Is Clay Helton Under Tremendous Pressure Entering the 2021 Season?

Despite the Trojans 5-1 record last year, some believe Helton enters this season in the hot seat.
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CBS Sports released their 'seven college football coaches that are under the most pressure entering the 2021 season' list. Included among the group is Kirby Smart [Georgia], Clay Helton [USC], Lincoln Riley [Oklahoma], Jim Harbaugh [Michigan], Justin Fuente [Virginia Tech], Jeff Brohm [Purdue] and Scott Frost [Nebraska].

CBS contributor Barrett Sallee writes, 

"Helton has been on the hot seat for the last three offseasons, so it should come as no surprise that he finds himself listed here. The Trojans have become an afterthought on the national stage at best, a laughing stock at worst. But here's the thing -- an argument can be made that they shouldn't be thought of in that manner. Remember, USC entered championship weekend last year with an unblemished record before losing to Oregon, which actually finished second in the Pac-12 North.

That has put pressure on Helton two-fold. His program's continued struggles are some of the primary reasons that the Pac-12 has become a joke, which is exactly why that unblemished record was ignored by the majority of the country. Helton also needs to win the keep his job. The definition of "big" is different than it is for coaches who lead down-trodden programs. For Helton, it is contending for the CFP in November."

Now it's no secret that many Trojan fans have been frustrated over the past couple of years by the trajectory of the program; but lets not forget Helton was 5-1 in 2020, 8-5 in 2019, 5-7 in 2018, 11-3 in 2017, 10-3 in 2016, 5-4 in 2015, and 1-0 in 2013.

Helton is the only coach from the Pac-12 conference to grace CBS Sports list. There is no doubt that improvements can be made on both sides of the ball, but the Trojans have the rest of spring camp and the offseason to try and become a CFP worthy team once again. 

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