Power Five teams are always leaning into the Top 25 polls. They covet that top 10 ranking pre-season as that helps with the recruiting message but when you are always being hyped year after year and never quite get there well that takes you to a new level of trust in the eyes of those who set those rankings.
USC is not relevant under Clay Helton's leadership. Why? He won that great Rose Bowl he seems to be loved by all of the players and obviously the AD is 100% supportive of his winning the south. This is a bigger problem. AD Bohn sets the bar for Clay Helton to win the South. Forget what he says in his tweets and public interviews. His short term record clearly shows he's ok with the product on the field under Clay.
Clay grabbed the brass ring while an assistant at USC. He was kind of around and he happened to be next to what everyone believed was the crown jewels of what the team had a QB. Well, that wasn't entirely untrue but trace his leadership steps. Max Brown, love this kid and if anyone paid their dues it was Max. But in his first spring and fall camps, Clay let us all know that the best player in practice isn't his guy. Max was not the top QB in the pre-season of his last year with USC. It was someone else and many saw it in the pre-season. Clay set his bar on Faith-Family-Football. Football being 3rd in his view of priorities. Nothing wrong with this if all you want to do is compete in the worst division within the worst conference of the Power 5 schools. Setting the bar with Clay is all about happy gas. Spinmaster of all time in fact if there was an old-fashioned circus coming to town he would be in the front of the line to be the MC.
USC needs a staff that is lead by a visionary who can execute. The Bar should be set at winning the National Championship. Not making the playoffs that's Notre Dame today. Notre Dame gets to the dance, write or wrongly, and loses. Winning the National Championship starts in the HC office finds its way to the practice field. Physicality is defined in every practice and the next man up gets up aggressively. This is still a contact sport. Pads every practice. Every position is up for grabs every day. No complacency.