USC Morning Buzz: If Pac-12 Coaches Were Not Impressed Should Fans Be?

USC Trojans head coach Clay Helton holds the PAC-12 throphy with his team after beating the Stanford Cardinal at Levi's Stadium on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)

The Pac-12 coaches pick the conference’s coach of the year. Ponder for a minute what they did yesterday: USC beat Stanford twice and they still chose Cardinal coach David Shaw as coach of the year.

Obviously, the coaches felt USC had the most talent and winning the Pac-12 was simply doing what the Trojans were supposed to do. You can bet the league’s coaches also heard some of the dissension that came from the coaching staff this season.

And those same Pac-12 coaches watched film of USC failing to pass the eye test on a weekly basis, having 10 men on the field for extra points (even on the last TD of the Pac-12 title game) and all the other clownish plays that happened this season.

Add it all up and Shaw becomes Coach of the Year.

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  • Old Trojans never die

    I have a plaque that says “Eagle Scout” and I have a plaque that says “District Award of Merit.” I have a plaque that says “Vigil Honor” and a plaque that says “Chapter Advisor” None of these ornaments are on my wall. They just say I did my job and someone liked the way I did it. So the question is; Should we care what others think?

    • J.A.M.

      ….for a college football coach it is important both your boss and fans care about your performance…next year when USC goes 5-7 and no one is at the game watching we will see how much not caring will effect the gainful employment of Coach Helton…

    • Michael Guarino

      Nice thoughts, Old Trojan. I’m sure that Clay Helton gives about as much of a crap about the Pac 12 Coach of the Year Award as Pete Carroll did —-which is to say, he doesn’t care at all. Like Pete, he’d probably be a bit happier beating the other Pac 12 coaches and winning the conference. And —as for the fans—-ask them if they’d rather have a COY or a championship. I think we know the answer.
      On the other hand, check out “Inside UCLA”. It limps along with comments numbering between zero and one. It takes an extremely impish Scott Wolf to keep people posting after the regular season. You kinda have to admire his “ends justify the means” approach to this blog. At least 5 times a day, Scott gets seized by a snarky idea, smiles to himself, and puts it out there for us to feast on. See it as a mind sharpening opportunity. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • Gabby

        Inside USC, where closet-fans come to get their daily-fix of USC football…..The gift that keeps on giving

      • Trojan5

        CH didn’t have a reputation when he got the gig and was under a cloud of doubt from the moment he was hired. First impressions are hard to overcome. His every blemish ( & they do exist) is given far more scrutiny than his successes. His successes are diminished or dismissed. IE Sam is the only reason CH & the team win. Back to back 10 win seasons is something to be proud of. Not dismissed because the team missed the playoff. I don’t think anyone at USC is satisfied with “only” being 11 & 2. But they are going to celebrate a league championship & take pride in what they did achieve. I think it has been at least 8 years since USC last won a league championship and back to back 10 win seasons hasn’t happened in awhile. As a fan I take pride in that. There are those that think it is a binary choice–NC = success or no NC = unsuccessful. I choose to enjoy the wins and root for even better days ahead.

        • Michael Guarino

          Agreed. Except for two games over the last two years, USC has either straight out won the contest or looked competitive in a losing effort. Helton is proving himself by continuing to GET BETTER. He’s growing into the job.
          It is actually a strange sort of tribute to one Scott Wolf that SO many people in L.A. continue to berate a coach with SO many accomplishments on the field. Scott has shrewdly turned one of Clay’s strengths —recruiting superior athletes —-into a weakness. And a lot of folks are buying into it.
          Note: For only the second or third time since he took the reigns, Coach Helton will be facing a team with slightly superior over-all talent: Ohio State. If he takes them down (which I think he’ll do), Scott will have to respect the accomplishment (something he has admitted in his “more power to Helton if he beats Meyer” article).

          • Trojan5

            The beat down by AL was understandable but the lack of competitiveness was not a good look. And the showing at ND was flat out embarrassing. Winning ugly hasn’t helped either. I am not saying he is a top tier coach right now and he may never be. But at this point in time he is helping the program and it is trending upward. It depends on how one views things. IE COY–SW says it is a lack of respect but Jon Wilner says it is an insult to CH. It may be a point without a distinction. But one has a negative view of CH and the other is more favorable.

