It's looking more and more like this is going to be one of the more interesting offseasons in college football history.
The USC job came open early Sunday morning when the Trojans dismissed Lane Kiffin after three-and-a-half rather uneventful seasons in the City of Angels; and it's looking more and more like Mack Brown will not make it to the 2014 season at Texas.
With the Trojan job already open, you're going to hear every name on the planet mentioned for the job—several of which are incredibly unrealistic.
The most ridiculous name floated around with the USC job is Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin—and for good reason. Sumlin took over a perennially underachieving program making a transition into the nation's toughest conference and made it a power in literally no time at all.
USC has the worst offense in the Pac-12 (380.4 YPG), and Sumlin has not only produced elite offenses, he's also shown the flexibility to adjust his system to his personnel—which would be a huge plus for a USC program that's still hampered by scholarship restrictions.
When asked about the speculation that he might be a good candidate for the USC job, Sumlin answered in the most responsible way possible.
Sumlin isn't going anywhere.
USC is attractive, no doubt. But he's got a great thing going at Texas A&M. He's leading a program that's differentiating itself from big brother Texas in the state in terms of conference affiliation and success. The Aggies will benefit as more and more young players associate the program with the SEC patch on their jerseys, and they are taking giant leaps forward as the Longhorns continue to spiral downward.
Don't get me wrong, USC is probably going to ask. Why wouldn't it? But Sumlin has a good thing going in College Station. If he goes anywhere, it will be to the pros.
Another hot name on USC's radar should be Boise State's Chris Petersen, whom B/R's Adam Kramer suggested should be the top name for Trojans athletic director Pat Haden. Petersen was listed at 5-1 to get the job, behind only Denver Broncos assistant Jack Del Rio, according to Bovada.lv (via Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times).
A marriage between USC and Petersen would make sense. He's 87-10 at Boise State in his seven-plus years as the Broncos' head coach. But he has turned down several opportunities to stay in Boise State, including one at Stanford after the 2010 season, according to Tom Scott of KTVB-7 in Boise.
Petersen may want a new challenge, according to CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman, which would certainly cause him to give more consideration to a new opportunity. But rebuilding a 3-2 Boise State program that he invested so much sweat equity in is a new challenge, and it's one that he'll embrace.
USC is an upgrade from Boise State, no doubt. He'd make more money, get better players and have a chance at a BCS National Championship.
Since when has that mattered to Petersen, though? USC will ask, but Petersen is Boise State for life.
What about Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian? The head man of the Huskies and former USC assistant is listed at 8-1 by Bovada.
Keep dreaming, USC.
Sark has things cooking at a pretty high level at Washington. Quarterback Keith Price is back to his 2011 form with nine touchdowns and only two picks, and running back Bishop Sankey is creeping into the Heisman discussion after rushing for more than 160 yards in three of Washington's first four games.
“This is an awesome place to be,’’ he said on Monday, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times. “And I have never once and I will never comment on hypothetical scenarios. I know that’s the world a lot of us in this room live in, and that’s your job to do. I understand that. But I’ve never done that in the 4.5 years I’ve been here, and I won’t do that."
Why would he go rebuild somewhere else when he's got this Washington program in the Top 25 and a true contender in tough Pac-12 North? He'll be asked, and there's no doubt he will give it serious consideration. But the time just isn't right, no matter the size of the Brinks truck that USC backs up to his door.
It seems like Alabama head coach Nick Saban is mentioned for every job, even if it's in jest. He's not going to USC, nor is his his defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart—who's listed at 8-1 odds by Bovada.
Smart would be a fantastic hire for USC. He's been leading that Alabama defense since 2008, and he produced a top-five defense nationally in each of those five seasons. There are roster restrictions in L.A., but there are still plenty of solid pieces, including safety Su'a Cravens.
But Smart's roots are in the South. He's a former Georgia player who has been an assistant with the Bulldogs, LSU, Florida State, Valdosta State and now Alabama
Sumlin, Petersen and Smart will all be mentioned in connection with the job, but these guys aren't going anywhere. Del Rio, Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin or Fresno State's Tim DeRuyter?