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The hot seats at USC and UCLA

Clay Helton and Chip Kelly are on the hot seat

USC v UCLA Photo by Keith Birmingham/Digital First Media/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The amount of stress that happens when you run a college football program is immense. When that program is in the second biggest media market the stress is on steroids. For Chip Kelly and Clay Helton the heat that these two coaches are currently has to be insane.

Both UCLA and USC are mired in mediocrity right now to put it mildly.

For UCLA’s Chip Kelly things have not gone well since he came to Westwood in a much ballyhooed hiring. Any UCLA fan is going to tell you that they are losing confidence with what Chip Kelly is trying to do.

I also believe the athletic administration is starting to have doubts with Coach Kelly.

With wins coming sparingly for the Bruins and an offense that seems lost Chip Kelly is starting to hear the whispers of fans, media, and just maybe of his bosses being frustrated. UCLA spent a massive amount of money to bring Chip Kelly into the fold in Westwood.

Oklahoma v. UCLA Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

Are the Bruins get a return on investment right now?

Certainly not.

When you say the name Chip Kelly your mind automatically thinks Oregon Ducks. It also thinks of a college football offense that goes at light speed. A real flashy offense that brings in talented recruits and puts your football program on the map. An offense that makes your program a destination spot for recruits.

Recruits, the backbone of any football program, are not coming to UCLA. With all of that talent right there in Los Angeles Chip Kelly and his staff are simply missing out with turning around the Bruin program.

There is nothing flashy about the Bruin program.

Chip Kelly is a stubborn coach. He’s going to do certain things while he runs a football program and he’s not going to do certain things as he runs his program.

Coach Kelly is not a handshaking, kiss the babies, or schmooze with the alumni type of guy. He doesn’t enjoy that part of football. Kelly really despises that part in my opinion. For Kelly, he’s just there to coach football.

That may be the case for Chip, but the reality dictates that Coach Kelly needs to do some public relations from time to time to keep “everybody” happy within the Bruin program. One of the big complaints of Chip Kelly at Oregon was this aloofness with the alumni and administration.

It appears that this is happening again at UCLA as it did at Oregon. The only difference for Chip Kelly is that he’s not winning.

Can Chip get fired after only a year and a half?

Yes, he can.

Will Coach Kelly get fired?

I believe it’s only a matter of time for Chip.

Clay Helton

USC football is a blue blood in college football. The last few years the Trojan football program has not acted like a blue blood. For some alumni, fans, and media one of the culprits for USC’s decline is head coach Clay Helton.

When Helton was hired he had a pretty good idea of what he was stepping into with the Trojan football program. Helton was an assistant in the USC for a while before he was named the head coach. Coach Helton knew the pressure he was getting himself into.

Was Helton the big name drop the USC fans and alumni are used to?

No, but he came with the backing of the players in the program at the time. He added some stability to a football program that had to deal with Lane Kiffin being fired on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport and then personal issues that Steve Sarkisian had.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

To Helton’s credit he went 21-6 in his first two years at USC. With apologies to Janet Jackson, major college football is all about what have you done for me lately.

For USC, 2018 was a lost season. 2019 is still up in the air.

Many coaches within the Pac-12 Conference would admit that that the Trojans have the best talent on their roster. However, it’s the coaches responsibility to get that talent to perform.

The Trojans started off 2-0 this season, but they looked less than impressive against Fresno State in the season opener. USC did get a home win against a depleted Stanford team.

That shaky start didn’t quiet the talk that Helton should be or is on the hot seat in the land of Troy.

The talk to fire Coach Helton was raised to a yell last week as the Trojans lost on the road at Brigham Young.

The great game that freshman quarterback, Kedon Slovis, had against Stanford was a distant memory as he threw three interceptions against BYU. Having an up and down type of season will not help Clay Helton save his job and he knows that.

Any head coach wants consistency. Helton needs that in bundles right now.

The other part of this is that Coach Helton is always looked at as a coach that is holding the moniker of head coach only until a bigger name comes along. Well, that bigger name lives in Los Angeles now. This bigger name also has a huge winning pedigree.

Former Ohio State head coach, Urban Meyer, is that bigger name. As soon as Meyer took the college football analyst job at Fox Sports many Trojan fans started speculating how long it would be until USC made a crazy money run at Meyer.

It has not happened. Yet.

After the next three games for USC the clamoring to fire Clay Helton could reach a fever pitch. USC has a huge game at home on Friday against Utah. After the Utah game, the Trojans go on the road for games at Washington and Notre Dame.

The season could go from shaky to down right out of control in a matter of weeks for Clay Helton. If the Trojans come out of this stretch of games 0-3 it could be game over Coach Helton.

Final thought

I do not like seeing anybody fired from their job, but the coaching business is a tough business. Coaches are hired to be fired. It is just the way it works. Clay Helton and Chip Kelly are fully aware of the predicaments that they find themselves under right now. It will be interesting to see if the hot seats they are sitting on right now end up burning them in the end.