          • Michael Guarino

            This Ohio State match is going to answer a lot of questions, Trojan5. There isn’t an analyst in the country who thinks USC’s talent matches Ohio State’s. If Helton takes this game, it will be a marker that no one will be able to dismiss. Not even Scott.

        • Cloud Shaman

          Great players make even reputable coaches look good.

        • Trojans 6942

          Well said, my sentiments exactly

      • steveg

        It is always nice to see what a demented old guy can put out there. The king of snark.

    • Pasadena Trojan

      You were an Eagle Scout? Truly awesome. I was a Star Scout working on my life badge when I left the Boy Scouts. That was an amazing and great time.

      • Old Trojans never die

        If you grew up in Pasadena we were in the same council I grew up in West Covina. San Gabriel Valley Council has merged and is now Greater L.A area council. Still have Cherry Valley as a preimere camp. Still it’s the experience that makes it worth it.

  • Sebastian Lane

    Throw a flag on this guy. One of the reporters I read said Helton should be given credit for fighting through the injury bug and having to play 12 consecutive weeks without a bye, something you failed to mention. And you’ve been extremely critical of Baxter and ST. How about some love for Lopes (former walk-on and a great story) and Pittman (who you incorrectly had transferring). Per usual, another example of CONFIRMATION BIAS……

    • Gabby

      CONFIRMATION BIAS…Exactly!….classic example!….good insight,Sebastian

      I wish you posted more often on this blog

      • steveg

        Helton is USC HC. A lot of other dummies can’t say that. nuff said.

    • LamontRaymond

      If Pac-12 coaches have been bitten by the green-eyed-monster and don’t want to reward USC, that’s they’re problem. Good thing coach of the year means absolutely ZERO, and a conference title is all that matters in this league. The Pac-12 didn’t help USC at ALL during its Bush problems, and NONE of those teams won a national title while they had the extra recruits that USC couldn’t claim. Now that SC is back at full strength and is looking at a promising future, they’re pulling crap like this and calling a twice defeated (at the hands of USC) Stanford – a team with a potential heisman winner – the coach of the year. A joke. The good news? Helton is a class act and will congratulate Shaw – as I will. Shaw is a great coach and a great man. Is he the coach of the year this year? Certainly not. Only because Helton outdid him where it matters most. On the field. Twice.

    • Sylvester

      At any other university, Lopes wouldn’t even be on the team. His father works in the athletic department. Guess why he is on the team ? Now, back to the question at hand: Did Helton vote himself as Pac-12 Coach of the Year ? Before we all start screaming about Shaw not being deserving of the accolade, let’s ask Helton who he voted for. Right ?

      • LamontRaymond

        If he voted for himself, that’s completely legit. And what’s wrong with Lopes? You think he can’t play? Dogging him for being a walk-on? weak sauce.

        • Sylvester

          And Pittman sat on the bench for most of the year until his father threatened to transfer him elsewhere.

          • LamontRaymond

            the kid had an ankle injury…..

          • Gabby

            Exactly…..set him back a few games

          • Grammymb

            Pittman was injured before the season started. Fake news. And Lopes had some nice plays during the season.

      • Globehead

        Hey genius, did you notice Lopes played well enough to be awarded a scholarship this year even though he can go to school for free? Or did you notice he drilled 4 or 5 guys on kickoff returns this year? Or that he recovered the onside kick against UCLA to save our @ss?
        Avoid topics you know nothing about.

        • Gabby

          another ruin imposter

        • Pasadena Trojan

          Lopes can play. He played on defense and he hit very hard. he is a baller.

      • fryer tuck

        Amazingly stupid comment. You have nothing to offer and you’re now blocked.

      • Gabby

        Ask Helton and report back….get on it

        • Sylvester

          Why don’t you, after you give him his weekly rubdown.

          • Gabby

            Another fake handle…….dude, tricks are for kids…..troll on!

    • peter

      USC IS PLAYING IN THE COTTON BOWL VS OSU.
      Isn’t that the priority?
      Thank you for bringing up Lopes, young man deserves all the good.
      The quote you mentioned, was also said by Shaw praising USC

    • San Diego trojan

      I think Helton lost only because of preseason expectations. He and his staff made a lot of mistakes and had lost opportunities, but so did every other coach in the league. While you can say Shaw is the best overall,year to year, this award is for this year and 11-2 conference champ, while not pretty, deserves coach of the year in my book

  • Tebow_Obama

    Clay Helton underachieved again.

