Now that Lane Kiffin is gone, let’s take a look at who should be the next Trojans head coach. I purposely left out Jack Del Rio since I think he should be about the 9th choice. Time to dive in.
5) Steve Sarkisian, HC Washington. There is a double edged sword when it comes to Coach Sark and the Trojans. Yes, he knows the program having taken over as offensive coordinator in 2007 after Lane Kiffin left for Oakland. But Pat Haden could want a clean break from the Carroll era, plus Sark and Kiffin are friends. Sarkisian has had some success at Washington after starting off 5-7. He has three straight 7-6 records and a bowl win. I don’t think he is quite ready for this job now when the Trojans need a home run hire.
4) Chris Petersen, HC Boise State. During his time at Boise, Petersen is 87-10. He is known as a great play-caller that has enough creativity to inject life into the Trojans offense. He is a California native for what it’s worth and would likely satisfy USC’s need for a big name. The bad news is that he allegedly turned down $3 million/year from UCLA and cancelled a trip to Wisconsin last year to interview for their job. The unknown factor though is whether or not the impending playoff system that will hurt smaller schools is enough of a factor to get him to jump ship.
3) Pat Fitzgerald, HC Northwestern. Fitzgerald is a persistent recruiter, a great leader, and great X’s and O’s coach. Being 50-39 at Northwestern is not an easy feat either. Coming off the school’s first 10 win season since 1995, he has the program heading in the right direction. The only problem is: have they peaked? It will be difficult for the Wildcats to consistently win in the Big Ten and if Penn State and Nebraska get their act together, it’s impossible to win a national championship there. Pat played LB at Northwestern so it may be difficult to get him to leave Evanston,especially after recently signing a 10 year contract.
2) James Franklin, HC Vanderbilt. If I told USC fans to get excited about a coach that has an 15-11 record as a head coach they would laugh in my face. If I told them that coach was at Vanderbilt, you might listen. Coming off a 9-4 record and a bowl win, the buzz have never been higher around the Vanderbilt program and its coach. Franklin is a very good coach and recruiter who would thrive in So Cal. If I were his agent I would strongly suggest he look at this job or another that opens because it’s never going to get better than this for him at Vandy.
1) Kevin Sumlin, HC Texas A&M. Let’s be honest for a second. USC is a top 5 job in the country and they should have a coach that reflects that. Kevin Sumlin fits the bill. He has 3 10-win seasons on his resume and will get number 4 this year. His offense is actually current and racking up yards. He has energized a Texas A&M program that has been largely average for its existence. Once Johnny Manziel leaves after this season and Texas hires the right coach, A&M could take a hit. Most people believe that he could coach in the NFL. It’s time for him to make a jump to California’s pro team, the USC Trojans.