Clay Helton avoided the axe after the Trojans went 5-7 last season, much to the chagrin of a good chunk of the fan base. That might not have happened if USC had a more experienced athletic director and a university president in place at the time, but the school's general dysfunction provided Helton a chance to fix the issues with a staff makeover. Most notably, Graham Harrell was brought in as offensive coordinator.
Helton went 21-6 with a Rose Bowl victory and Pac-12 title in his first two full seasons as USC coach, but his job status is one of the stories to follow this season. How many victories will it take for him to keep the gig? Eight? Nine? 10!? Every week will be a referendum on the state of the Trojans, who face maybe the most challenging first six games of any team in the country. And if all that wasn't enough, Urban Meyer will be spending his weekends in Los Angeles this fall as an analyst for Fox.