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Trojan Tidbits, 11/16: James Franklin to USC?

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Despite sitting at 2-0, the James Franklin to USC rumors heat up

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the USC Trojans sitting at 2-0 through two weeks of the shortened Pac-12 Football season, it seems strange that rumors of a head-coaching change may be heating up, but that’s just what has been started over by the Associated Press.

Just as recently as 24 hours after the final whistle blew of USC’s 34-30 victory over the Arizona Wildcats, the AP posted their Top 25 Rankings. With that also came their Top 25 Takeaways and it seems that the AP isn’t ready to give USC any leeway in their No. 20-ranked spot.

For the second straight week, USC needed a late-scoring drive to win. Last week it took a small miracle for the Trojans to beat Arizona State. This week they pulled one out against an Arizona team picked to finish last in the Pac-12.

True, but the full scope of the matter is, preseason projections are just that: projections. That Arizona team is not the worst team in the Pac-12 and Arizona State had a perfect game plan for the USC offense. It’s easy to write a story utilizing just blanketed team projections, but it’s a complete other thing to actually watch and study the games and teams within the games.

Herm Edwards is a defensive genius and a terrific recruiter. Kevin Sumlin has recruited an immense amount of talent with a future NFL draft pick at quarterback. It’s easy to look at it and say ‘USC needed miracles to get to 2-0’ but it’s even better to actually understand just how this team is 2-0 and why it’s possible that they very well should and could finish 6-0 and facing an outstanding Oregon team come December.

More on that later — but the pressing issue is this: James Franklin had led Penn State to a 0-4 record after starting out the season as the No. 7 ranked team in the country.

But again, with so much to do about this season, star players both opting out in Micah Parsons’ case and being forced to medically retire in Journey Brown’s case, the Penn State team that Franklin has is still talented in their own right and should also be considered favorites to win just about most of their games on their schedule.

The fact that he is 56-27 in his career at Penn State and Helton is sitting at 2-0 this season with a top-, nationally-ranked recruiting class coming in next year just seems silly to suggest a coaching change should be in the works.

I know patience is limited here at USC but there’s patience-building practices that are being put in place by Helton and by all accounts, it could get even better this year and the next. If you’re just going to suggest that looking at preseason projections for opponent-based strength and blindly suggest a coaching change should be made, then maybe you should just blindly look at the record for USC, even if they had to have late-minute comebacks to win in both of their wins.

And we didn’t even get started on the amount of money it would cost USC to make a coaching change FROM Helton and then TO Franklin.

I don’t have time for that.

Here’s the full story — and the rest of your daily links based on your USC Trojans:

Is time right for USC to hire Franklin? | AP

Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush argue with Brady Quinn about USC, ND | 247

No. 20 USC shows off resiliency yet again, rallies past Arizona | ESPN

Will Utah be able to play USC? Clay Helton stays optimistic | LA Times

There’s a chance USC could face Colorado instead of Utah this week | Reign of Troy

Oregon, USC not good enough (yet) while Stanford fumes and Colorado rises | Mercury News

Covid-19 questions loom over USC football’s scheduled game with Utah | OCRegister

Five overreactions to USC’s win over Arizona | Reign of Troy