When you think of college football in the past decade, your mind jumps to one of two different things.
First, you may think of the SEC varsity reign over the JV of the Division 1 FBS. Second, you remember the absolute dominance and dynasty of one program: The University of Southern California Trojans.
Six BCS appearances and five victories, three in the Rose Bowl, two in the Orange Bowl.
Two BCS National Championships.
Three Heisman Trophy winners.
The reason all of this was possible was due to Peter Clay Carroll.
So let me ask you this.
Why would anyone sitting at the helm of one college football's most-feared units leave beautiful Southern California, with one of the best young quarterbacks in the game and a plethora of recruits at your fingertips, to move up to Seattle and coach the lonely Seattle Seahawks?
There has to be something more to this blockbuster story.
It's no secret that USC is the center of NCAA controversy.
Starting in April 2006, Reggie Bush, the YouTube.com sensation who swept the nation, was under investigations involving $300,000 worth of benefits given to Mr. Bush and his family during his sophomore and junior seasons at USC by a marketing company.
Today, that investigation is being coupled with allegations against USC basketball player O.J. Mayo for similar circumstances.
While Mayo has little to do with Pete Carroll, it is safe to say that USC now has a target on its back, and the NCAA isn't likely to stop prying for years to come.
As if matters couldn't be made much worse, this past December brought yet another controversy to Los Angeles.
Star running back Joe McKnight was seen driving around in a 2006 Land Rover registered to a Santa Monica businessman. While both parties seem to have a lovely cover up involving McKnight's girlfriend and University of Washington fanhood, the case was serious enough for the NCAA to deny the player’s ability to participate in the team's Emerald Bowl game on Dec. 26.
Like I said, the outcome of these investigations may have no immediate impact on the USC Trojan football program, but you can take to the bank the fact that for the next four or five years, the NCAA will be paranoid of every single minor issue coming out of the university. They won't be able to sneeze on campus without it being looked into.
This year wasn't easy for Pete Carroll. He lost his offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, to Pac-10 rival University of Washington.
He was then beaten by the Huskies on Sept. 19. Washington had finished 0-12 the previous season.
By USC standards, that wasn't just an upset, it was an absolute embarrassment.
In the same season, he was beaten three more times to finish 9-4, the worst Trojan record under Carroll since his debut in 2001.
Suddenly, the once always-sunny Southern Cal seems a bit rainy.
You're Pete Carroll. You've got the NCAA breathing down your neck, and you've just posted a disappointing season for Trojan standards (very important). You may have spent the past eight years running wild in the Pac-10, but you find that teams such as Stanford, yes, the Stanford Cardinal, can suddenly beat you and beat you bad.
It's now starting to storm in L.A.
It is not as if Carroll has a history of great success in the NFL, as he posted a barely passing 33-31 overall record in four seasons (one with New York Jets, three with New England Patriots).
It is not as if Carroll is headed toward a powerhouse team either. The past two seasons have brought the Seattle Seahawks a 9-23 record, combined with the suddenly fierce Arizona Cardinals as NFC West division leaders for consecutive seasons.
Yes, I know how much green the NFL can bring (money, power, money).
I know how Carroll has stated before that given the opportunity to coach again in the NFL he would weigh it seriously.
I know that this could be considered a "great career move" by many in the business.
But given all the variables and constants in the equation, the numbers just don't add up.
Peter Clay Carroll is not running TO the NFL.
He is running AWAY from the NCAA.