pendergast’s scheme more than the players for a lot of what UCLA did. Hopefully this was his last game.

Grade: D


Did they cover anyone? If not for dropped passes, UCLA would have scored even more points. It was a disaster of a day from a pass defense perspective.



There was the punting debacle in the first quarter. The timeout with 10 men on the field before a field goal. The missed field goal. I’m tired of talking about John Baxter.

Grade: F


A fan told me Graham Harrell is the greatest offensive coordinator in USC history. I guess they missed all those other games. Plus playing a 4-7 team isn’t exactly a great test. If Clay Helton saved his job, just remember the record of those five teams USC beat to end the season (25-30).

And who gave a worse showing vs. UCLA’s offense than USC? Mike Leach? The other Air Raid guy, of course.


33 thoughts on “USC-UCLA Report Card

  1. President Folt is reportedly upset with Helton’s response today when asked what he would do if given another year as Head Coach. Apparently Helton missed the point of the question and replied, “I swear to you on the Holy Bible that I and my staff will devote ourselves 24/7 to destroying Scott Wolf and everything he stands for. Oh, I’m sorry. Did that sound a little too much like Ben Hur’s slave ship speech about his plan’s for Messala?”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Long and off Topic as usual:
    Just a bit of advice for Director Bohn… These people who are telling you to fire Coach Helton will be the same ones holding pitchforks and torches when they come for you. Just as I’m sure b-ball was over-weighted at Cincy, football is very much over-weighted at USC. I’m sure it’s worse here as these people are crazy. However, you’re the one who has to live with the consequences of the decision, so make sure the decision is actually yours. I don’t think you’ve been here long enough or seen enough to make the move now and call it yours. At the end of the day they didn’t bring you in as a hatchetman to implement their judgment, they brought you in as a Director to use yours. You would think that the only duty of a USC AD is to hire and fire football coaches, but you know you have more responsibilities than that. Give yourself some time and make your first move in another sport, don’t start with football. As soon as you touch football the clock starts ticking for you. Why start the clock when Coach Helton isn’t even on your ledger yet? If you want this to be your last job, don’t end the honeymoon and start the marriage so soon. Get your feet under you, get them wet and then dive into the deep end that is football at USC. Now, if you KNOW you have a winner in your back pocket already then whip it out, but if you’re trying to do this on the fly, don’t.

    None of the above is to say that there aren’t problems in the football program, there are. As a new Director, if I kept Coach Helton, I would let him know that I’m doing so contrary to the preponderance of advice I’ve received and that my ass is on the line along with his. Then I would ask him to write a resignation letter that he is to hand to me without discussion after his 3rd loss next season, if ever and whenever it occurs. It’s up to you whether you accept it or not, but let him know that it’s at least 10 wins next year or he’s done. It’ll be his 5th season and no coach can ask for more of an opportunity in this day and age.

    My last bit of unsolicited advice is in regards to the first move you should make when you PUBLICLY turn back to football. Look at our future schedules… What kind of bipolar program opens the season against Alabama one year and UC Davis the next? Relative to each other, do those games look like they were scheduled by someone with a clear idea about the direction of their football program? Hey, as long as the fat cats have their checkbooks out right now, I bet some of the more prideful ones would be willing to buy us out of that UC Davis game. There’s this thing about USC never playing a school that was formerly designated as a Division II school. You might want to ask around about that and see if anything can be done there. Not a lot of people are happy about that game and you would make some friends if you could change it. Also, the future schedules beyond that don’t look great either. Another good announcement would be a new deal for a home and home with an attractive opponent. There are plenty of open spots in the future and i would think we can find some good opponents. I’d stay away from the real heavy hitters for now but still look for old blue bloods like maybe Michigan, FSU, Miami or a lower tier SEC school.
    Anyway, congratulations on the new gig and I wish you luck.
    P.S I know the Helton Haters won’t like this, but it is what it is. “You can hate me now…”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Don’t want to disappoint —but we don’t hate you, Clay. But what does Bohn do about the unmistakable fact that Baxter and Clancy are TRYING to get Clay to fire them? [Special Prosecutor Durham reportedly —and accidentally— recorded Baxter telephone calls after the UCLA game in which Baxter laughingly tells friends, “Well, if THAT doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will!”]…….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Clay, thank you for your take on the situation. I agree with a lot of what you are saying. You have given us a well thought out proposal. However, the evidence is in, Helton is not qualified for this job ; and, should not be given any more time.
        Bohn was hired to make bold decisions and should live up to that responsibility. We should expect something different, if not why make a change in the AD position? We need boldness and deserve it. The AD job academically is about athletics but in reality, at USC, it is about football. Let us face it.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Fifty coaches plus better than Helton.. That’s all that needs to be said
      about the head coaching job at USC! The best bet is a defensive
      oriented leader like Mr. Carroll not Pres. Carol to take charge of the


