Sportsbooks Posting Odds on Helton’s Replacement at USC

USC Trojan Background

  • Oddsmakers Show Familiar Names in Line for USC post
  • Cincy’s Fickell, Penn State’s Franklin Posting Best Numbers
  • Could Trojans Take a Trip Down Memory Lane?

With the firing of Clay Helton in a high-profile job such as USC, online sportsbooks are already casting odds on who will be the Trojans’ next head coach.

According to oddsmakers, there is a plethora of names already making their way through the football world as Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell (+600) and Penn State head coach James Franklin (+600) are tied atop the leaderboard.

Fickell was hired by USC AD Mike Bohn when he was the athletic director at Cincinnati, so there is an immediate attraction for oddsmakers. Fickell’s background in steep in his home state of Ohio where he played for the Buckeyes and then coached at Ohio State as an assistant for 14 years may make this move dicy. All he has done with the Bearcats is turn them into a national power as they have gone 33-6 over the last three years and two games.

Franklin’s name is always coming up for a job opening, or a potential job opening as well saw with the potential opening at Michigan last season when speculation was that Jim Harbaugh would be fired.

Please Note:
Franklin did not dismiss the Trojans on Wednesday, but he spoke of how he hated those distractions of his name being bounced about for vacancies and, of course, vowed to keep on the task of preparing for the Top 25 Showdown with Auburn on Saturday night.

Helton finished 46-24 as he led USC to a Pac-12 Championship and a Rose Bowl victory in six full seasons as the USC coach. The next person in line had better have the panacea for getting Troy into the BCS Playoffs, or the ax is certain for fall once again.

On the Set

Former Boise State and Washington head coach Chris Petersen and former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops are cozy on the Fox Sports Big Noon Kickoff set — for now. However, both names are in the crosshairs of sportsbooks.

Petersen (+700) has coaching ties to the Los Angeles area:
But he is reportedly not interested in getting back into the bright lights of a premiere college football gig.  In 2013, he addressed the USC position where opinion is divided on the interest of the USC brass at the time or Petersen’s personal interests.

Stoops (+800) is in retirement and doesn’t show any signs of wanting to reverse field and coach.

Rising Stars

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell (+1000) and Minnesota’s PJ Fleck (+1000) are receiving plenty of attention from sportsbooks as the successor to Helton.

Both coaches are like Fickell and have staunch coaching ties in the midwest.

Campbell has built Iowa State into a perennial Big 12 contender and has established quite a reputation inside the game as he flipped the football program in his second season.

Fleck orchestrated a turnaround at Western Michigan where he took the Broncos to a 13-0 record and the Cotton Bowl where WMU eventually lost to Wisconsin, although he was off to Minnesota when that game was finally played. He has brought the Gophers into immediate respectability with an 11-2 record in his third season and a win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl two years ago.

Please Note:
Oregon’s Mario Cristobal (+1500) and TCU’s Gary Patterson (+1800) are other college head coaches who are attracting some bettors.

Clemson offensive coordinator and associate head coach Tony Elliott (+2000) is one of the next assistant coaches to be on the rise to a high major program.

NFL Attention

It’s probably less likely that former Houston Texans head coach and current Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien (+1100) or former Ohio State head coach and current Jacksonville Jaguars boss Urban Meyer (+1200) would take the job.

Meyer’s two national championships at Florida and his run with the Buckeyes are legendary as he went 83-9 and led OSU to a national championship. Meyer had responded to the rumors on Wednesday that there was “no chance” that he would leave the Jaguars for USC.

O’Brien, on the other hand, went with Nick Saban as Alabama’s offensive coordinator and could be more of a prospect if there is interest from Bohn. Saban has been known as a coach who takes in others in the profession and gives them a chance to reboot and move forward once again.

Memory Lane

Maybe the most ironic twist of the entire USC search is the appearance of former USC head coach and current Ole Miss boss Lane Kiffin (+3000) appearing on odds boards.

Lest ye forget:
Kiffin led the Trojans for three seasons where he took them to a 10-2 record in 2011, and two years later, he was fired on the tarmac at LAX by then AD Pat Haden after the Trojans lost their fifth game of his fourth season after a loss at Arizona State.

Trojans Favored Over Cougars on Saturday

Southern Cal opened as a 9.5-point favorite over Washington State on Saturday in Pullman as the line is at (-10) on some odds boards but is as low as (-8) on others.

With Helton’s firing and Donte Williams taking over the program for Week 3, the transitioning in the season is the reason the USC has fallen to a consistent 8.5-point favorite with many oddsmakers. The OVER/UNDER has 62.5 points with the UNDER taking (-115) odds with the OVER sitting at (-105).

The Trojans are giving (-335) on the moneyline, with Washington State getting (+280).

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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.

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