It came as no surprise that USC took drastic measures regarding their coaching situation this past weekend. We speculated right here on these OKTC pages Lane Kiffin should keep his resume ready given the inevitable storm that was bound to strike before the season ended. I’m not sure if it was the 10-7 home loss to Washington St or the complete defensive meltdown against Arizona St that sealed his fate. For athletic director Pat Haden to go to the team’s plane and fire the 28-15 head coach on the tarmac, there was a clear indication a change was needed. In response to the opening of a premier job in the college football ranks, we’ve established odds on which coach we believe will be leading the Trojans in 2014.
Chris Petersen (Boise St): -150
Petersen becomes the logical choice given he’s accomplished everything he theoretically can as head coach at Boise St. The opportunity to win the national championship, which he’ll never accomplish at Boise, will drive Petersen to seek employment away from the smurf turf. I won’t attribute Boise’s struggles this year to his coaching however Petersen now runs the risk of staying in one place too long and missing his window of opportunity to take the next step. Petersen has declined other big time offers citing family concerns in the past so it will be interesting to see if he’s lured to the glamor of southern California with a big time pay day looming at USC, something that didn’t compel him to take over at UCLA. For me, this would be a slam dunk hire to get USC back on track in the post Pete Carroll era.
Jack Del Rio (Denver Broncos): +300
Currently on the Denver Broncos coaching staff, Del Rio’s NFL pedigree and USC connections make him a hot name. I hate to make comparisons but haven’t we seen this before with NFL guys going back to college to mentor and mold young kids with limited success? While he definitely appears to be picking up momentum as a candidate because of his university ties, I wouldn’t be sold on him to build the program back to lofty heights. However, his odds here have to remain short given the current buzz although I think going in this direction would be a major mistake.
Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern): +400
The undersized middle linebacker, who made himself a name along the shores of Lake Michigan, is turning into a hotter commodity by the day. Fitzgerald was brought in at his alma mater to change the culture and he’s done just that by turning Northwestern into a real threat to win the conference this season. The simple fact he’s been able to win with such rigorous academic standards speaks volumes about his coaching acumen. The main question here regarding Fitzgerald as a potential candidate surrounds his willingness to leave the security and comfort of home for a more difficult conference and new recruiting in-roads.
James Franklin (Vanderbilt): +450
I know what Vanderbilt fans are thinking; not our guy! My better question here isn’t why USC but rather when Franklin will leave for a higher profile coaching position. Of course running the Commodores program isn’t akin to the mid-major status facing Chris Petersen at Boise but I don’t see a national championship coming to Nashville anytime soon either. Franklin has guided a much-maligned SEC doormat to new heights and any rational college football fan should anticipate him looking to strike while the iron’s hot rather than waiting for a string of .500 seasons limiting his upside
Steve Sarkisian (Washington): +800
Sarkisian is building a program in Seattle and now has the facilities to keep it going. Can he turn Washington back into a perennial college football power? I’ll contend this is his best team yet and upcoming games against Stanford and Oregon will determine how lofty a height they can reach in 2013. More importantly Keith Price along with a host of other talent graduates after this season meaning a full rebuild could be in store. What better way to take the next step than by heading south down I-5 to take the reigns of the premier program in the entire conference…if USC wants one of their old coaches back on campus. The major factor keeping his price here is Sarkisian remains connected to Pete Carrol and that fallout from those years still doesn’t sit well with Pat Haden
Mike Riley (Oregon St): +1000
Riley deserves a lifetime achievement award for what’s been accomplished in Corvallis. He’s consistently coached up the 3* and 4* recruits lured to Beaver country, getting more bang for his buck than any coach on the entire west coast. I think you’d have to wonder if he was running a bigger program the kind of heights he’d be able to realize. Knowing the landscape and what it takes to win in the Pac12 will only help his cause if USC sees him as a viable candidate.
Art Briles (Baylor): +1500
The reason I have Briles with longer odds than most on this list is because I really believe he becomes the next head coach at Texas assuming the Horns make a change at the end of this year. There’s not a more talented offensive mind in the country that would bring back the sizzle to USC football. Art has established himself as a man with strong Texas ties and I really believe that’s where he’ll end up staying in some capacity but don’t be surprised if USC kicks the tires on this offensive mastermind. Hell, they’d be stupid not to.
Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M): +1800
Speaking of Texas, Sumlin’s name being included on the list doesn’t make sense to me at all but there have been numerous stories linking him to the job. If you’re Sumlin, why leave Texas A&M for USC instead of waiting on a NFL head coaching gig? Sure Johnny Manziel’s development has come hand in hand with Sumlin’s meteoric rise as a hot name but it’s not like he wasn’t accomplishing similar things at Houston with lesser talent at the QB position. I think Kevin can win anywhere, it just doesn’t make sense here considering Aggies boosters will spend whatever it takes to keep him in College Station if money becomes the determining factor.
Chip Kelly (Philadelphia Eagles): +2500
And it starts! I didn’t think we’d get here although amid the struggles of the Philadelphia Eagles, we should have known this chatter was inevitable. There are a few problems with this hire for me with the first being USC would need to suspend Kelly for the remaining show cause penalty he faced while in Eugene. Secondly, is this the route you want to go, bringing on a coach with, well a checkered past as far as the NCAA is concerned? No one argues with Chip’s ability to coach offense going back to his days at New Hampshire but given USC’s ever present reminder of past transgressions I’d be hard pressed to see this as the direction they chose to go in with other suitable options.
Bobby Petrino (Western Kentucky): +3000
Wouldn’t this be awesome…Coach Petrino could even start signing endorsement deals for adult entertainment videos before he moved west. Another coach that has offensive pedigree and a college track record making him an intriguing hire if the ethics board can get past some of the off field issues that plagued him in the past. My gut tells me Petrino will be back at a big time program soon; it will just have a SEC address instead of a So Cal zip one.
Tim DeRuyter (Fresno St): +4000
Clearly a long shot but a guy who would take the job if offered I have to presume. At 50, he’s not exactly a spring chicken nor would he infuse the program with a young vibe but in his limited stint at Fresno, replacing a legend in Pat Hill, he’s shown great promise. The major deterrent here is I just don’t see this as a sexy enough hire to energize the USC fan base.
Todd Graham (Arizona St): +5000
It’s his dream job! Besides, he’s been in Tempe too long and we know Todd Graham hates staying in the same place for more than 2 years.
Jim Tressel (Ohio St): +6500
DO they allow sweater vests on Rodeo Drive? Tressel is the ultimate calming influence to combat the outside distractions of life in LA. What I wouldn’t give to see Tressel against Urban Meyer in a Rose Bowl with the Pac 12 representative trying to grind down the clock…with a 7-0 lead in the 1st quarter.
Ed Orgeron (USC Interim): +10000
Out of respect he’ll get considered…not because he has a chance to actually take over the program.
BCS futures courtesy of the LVH
TEXAS A&M 100
OHIO ST 4
SOUTH CAROLINA 100
OKLAHOMA ST 100
NOTRE DAME 9999
FLORIDA ST 12
OREGON ST 9999
ARIZONA ST 1000
VIRGINIA TECH 500
TEXAS TECH 500
BOISE ST 9999
MICHIGAN ST 9999
NORTH CAROLINA 9999
FRESNO ST 500
OLE MISS 500
NORTH CAROLINA ST 9999
KANSAS ST 9999
GEORGIA TECH 9999
MISSISSIPPI ST 9999
WEST VIRGINIA 9999