This season, there were two plays that defined the Huskies' season. Without them, UW would be playing for a College Football semifinal berth. Plus, four thoughts on USC's decision to retain Clay Helton.

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Four thoughts on USC’s decision to retain Clay Helton:

1) The Hotline typically judges coaching moves by the reaction they’re likely to generate in football offices across the conference.

If your opponents are worried, that’s a good thing.

Can’t imagine USC’s opponents are concerned. The opposite, in fact. (Especially across town.)

2) One could argue, however, that this was a bad move for the greater state of Pac-12 football.

The conference is better off with USC thriving, just as the Big Ten is better off when Ohio State competes for playoff berths.

Viewing the situation impartially, the Hotline believes the best outcome for the collective would have been for USC to dismiss Helton and hire the No. 1 coach on the market.

In other words: Doing what UCLA did a year ago.

3) In his statement to USC fans, athletic director Lynn Swann cited a preference for stability and noted that Notre Dame faced the same situation following the 2016 season. “That administration remained committed to their head coach,” Swann wrote.

The decision to retain Brian Kelly despite a 4-8 record obviously has paid hefty dividends for the Irish. But Swann’s comparison is deeply flawed.

He gives zero regard to the resumes of the two coaches.

  • Kelly had turned Central Michigan into a nine-game winner, produced three seasons of 10+ victories at Cincinnati and taken Notre Dame to the national championship. Career wins: 231.
  • Helton had never been a head coach until his chaos-fueled promotion three years ago. Career wins: 32.

Swann might prove correct in his decision, but it won’t be because Helton is Kelly’s equal.

4) One number we’ll track carefully next season: Attendance.

The empty seats in the Coliseum this season were almost as glaring as the lack of discipline on the field. The Trojans averaged 55,449 per game, down from 72,683 last year and from 68,459 two years ago.

Another significant drop in ’19, and school will have no choice but to make a change — or so you’d think.