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USC Football: A lot is on the line for the Trojans against UCLA.

With the USC Trojans sitting at 5-5 and eliminated from the Pac-12 South, Their season now hangs in the balance of the Crosstown Rivalry.

NCAA Football: California at Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of the season, many believed that USC would come into their game with UCLA as Pac-12 South champs and an the opportunity to win the Pac-12 Championship and play in the Rose Bowl Game. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. Instead the Trojans are fight for bowl eligibility and for USC head coach fighting for his job.

USC coming into the crosstown rivalry with a 5-5 overall record, eliminated from the Pac-12 south race, and left with more questions than answers. The team is facing the worst case scenario for the season. A loss could give the Trojans a losing record in conference which will be the worst since 2000 and putting their Bowl fate into the final game against a Notre Dame team that will be playing for the College Football Playoff opportunity. Not to mention ultimate bragging rights for UCLA who has only 2 wins under new head coach Chip Kelly.

How did it come to this point? It’s fair to say multiple things led to the Trojans being 5-5. Simple way to put it USC just didn’t get better as the season went. They actually got worse. No adjustments were really made, failing to put teams away, failing to execute, poor offensive line play, and injuries contributed to what USC is right now. Just a laundry list of things that showed it’s ugly head all season. This season USC gave up unanswered scoring runs against Texas, Utah, and Cal. All which came after the Trojans led by two scores.

This week USC has a lot on the line. No only are they trying to reach bowl eligibility, but they’re trying to keep from hitting another low by losing the crosstown rivalry to a 2-8 UCLA Bruins team. Now it’s not just the players that have a lot on the line, head coach Clay Helton could have a lot riding on this week as well.

It’s safe to say that Helton’s hot seat has grown week after week as the team continues to hit low after low this season. Last week against Cal has only made his seat heat up after he made the changes to try and help the offense before the Oregon State game. USC went up 14-0 in the 2nd quarter and didn’t score after that. As mentioned earlier the Trojans failed to make adjustments and didn’t show very little means of improvement this season. As a result USC are at the current stage they are. As head coach at USC Helton went from 10-11 win seasons, a Rose Bowl victory, and Pac-12 Championship in his first two years to now fighting to just reach a bowl game. A steep drop in performance and production regardless of the situation.

Following Tuesday’s practice Helton addressed the talk of his job security at USC. He stated that he expects to be the head coach for the Trojans next season and for 15 more years at that. Helton also states that athletic director Lynn Swann has confidence in him as well, something that Swann stated before last week’s Cal game on the Trojan live show. Helton wasn’t the only one to speak about his future. Both quarterback JT Daniels and Wide receiver Michael Pittman came to the defense of their head coach following Tuesday's practice.

Saturday will key for the Trojans. Not only are they playing for the Victory Bell and bragging rights. They’re playing to avoid their first losing record in conference since 2000 and the potential future of their head coach. Yes Helton believes he’ll be at USC for 15 years, however if USC fails to really perform these next two games then he might not make it to next season.


Will Clay Helton be USC’s head coach in 2019?

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