3. Clay Helton: USC – Winner (mostly)
Say what you want about the Pac-12 and the conference as a whole, but they certainly know how to make football games interesting. Washington State and USC have this thing going where they play wild Friday night games and this one lived up to the billing.
The heat has been on Clay Helton for his program to perform up to standard and he got a much-needed victory on Friday night. They had to grind it out and at many times it felt like Washington State might run away with it.
In the end, a block field goal saved the day for Helton. While some programs would gladly accept back-to-back trips to the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl there are a number of issues that need to be shored up, and having a freshman quarterback, JT Daniels is not even close to being one.
Helton’s hot seat doesn’t go away with this one victory, after all, USC’s standards are much higher than eking out wins against Washington State, but it allows the Trojans to pick up a conference win and plenty of momentum heading into next week’s Pac-12 South showdown with Arizona.
The Pac-12 South is one of the weakest divisions in college football. Helton has to succeed here at all costs. For now, he’s a winner and can breathe easy for another week.