Votes of confidence are in at Auburn, USC, and OSU. Now we wait
Auburn and USC’s ADs have officially said The Right Thing. Urban Meyer has declared he’ll be back. Now, what will happen when the season ends? The 2018 coaching carousel doesn’t look like it’ll spin anywhere near as quickly as the last two years did. But if there are any big jobs to open, the biggest with questions surrounding them are Ohio State, Auburn, and USC. At these bluest of blue bloods the seats that aren’t quite hot yet for Urban Meyer, Gus Malzahn, or Clay Helton, but they are each interesting. Meyer’s situation doesn’t have a ton to do with on-field stuff, though the Buckeyes have indeed struggled for reasons that go back to him. The Zack Smith scandal is a black mark on the program, while Meyer’s health concerns are a factor. For now, Meyer’s vote of confidence is coming from himself. Urban Meyer on retirement rumors: "I plan on coaching."Reporter: "Can you say for sure you'll be back next year at Ohio State?"Meyer: "Yes." pic.twitter.com/dHZ74bwq9j— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) October 29, 2018 Helton and Malzahn are taking their votes of confidence from a much more conventional place: their bosses. USC athletic director Lynn Swann spoke on Clay Helton’s job status: “I believe in him,” Swann said during a segment on Trojans Live. “I like the position that he takes. He is passionate about what he does. He is honest and real in what he wants to accomplish and how he wants to accomplish it. There is no false chatter.” And Auburn’s Allen Greene backed Malzahn: “He’ll be the coach next year, and I’m confident that he’s going to — he’s already proven that we can get through adversity,” Greene said. “Every team has it, and I’m looking forward to working with him for a long time.” While there are cases for making changes, each still has a reasonable argument to stick around. Meyer’s situation is obviously more about whether he wants to stay than about whether his school wants him to stay. His incredible consistency makes a season in which his team will finish 9-3 at the absolute worst look like the program is irreparably broken. Ohio State nearly made the Playoff last year and is still in contention to do so this season. Meyer and Malzahn are among the foremost offensive minds in college football. Malzahn’s work with Auburn’s running game over the years is one reason they’ve been able to compete consistently. Auburn beat both participants in last year’s national championship game and was an SEC title game win from the Playoff. The root of Auburn’s issues start on the offense line after losing three NFL talents, but that is still an issue for an offense that stakes its identity to the running game. The pro-Gus view would mean arguing he can eventually repair this offense. Helton has youth and injuries as plausible excuses for a lack of success. USC didn’t exactly have its quarterback situation settled, but JT Daniels’ injury struggles has thrown that position into disarray. The level of squandered talent at USC is indeed absurd, but if I’m Helton, I’ve already given Swann a pound of flesh. Helton fired offensive line coach Neil Callaway and effectively demoted offensive coordinator Tee Martin by stripping him of play-calling duties. This is interesting. I asked Clay Helton if he would make any big changes and he said not until after the season he would evaluate things. Wow. https://t.co/EhO9uFH0C5— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) October 29, 2018 Last night, Clay Helton said he would evaluate potential changes at the end of the season.Earlier this year, Helton said he meets with AD Lynn Swann on Mondays. Today is Monday, so it's reasonable to consider if the changes were prompted by Swann.— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) October 29, 2018 But after Helton took over, the offense immediately played well against a bad Oregon State team, but holding onto the game after squandering a 21-0 lead is noteworthy for a team that has struggled with consistency. There’s enough to earn another year, if only barely. When you get the vote of confidence from up above, it doesn’t guarantee you stick around for another year. The sport is littered with examples of votes of confidence that didn’t last long.