    • Gabby

      11-2 and he underachieved? How much is wolf paying you, I’ll double it if it gets you to leave…..and take killer with you, I’m sure there’s some connection

  • CORTEZ THE KILLER

    That was a joke, Shaw in no way deserved coach of the year. Rich Rod ? Maybe, UA was picked to finish dead last, not really much to pick from in the PAC 12

    • Globehead

      Rich Rod had one of the top QB talents in the country riding the pines for a year and a half and only played him because the other crappy guy got hurt. That’s not COY material.

      • Sylvester

        What about Helton keeping Darnold on the bench last year ? Cost USC a National Championship.

        • Chris

          Hardly. Helton protected a kid from a really tough opening schedule. Revisionist history doesn’t work.

          • Trojan 83

            Hugs chooses the veterans over the younger players regardless of talent because of loyalty to the program. Pete would always go with talent with the possible exception of QB. Regarding Mitchell, Pittman looked better than almost everyone in preseason practice. His Dad says something and now he plays and looks like a star in the making.

  • Fred Sampson

    The average fan only looks at the win loss record, and that’s why most are satisfied with Clay Helton. But if know the history of USC football, and the potential it has to be a national contender year after year, then you’re definitely not impressed

    • steveg

      Fred I disagree. USC has gone through an awful lot and is coming back. If you expect to have an NC year after year you will always be unimpressed. USC is on the road back, from bad action by players and their parents, by bad management decisions, by bad coach selections, by bad AD selection, by bad football philosophy, and by a bad decision by the NCAA to over punish them. Now it seems they are on the road to rebuilding not just the team to full strength, but the program is now back into the discussion about the NC. Rome was not built in a day. Perhaps Helton is not the big time brand name coach, but he has hung tough, taken a lot of ridicule, and created a good solid atmosphere that can be the foundation for the future in which the entire program can flourish. He is the HC, and will be for a while longer at least. I wish all success for him and the program, win big or win ugly.

  • TDM93

    Isn’t this like arguing that every Trojan should make the first all conference team because USC finished with the best record? I happen to think there was a lot of good coaching in the conference and that a number of people were meritorious of consideration.

    • CORTEZ THE KILLER

      Really ? Name these good coaches

      • Gabby

        According to you, outside of Shaw, the PAC12 is littered with junk coaches….with that being said, get the resume ready, they’re 11 potential landing spots for your supreme coaching skills….wait, make that 10, we don’t want you around here

        • Michael Guarino

          You have to hand it to Cortez, Gabby. He sure has a special talent for trashing his betters. His Pac 12 coaching evaluations represent one of his oddest and most misanthropic efforts yet. I’d like to see him put together a similar list of historical figures:
          Alexander the Great: Epileptic
          Napoleon: Short
          FDR: Cripple
          And to wrap things up—- a hashtag —-just for Corrtez (Nothing will follow the hashtag, though —-my message to Cortez is “inferrable”)
          #

          • CORTEZ THE KILLER

            What’s odd about it Mr Hashtag ? And the fact that you agree with Gabby aka Helen shows you have zero brain cells

          • Michael Guarino

            Drinking buddy. Scumbag. Kid. Jelly Belly. Dunce. Nuts. Gomer.
            Only one person in a million would come up with those words to describe those coaches. So—-I’ll take back “odd” —–and just say you’re “rare”.

          • Jethro G Sabbath

            I actually liked the Jelly Belly one.

          • Michael Guarino

            Well, me too actually, Jethro —-but it sorta became a casualty of my war with Cortez.
            #WarIsHell

          • Trojans 6942

            I like Shaw having a down year so true yet just won CYO.

          • Pasadena Trojan

            is that the Catholic Youth Organization?

          • Michael Guarino

            Ha! CYO football —where all us Catholic kids got our start!

          • Trojans 6942

            Sh*t COY but he probably won that as well. Lol

          • Michael Guarino

            Oh, a brain cell contest, heh? Gabby and me could lick you with half our brains tied behind our backs.

          • Pudly76

            Why lick?

          • Michael Guarino

            I suppose any time you use the word “lick”, the whole topic is subject to gags (ooh —there I go again)……

          • Pasadena Trojan

            Wonder lick

          • Grammymb

            That’s how Owns does his urinals.

          • Gabby

            Odd?…..really!…..You’ve posted the same general statement 568 times, that an extremely moronic shtick….get some new material, or switch jobs

            (leave Helen out of it)

          • JustOwns

            So is hirsute Helen still pedaling handsome, third string Ricky is better than the Piglet?

