The USC Trojans fired Clay Helton after a 42-28 loss against Stanford last Saturday and they installed associate head coach Donte Williams as interim head coach. As soon as Helton was axed, rumors swirled that Urban Meyer would join USC next season even though he’s currently the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL.

Urban Meyer head coach USC Clay Helton fired
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer toots his whistle prior to the Jags game against the Houston Texans, but he insists he’s not interested in the USC job. (Image: Sam Craft/AP)

Williams becomes the first black head coach in USC history.

“You’re really going to enjoy Donte Williams,” said USC athletic director Mike Bohn. “I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do. Everything is in front of us as far as our aspirations to win the league still.”

Helton took over in 2013 after Steve Sarkisian was fired. In the wake of a scandal, Helton was vaunted as a good guy that can help clean up a shady program. Helton led USC to a 10-3 record in 2016 and a victory in the Rose Bowl to finish with a #3 ranking. In 2017, USC went 11-3 but lost in the Cotton Bowl and ended the season with a #12 ranking. During a pandemic-shortened 2020 season, USC went 5-1 and 5-0 in the Pac-12 to finish with a #21 ranking.

Meyer Goes to Hollywood?

Helton had been on the hot seat the last few seasons, but school officials finally canned him. If he’s clearly not the guy, the AD should’ve fired Helton in the offseason and perhaps Meyer would’ve taken the USC job instead of heading to Jacksonville to coach the Jaguars.

Meyer lost his first game as an NFL coach when the Jaguars were crushed by the Houston Texans in Week 1. Many pundits thought it was strange that Meyer would eschew the collegiate ranks for a tougher job in the pros, but Meyer indicated that wanted a chance to coach Trevor Lawrence and build a championship-caliber team from scratch. However, the reality is that he has a huge task ahead of him with the lowly Jaguars to turn around one a losing franchise.

On the other hand, Meyer at the helm at USC is exactly what the school and the Pac-12 desperately need. Perhaps when the Jaguars are 1-8 mid-season, Meyer will reconsider his choice to coach in the NFL.

USC has fallen off the radar in the last decade along with the Pac-12. The Pac-12 was once considered a top power conference with its best team in the hunt for a national championship, but it’s been several years since a Pac-12 programs was considered one of the elite teams in the country as the balance of power has disproportionally tipped toward the SEC.

Prior to the start of the NFL season, Meyer was the third-highest favorite to win the NFL Coach of the Year at +1400 odds, according to a prop bet from DraftKings. His odds dipped after a Week 1 loss and Meyer is now +2500 odds to snag the COY award.