Clay Helton could be 0-3 as permanent head coach by next September. This is how Pat Haden should have handled the coaching situation.

SC made 3 straight safe hires, and yielded safe results.

Lame Kitten and the drunkard Sark were assistants under the Pete Carroll realm, but badly flopped as head coach of the Trojans and were sacked mid-season, as if Roman Abramovich were sacking managers at Stamford Bridge.

Mike Garrett was responsible for flopping on Lame Kitten, who had already flopped at two historically respectable programs but stumbling on hard times: Oakland and the Tennessee Vols. Lame Kitten went 7-6 in one year in Knoxville (eerily, the same record as his historical flop in 2012 when the team was ranked #1 in the pre-season). No way a coach who has proved so little with so much deserves the keys to a powerhouse like SC. A more proven head coach was available. Brian Kelly had lead Cincinnati to 2 straight Big East titles and major bowls (2009 Orange and 2010 Sugar Bowls), but instead their rival ND took him instead (how fitting) and has since lead them to 2 major bowls (2013 BCS National Title game and 2016 Fiesta Bowl). In the meantime, SC has been to 0 major bowls.

Lame Kitten's team was ranked #1 before the 2012 season started, and ended the year unranked after beating blown out 21-7 to a GT team that was fucking 6-7. That year, GT finished 3rd in their division, and was the default division champion because UNC and Miami were sanctioned, and needed a waiver to play in a bowl game. Predictably, Lame Kitten was fired after two more bullshit losses to Wazzou 10-7 and ASU 62-41.

Coach O was arguably not given the permanent head coach job due to his losses to ND and the Baby Bears, but Pat Haden didn't really get an upgrade in Sark. He traded his Corolla for a Camry. Who did he miss out on? Craig Bohl (led ND State to 3 straight FCS titles), Chris Petersen (we all know what he did at Boise State), and Derek Mason (DC at Furd). All three were better hires than Sark.

Predictably, Sark was fired mid-season this year, and Helton was given the reigns to Southern Cal. At this point, let's turn back the clock to 29 November 2015, the day after the Trojans beat the Baby Bears to clinch the Pac-12 South.

These are the two types of hires that SC made in Lame Kitten and Sark and should avoid:

  1. former SC assistants under Pete Carroll
  2. previous Pac-12 head coach
SC should have already moved on from the Pete Carroll regime. The Ohio State moved on from the Jim Tressel regime (I still consider him inferior to Carroll due to his bad record in big games, plus Carroll beat the Ohio State twice). They made their splash hiring in the legend Urban Meyer back in 2011. Could we imagine if they pulled an SC hiring and gave Luke Fickell the permanent head coaching job after going 6-7 and losing to Michigan and Florida?

The Ohio State, a football powerhouse, waited to hire Meyer instead of settling for Fickell, so why should SC, another powerhouse, make a hire that looks like they're settling?

Regarding the second, Sark was destined to fail because he was not only a former SC assistant but also a former Pac-12 head coach. Head coaches from within the conference almost never work out, and other than Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier (who are both legends) teams don't ever hire within the conference. Sark will never be 1% of what Saban and Spurrier were.

Why was SC such in a hurry to hire Helton? He wasn't going anywhere. Haden handed him the job like a kid being handed a lollipop when his audition wasn't even finished yet.

This is what SC should have done:
  1. If they want to hire immediately during bowl season, they needed a splash hire. Not an SC assistant, and not a former Pac-12 head coach. Iowa State and Rutgers even made better hires than SC. As did 'Cuse and Georgia. Dawg Pound has been known for settling and stagnating for keeping Richt, but even they knew when to upgrade. I could name at least 10 candidates better than Helton: Art Briles, Pat Fitzgerald, Tom Herman, Mike Gundy, Gary Patterson, Kirby Smart, Les Miles, Matt Campbell, Mark Richt, Scott Frost, Dino Babers, Chris Ash...all of these guys are more accomplished than Helton. Not all of these guys were available or interested in the SC job (definitely, Tom Herman or Pat Fitzgerald weren't), but all of these guys were rumoured to be available for another coaching position, and these were all better hires than Helton. The hiring of Helton was "so Pat Haden": boring, bland, and predictable. SC was too scared to ask out Giselle Bundchen, so they settled for Bridget Monahan instead.
  2. If they HAD to hire Helton, they had to at least make the Rose Bowl (let alone win it). Helton was definitely complacent against Furd and the Cheeseheads, that's why they lost. The team was complacent because they no longer had the need to fight for Helton, even when his audition wasn't even finished yet. Dear players, if u want Helton for the long run, play like it against the Furd.
Many SC fans will say, "They hired Helton because they didn't want to make the same mistake with Coach O." The mistake wasn't letting go of Coach O, the mistake was replacing him with Sark and not Craig Bohl or Chris Petersen. The mistake was trading in a Corolla for a Camry, or keeping Fickell while missing out on Urban Meyer.

Now, Haden appears to have fucked up another hire, just like how he fucked up Sark's hire, and how Garrett fucked up Lame Kitten's hire. As of now, Helton's record as permanent head coach is 0-2, and may as well be 0-3 because no way with this momentum is his team going to beat Bama. The Trojans may as well wave le drapeau tricolore français before facing the Tide in Jerry's World.

Instead, had the Trojans waited, they wouldn't be worrying about Helton's 0-2 record, and yet again they never shot for the moon. If they missed, they could have at least been among the stars. Who knows? Maybe we could have seen Art Briles, Les Miles, or Kirby Smart in cardinal and gold next year. Instead, they're stuck with another bland hiring, who will be driven out of the Coliseum if he doesn't take the Trojans to a major bowl game by 2017.

SC better hope I eat these words for Sunday champagne brunch because the Trojans are quickly falling behind traditional powerhouses Bama, the Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma. SC needs to be at their level, such that teams are scared of us again.

Today's message to u guys in life, as what SC has failed to demonstrate: Shoot for the moon, and if u miss u will still be among the stars.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Conquest Chronicles' writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Conquest Chronicles' writers or editors.