          • Gabby

            Michael, I love it !……classic!….Ranks high on my top 10 list of comments from you. You never ceases to amaze me with your wit, such a gift

          • Michael Guarino

            Why, thank you, Gabby! I’m smiling bigger than Scott does when he thinks up another anti-USC headline.

          • Gabby

            (thumbs up!)

      • Jethro G Sabbath

        Considering every college head coach nationwide, how many do you think are good?

        • Gabby

          You might be asking too much of the guy. The question exceeds his mentality

      • Trojans 6942

        That’s funny

      • Pasadena Trojan

        Gomer is starting to show some street cred. If he beats OSU, then he will be a coach on the rise. When he makes it to “Being” the coach is when his team is consistent and does not play mr. nice guy when usc is way ahead.

  • Fred Sampson

    Kevin Sumlin to Oregon?

    • Gabby

      Leach, kiffin and Tee are on the short list

      • trojan_1972

        Jon Wilner at San Jose Mercury is mentioning Boise State HC and also Tedford under consideration at Oregon. Aside from that, anybody here read Wilner? He strikes me as a thoughtful and careful writer.

        • CORTEZ THE KILLER

          He’s the best writer on the PAC 12

        • San Diego trojan

          I think Tedford might be a good choice, wasn’t he an assistant there? Wouldn’t be surprised if they went with a bigger name like miles or Sumlin , just from a buzz and recruiting standpoint, but tedford was mostly great at cal, and just turned around Fresno State, so his heart is still in the game

          • Globehead

            Tedford ran Cal into the ground, but at Oregon he wouldn’t have any academic hurdles. They’ll take anyone with a pulse.

        • Pasadena Trojan

          Teford would be a good hire. He is an offensive cordinator who coached oregano when they were going great guns.

      • Sylvester

        On the short list of coaches without brains.

        • Gabby

          Nice try!….I’m a USC fan

          Hey killer is that you, breath smells the same….pathetic

    • CORTEZ THE KILLER

      As bad as Edwards to ASU, just stupid

      • Fred Sampson

        The only thing that changed at Arizona State, is the leadership, because Herm Edwards kept all of Todd Graham’s assistants, and the team finished 7-5 . Graham’s attitude, and inability to communicate got him fired

        • Gabby

          The guy was a maniac on the sidelines, bad optics

          • steveg

            Old Herm Edwards does know how to lead a program and make players give their all. A great motivator is perhaps just what they needed.

        • marvienna

          If that is the case, then ASU will continue to be a soft team as they were under Graham. His teams had no physicality whatsoever. He was banking on a speed/tempo offense too much.

          If you thought USC was soft, it tells you something that USC scored 40+ points on Graham’s teams each of the last three years.

          Maybe ASU should bring back Vontaze Burfict! Ha!

        • Pasadena Trojan

          ASU showed signs of being good. they beat Stanford and thrashed Utah. They have talent. Edwards is a good guy. he passed by me one time in New York after his Sunday night show. We said hi. I wish him the best.

          • Fred Sampson

            Herm Edwards always emphasized fundamentals, and physical play when he was coaching, so I’ll assume he’s going to tweak some things, and let the coordinators, and position coaches do their job.

    • Jack B

      Huge decision here for ORE. They get this wrong and with Phil Knight already in his ’80s, the Ducks could really go sideways for awhile. So much pressure in Eugene right now. Taggart totally scr**ewed the Ducks. That one left a mark a mile wide.

    • marvienna

      I’m hearing that Oregon wants to reach out to Wilcox (strong family ties to the school and a former player) at Cal but it maybe wasn’t likely he was going to leave after one year.

      But after getting screwed with Taggart’s one and done and their rumoured bottomless pit of Nike money, don’t be surprised if negotiations with Wilcox go on a little longer than is usually the case.

  • Brent4c

    Or one could ask how did the team and coach with a Heisman finalist didn’t win their league and lost the PAC 12 title to a team from the other division for the first time in PAC 12 title game history get voted COY?

    • Michael Guarino

      One COULD ask.

  • Brent4c

    Scott I bet Sabin doesn’t win COY in the sec this year either…does that mean he’s no good?

    • Gabby

      Dating back to the PC era, wolf has never had a solid relationship with any of the HC’s. I wouldn’t blame wolf, he’s alway been extremely cordial, objective and balanced….LOL!

