With only one loss on his record, interim head coach Clay Helton is making his case for the permanent head coaching position, and it seems to get stronger every week. Helton started his campaign with a loss, but that was a well-played game against a team that the AP poll currently lists as the No. 6 team in the country.Since that loss, Helton has gone on to upset the former No. 3 team in the country and add two additional wins against Cal and Arizona. Though the two most recent wins are less impressive than the win over Utah, Cal and Arizona are both teams that started the season off looking like legitimate Pac-12 contenders.If Helton can double his current three-game win streak and close out the season with a win over UCLA, I think he’ll be given fair consideration for the job. He’ll be up against stiff competition, however, as many fans and donors are expecting a big name to be the next head coach.The current situation draws comparisons to two years ago when interim head coach Ed Orgeron caused a lot of excitement and turned the team around but, ultimately, was not named head coach. The decision to go with Sarkisian over Orgeron was controversial, but I agree with Athletic Director Pat Haden’s choice not because I think Sarkisian was the best choice, but more so because Orgeron was not. Orgeron was fueled by raw emotion. He also had a talented roster of players and was able to use the unfortunate circumstances of the season to motivate his team.Helton has a stacked roster as well and certainly isn’t lacking in emotion. He, however, has made the team his own. After the loss to Notre Dame, Helton slowed down the tempo of his game. Sarkisian ran a fast-paced offense designed to run a lot of plays, while Helton has opted to slow things down and increase the Trojans’ time of possession. So far, Helton’s strategy is undefeated.On the field, Helton’s game plan has turned the team around, but it seems the biggest impact has been off the field. Many players have said that Helton has made the team a family and has them playing for more than themselves. Many players have also said they hope to see Helton named the next head coach.Orgeron had the support of the team and the Trojan Family, but lacked the on-the-field success. Orgeron upset No. 4 Stanford but lost to UCLA. If Helton can close out the season with a win over UCLA, he’ll be able to do what Orgeron, and even Sarkisian, couldn’t.Unfortunately for Helton, his predecessor’s departure caused such a controversy that Haden needs to make a splash with his next hire, and Helton might not be enough. There is a lot of speculation that Haden might step down at the end of this season, though, and Helton could potentially benefit from that.I think Helton has certainly earned enough credit to enter the head coaching discussion, and if USC does not hire him, I think he’ll likely be offered a head coaching job at another school. I am rooting for Helton. If he gets an entire offseason to prepare, he’ll give USC a shot at a title, and if not, he’ll make a great head coach at another school.Regan Estes is a junior majoring in public relations and Spanish. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Wild Wild Westes,” runs Tuesdays.
The Daily Orange is a nonprofit newsroom that receives no funding from Syracuse University. Consider donating today to support our mission.Syracuse football opens its season Saturday at North Carolina after an offseason that included only three days of spring practice and players sitting out of multiple August practices. Here’s what our football beat writers predict will happen Saturday in Chapel Hill:Betting line: North Carolina is 22-point favorites over the Orange with a total of 63 points.Anthony DabbundoAdvertisementThis is placeholder textAchilles’ heelNorth Carolina 41, Syracuse 16The Tar Heels are projected to be the third-best team in the 2020 iteration of the ACC, behind only Notre Dame and Clemson. The schedule makers did SU no favors scheduling a road trip against the conference’s second-best quarterback, Sam Howell. The Orange’s new 3-3-5 defense will struggle against a Tar Heels offense that finished second last year’s ACC passing success rate. My real concerns lie with SU’s offense, which will be starting converted fullback and tight end Chris Elmore at left guard and will be without its top two running backs, Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard. Without being able to protect DeVito or run block, the Orange won’t be able to keep up with Howell.Danny EmermanSo there really wasn’t a chanceNorth Carolina 52, Syracuse 24In his press conference leading up to Syracuse’s season opener, Dino Babers quoted the “Dumb and Dumber” line, “So you’re saying there’s a chance?” Just like Mary ultimately rejects Jim Carrey’s character, UNC will take care of Syracuse on Saturday. If Syracuse were to hang with the Tar Heels, they’d need to pressure sophomore phenom quarterback Howell, come up with a few turnovers and ride a career game from DeVito. I actually think Syracuse will be able to move the ball, but the likelihood of all those three things happening are, as Babers said, razor thin. MORE COVERAGE: Opponent Preview: What you need to know about North CarolinaBeat writer Q&A: The Daily Tar Heel’s Ryan Wilcox breaks down Syracuse-UNC Comments Adam HillmanPummeledNorth Carolina 48, Syracuse 10This is not the game for Syracuse to unveil a new defense. With missing pieces all across the roster, a limited offseason to implement schemes on the field and multiple stoppages in practice, SU didn’t have the luxury of a full offseason to completely grasp the nuances of defensive coordinator Tony White’s 3-3-5. On the other side of the ball is UNC, an offense with Heisman-hopeful Howell, star tailbacks Michael Carter and Javonte Williams and two deep threats in Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown. The Tar Heels will score early and often against the Orange, and I don’t expect the SU offense to be able to keep up. Published on September 8, 2020 at 11:45 pm Facebook Twitter Google+