For the last 5 years in sunny Southern California, USC has not been able to keep itself out of the spotlight for the wrong reasons; Whether it was the harsh sanctions imposed on the program following the Reggie Bush scandal, or the firing of ex-USC head coach Lane Kiffin at LAX, USC has been thrust into the national spotlight. Long gone are the Pete Carroll days where winning Pac-10 titles and a regular appearance at the Rose Bowl, being replaced by a bad hire by AD Pat Haden (Steve Sarkisian), unceremonial firings (Kiffin was fired at LAX after a beatdown by Arizona St., Sarkisian was fired via email from Pat Haden), and preseason hype turned into midseason disappointment. This past week has been a testament to the changing culture surrounding the program. Over the past week, ex-Headcoach Steve Sarkisian announced that he would be suing USC to the tune of $30+ million dollars for wrongful termination as well as privacy violations and defamation of character. Sarkisian had been fired early this season by AD Pat Haden due to a subpar record and reportedly showing up to practice drunk. Sark cited a California law that states that an employer cannot fire his employee for his/her disability (California recognizes Alcoholism as a disability) and claims that he was subject to harsh treatment by Pat Haden about his "condition" that eventually led to his firing in October. USC, of course, refutes these claims and will fight Sark in court. This lawsuit has really been nightmarish for loyal USC fans who had sat out the embarrassment of the sanctions placed upon the university in 2010, the humiliation of losing to the ucla bRUINS 3 years in a row, going 7-5 in a season where USC was ranked a preseason #1, 2 midseason firings, and 4 coaches over 4 years. This year was supposed to be the year we put the skill of our players, the depth of our finally unsanctioned roster, and good coaching together ending our half of decade of misery, BUT NO. Our AD DIDN'T DO A F*CKING BACKGROUND ON A HEAD COACH OF A PROGRAM THAT BRINGS IN MILLION OF DOLLARS A YEAR. I mean goddamn, this whole thing is stupid and I really just want to win. Credit to Clay Helton who lead us to a Pac-12 Championship and turned this fucking titanic around. Credit to him for beating the fucking bruins. Credit to him for leading this football team with a sense of maturity and responsibility for the first time in forever. I believe he will bring stability to our beloved program that has been tarnished by unaccomplished goals and drama. He will change the culture at USC back to winning and away from off the field incidents. Clay has already moved forward in this pursuit in firing DC Justin Wilcox as well as other assistant coaches that have woefully underperformed given the extraordinary talent they have been given. Clay Helton will right this ship. Fight On.
SOME EXTRA THOUGHTS:
- Pat Haden made Steve Sarkisian sign a contract after the booster event in which Sarkisian appeared drunk and cursed while onstage that said that if he was involved in any event that embarrassed the University in any way, he would be fired. That piece of paper might have saved our ass.
- USC will play in the Holiday Bowl for the second time in two years against Wisconsin. Wisconsin has a great defense that ranked first in points allowed in the Big Ten, which is impressive considering Iowa, Michigan, Michigan St., and Ohio St. also play in the same conference. Wisconsin also has a woeful offense that the Trojans should be able to take advantage of. Expect USC to set the tone for the Clay Helton Era and win a hard fought physical game with the Badgers in Cody Kessler's last game as a Trojan. Prediction: 24-17 USC
- Clay Helton announced that four coaches: defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, defensive backs coach Keith Heyward, defensive line coach Chris Wilson and offensive line coach Bob Connelly have been fired and that Graduate Assistants will fill their roles as the Trojans prepare for their bowl game.
- Clancy Pendergast and Ed Orgeron have been rumored to be coming back to USC to fill the vacant roles. I certainly hope this is the case.
- Stay strong Trojan Family and remember to FIGHT ON