“What’s your deal?!?”
Who can forget these final words spoken between Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll after Stanford’s donkey-whopping of the Trojans?
Harbaugh’s not-so-subtle way of running up the score ignited the interesting back-and-forth between the two, and for the media, the excitement for future bad blood matchups in this once one-sided rivalry.
But Carroll’s sudden move from sunny California to permanently cloudy Seattle has put the kibosh on what could have been the hottest coach’s rivalry in college football for 2010.
Harbaugh started poking the USC figurehead when he was first announced as Stanford’s head coach almost three years ago, stating that “Pete Carroll’s only got one more year though…I’ve heard it inside his staff.”
Then, later that season, Harbaugh marched the Cardinal into L.A. Coliseum and snapped a five-game losing streak against the Trojans in dramatic fashion. But the drama didn’t stop there.
Two years later, Harbaugh led Stanford to the highest point total ever put against USC in Southern California, and best of all, doing it in a “flip the bird” manner.
The Cardinal/Trojans matchup next season should have been epic. I would like to think that Pete Carroll would have come up with a plan to stick it to Harbaugh in Stanford Stadium, reinstalling his dominance as the king of the Pac-10.
And who knows what Harbaugh might have had to counter this? It really could have been amazing.
Harbaugh, in the midst of turning this once-inept organization around, was on the verge of stealing this crown right from under Carroll. He was slowly becoming the face of the Pac-10, and now with the departure of Pistol Pete, the road to the kingdom for Jim and every other coach in the Pac-10 is currently unblocked.
Carroll’s inevitable leap towards the NFL was hardly a surprise. And while he does leave behind a storied legacy as the leader of the Trojans, Seattle fans should remember that his NFL career as a head coach has hardly been impressive.
Although it is fun to watch USC lose their beloved head coach, the same situation could be closer than many would hope for Stanford.
Fans in Palo Alto know that Harbaugh’s future with Stanford is limited, so with the door to the top of the Pac-10 left slightly ajar, it is now or never for the Cardinal to take their shot at the top.
Because in a few years, this unresolved rivalry could be played out under the lights and the highly scrutinizing eyes of Sunday football. But until that day, people hoping to figure out what the deal truly was will have to patiently wait.
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