College football’s coaching carousel has begun to spin, and USC, right now, is all anyone is talking about. Trojans AD Pat Haden, perhaps looking to make a move before Texas can find their coach to replace Mack Brown – no way he’s back … right? – has been rejected by Boise State’s Chris Petersen (again). This shouldn’t surprise anyone, except maybe delusional USC fans. If you’re keeping score at home, Petersen has said no to USC twice in the last four years, and he turned down UCLA, too.
Right now, all signs point to Washington’s Steve Sarkisian being the leader in this fluid situation. I’ve been on the Sark train since September, when I first heard his name pop up. USC fans on twitter told me no thanks, and after the Huskies went through a 3-game losing streak, Huskies fans ripped Sark as overrated. It’s strange – Huskies fans don’t seem enamored with Sarkisian, even though he’s turned an 0-11 team in 2008 around over the last five years, and gone to four bowl games (including this year). Sure, he’s only gone 5-4 over the last four years in conference play – in one could argue the 2nd best league in college football – but on offense, he’s improved the Huskies from 117th overall in 2008 to 8th this season.
ESPN reported that Sarkisian interviewed for the job; he told a radio station this morning he didn’t, but he ‘talked‘ to them. Ok!
There’s some debate over Vanderbilt’s James Franklin. ESPN seems to think he’s the frontrunner. Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports says that is interest is being overstated. (We can discuss whether or not anyone in the SEC would leave for the USC job another day. Other than Lane Kiffin, coaches rarely leave the SEC and take a job somewhere else in the country. And Urban Meyer took time off, so that doesn’t count.). While I like Franklin a lot, he’s building something impressive (and historic) at Vanderbilt. Would he leave that to go across the country?
There’s a report from Rumors & Rants that Kevin Sumlin wanted the job badly, but while USC did research and took its time, Sumlin decided to pull his name out of the search. He has agreed to a new 6-year deal with A&M, but let’s see how ironclad that is come January when the NFL comes calling. A Sumlin-Rex Ryan pairing has major potential somewhere, perhaps Houston.
Here’s the most interesting question: What happens if the Trojans sour on Sark, and don’t make an offer … or he turns them down? Then what? Do they circle back to Jack Del Rio? Or do they just say, ‘ok, Ed, the job is yours?’
Related: Ed Orgeron: USC Should Not Make Him First Choice, But He Could Be an Appealing Backup Plan
Related: Javorius Allen of USC Dropped the Ball Before Crossing Goal Line, TD Still Counted
Related: Steve Sarkisian’s New Assistants Could Propel Washington to Pac 12 Elite