  3. If Plan A is Urban Meyer (or Matt Rhule, Campbell, etc, etc)
    then Plan B for some might be retaining Helton and bringing in the splashy DC hire. All of these DC’s would rate A+ (even by Mr. Wolf)

    FPI defensive efficiency, ave score for 2016-2019 seasons inclusive

    1. Clemson/Venables –90.75
    2. Bama/ Pruitt-Lupoi-Golding –89.5
    3. Michigan/Don Brown –83.25
    4. UGA/ Tucker-Sherrer-Lanning –83 (better each year 17-19)
    5. OSU/ Sciano-Haffley&Mattison –81.75
    6. Auburn/Ole’ Kevin Steele –81
    7. Wisky/ Wilcox16-Jim Leonhard (17-19) –79
    8. Utah/Morgan Scalley –77.25
    9. LSU/Aranda –77
    10. ND/who cares –76
    Cincinnati . –74 over 2018/2019 seasons only

    Surprise entry???????
    Luke Fickel at Cincinnati. Did well at OSU. His first year at Cincy–2017–the defense was deplorable at FPI of 29. In 2018, Fickel’s defense was #8 in the country and ahead of Aranda and LSU. In 2019 Fickel’s defense is rated #31 with a score of 67. His last two years defense average at 74

    A few are likely not in the mix for USC: bama’s, Brown, OSU’s, Steele
    A few would only leave for the HC job: Venables, Aranda.
    A few might join USC for $2M as DC: Leonhard at UWisky, Scalley UU(?)
    A patient AD might “work” the situation for 2020 (and save a bunch of buyout money) and Hire Luke Fickell. It’s all above my pay grade.

    Adding a splashy DC ASAP to our future top 10 offense might be the smart solution for now. Interestingly, Scalley has experience with special teams also.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hate to admit it –but there are a lot of workable ideas there, Bourbon. The problem is —too many people have sold themselves on the notion of “I’m only going to be happy if I see Helton’s blood.”


      1. Helton’s legal team has already let it leak that, if fired, Helton intends to go the “Sark route” and sue for discrimination against a handicapped employee…..


      1. We got the Strength and Conditioning Coach to come back, didn’t we?
        Okay, I teed you up for a great response, pardner! Take it away!


      2. Disagree.
        For a young fella, DC at USC is a resume builder at the very least.
        The $1-1.5M paycheck is also nice for a young fellow.

        Nine good, young, starting defenders return, and another 6 experienced defenders join them. Hard to admit, but the defense improved in 2019 over 2018–even if our “eyes” suggest otherwise. Just goes to show how horrid was 2018. (FPI 2018 50/128, FPI 2019 40/128). If we end up with plan B, hire a hotshot young DC and get better.

        Thankfully no one is continuing to tout Stoops as an option–though some dullards had been doing just that.


      1. I don’t see Venables nor Aranda leaving their $1.5-2M jobs for any shit show opportunities. CFB–especially solid, smart, smashmouth, opportunistic defensive football–is religion where they live. They are the high priests of that religion.

        Kirby Smart and Dan Mullen have shown the way to do it.

        I think this kid, Leonhard (at U Wisky), could be a smart “get” for us
        (assuming the crazy UM thing doesn’t work out).
        Paul Chryst is not leaving Wisky any time soon.

        The kid at UU is double indemnity–you get a great hire and you steal a great DC. I know…not gonna’ happen.

        At least I bring solid data to the conversation.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your response, Professor. You ask why change AD’s? Maybe you had a really bad AD. Wolf certainly seemed to think so.

      My msg was truly for Dir. Bohn as he’s kind of been put in a tough spot at the 11th hour here. He should know that he is able to take a step back and not make a forced move as soon as he walks in the door. There’ll be no charity or future if he gets it wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Clay,Well Bohn is supposed to be in a tough spot. It is a tough position and if he did not know that he is not the man for the job. He was brought in because it is tough. Otherwise we could put the others back in. This job calls for toughness. This is the time for decisiveness on the part of the president who was brought in to make tough decisions regarding change at large and for Bohn in particular, otherwise what is it all about?


  4. With a cumulative 0.5 GPA, Helton did not earn his degree here at SC, so it’s time to transfer to a local JC.

    Scott, any chance you could dig deep and obtain Bohn’s report card on Helton?


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