7 possible candidates who have been linked to USC coaching job in reports and rumors

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By , Audacy Sports

The head coaching carousel doesn't typically begin spinning in mid-September, but the first domino fell on Monday, when USC fired Clay Helton just two games into the season after five-plus years at the helm.

Helton's exit will have a big impact on the hiring landscape, with USC remaining a coveted position within the coaching ranks. Already, media reports are surfacing about who will succeed Helton, while speculation on social media has produced at least a couple of its own candidates.

Here's a look at some of the names that have surfaced in the early going after the big shakeup.

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Luck Fickell, head coach, Cincinnati Bearcats

The job will be Fickell's if he wants it, according to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. Now in his fifth year with Cincinnati -- where he was hired by former AD Mike Bohn, who is now USC's AD -- Fickell has built the team into a powerhouse in The American Conference. He was previously the longtime defensive coordinator with Ohio State, where he coached under both Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer.

Bob Stoops, former head coach, Oklahoma Sooners

Stoops could be "waiting in the wings" if things don't work out with Fickell, per Dodd. Stoops had a brief stint in the XFL before it was shuttered last year, but has otherwise been relegated to TV work since departing from Oklahoma after 2016. He won 10 or more games in 14 of his 18 years in Norman.

Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator, Kansas City Cheifs

Seemingly a perennial runner-up for head coaching gigs in the NFL, perhaps Bieniemy will make an end-around the waiting game by returning to the college ranks. Like Fickell, Bieniemy has ties to Bohn, according to J. Brady McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. Bohn hired Bieniemy as an assistant at Colorado back in 2010, McCullough reported.

Urban Meyer, head coach, Jacksonville Jaguars

We can thank social media for this idea, which is