      (my nose is growing)

  • Jack B

    Dollars to Donuts Helton finished #2 to Shaw.

    Shaw’s an extremely popular coach who has been better than Harbaugh at STAN and is also my pick as the conference’s best coach, overall, year in and year out. He’s got it figured out and is perfectly dialed in with the type of athletes STAN recruits. Intellectual brutality doesn’t seem that far off to me in describing the Indians. They play smart. They play brutal. Since Shaw took over, he’s become the most winning HC in STAN football history.

    Helton lost it this year, despite having a better team and beating STAN’s ar*se twice, because the USC team looked sloppy and penalty-inclined nearly every game. Winning ugly was USC’s trademark this season. Even though Helton would have also been also deserving of the award IMO, his team hurt itself too much in every game for him to beat out the better-respected Shaw, who also has his team at #13 and a great bowl match-up against TCU in the Alamo.

    Helton also gets hurt a lot by the Darnold Factor. When you have a possible #1 draft pick playing QB for you, people expect a lot. Darnold has ALWAYS gotten more credit than Helton. You could also argue that without Love, Shaw is in deep trouble this year. I buy that totally.

    Coaches likes Leach, Wilcox, Rodriquez and Taggart all either had mediocre to poor teams teams, folded in the stretch and lost to Shaw head-to-head. None of those guys outcoached either Shaw or Helton. Shaw beat Petersen handily.

    Shaw won the battle (coach of the year honor) but lost the war. Helton lost the battle but won the war and is in the Cotton with a shot at top 4 to prove it. Helton would also be the first to tell you he would rather his players win awards than him. His USC players know that and that’s why they go to the mat for him on the field.

    I’d take Helton’s position any day of the week over Shaw’s this season and so would each coach by a mile! SW can’t see the forest for the trees. He often lacks perspective and this is a classic example of SW’s ignorance in this regard.

    • Trojan5

      Well said. Bravo.

  • Sandy Underpants

    It is funny to complain about a bad coach that is 20-2 in the last 22 games, won his conference for the conference championship game for the first time in history, won a conference championship for the first time in 10 years, won a Rose Bowl and is headed to a New Years day Bowl (on December 29), is 3-0 vs crosstown rival. How much better do you have to be? I get it, I don’t like the coaching staff either, and long for the days of the decisive win game after game, but I’ve been watching the games for the past 10 years, and I like seeing them on the winning side of the close ones, even if there are more close ones than there should be.

    • Trojans 6942

      NIce

    • JustOwns

      Better than Alabama 52 – bozo u 6;

      or ND 49 – bozo u 14.

      • Sandy Underpants

        And the biggest accomplishment your team had during that timeframe is firing their coaching staff.

  • Pete Smith

    Helton and staff made to many errors in game prep and during the game. Shaw goes down swinging and Helton would just lay down.

  • Markus Taylor

    Helton shouldnt be even mentioned in the same breathe as Shaw. Look at our athletes we have compared to what he has to work with Tightend heavy. This guy deserves all the praise period. If he was at USC our recruiting and play would be much better. I would say Championship. He should be our coach now and the future. Stop Hating on this man

  • Paul Muad’dib

    So if you improve one spot better than your preseason prediction you get coach of the year? By that reasoning Wilcox should have received the award. Not only that, but the preseason #1 team coach has no chance of winning the award.

  • Trojans 6942

    Helton lost because of USC envy. Plus the media’s ignorance in socialism. In the last 5 year’s Stanford is second in recruiting, yet lost four games this year. Two of which was to one coach who just so happens to be the PAC 12 Champions. Total socialism.

    • steveg

      hate them socialists.

  • Tim4sc

    Give Shaw the Coach of Year. Who cares? I’ll take the Pac 12 championship any year. Would be nice to be in final 4 but wasn’t meant to be. Beat the Buckeyes!! Fight on!

  • Pasadena Trojan

    Scooter, I am going to laugh at you so hard when Helton wins the Championship and you will say that he sucks because he was not voted coach of the year. Dufus, he won the PAC 12, beat Stanford twice, texas, who prepared themselves all summer for SC, and got Chimp fired. Good season

  • Tebow_Obama

    Everyone knows Clay Helton and his coaching staff are a smoldering dumpster fire waiting to happen.

    LOL!

  • Tebow_Obama

    The back ups that Helton and Tee Martin didn’t want to play came in and played better than the players Helton and Martin assessed to be first string.

    Hello!