From the USC campus one can see clouds off in the distance, clouds that are as dark as night.
Is it about to rain in Southern California?
There have been more NCAA investigators roaming the streets of Los Angeles in recent months than members of the Crips and Bloods.
It would appear that there is good reason for the sudden immigration of the NCAA police in and around the USC campus:
The NCAA has questions. Lots of questions.
For starters, did Reggie Bush have a secret back channel of funds flowing into his pockets during his playing days?
Joe McKnight was seen driving away from practice in a new Land Rover that he said he never drove. Something just doesn’t sound right about what McKnight is trying to sell.
Southern Cal’s basketball program has already been slapped with sanctions over the O.J. Mayo fiasco.
Is USC about to become an acronym for the University of Sanctions Calamity?
Could it strike both the football program and the basketball program at the same time?
When Pete Carroll abruptly departed for the rain of Seattle, did he know already that the potential sanctions were going to cost the USC football program dearly?
“It had nothing to do with it. The Seattle job came out of nowhere,” Carroll said in response to the question of possible sanctions.
Perhaps that is true. Perhaps he was just choosing his words carefully.
“Where there is smoke there is fire.” We’ve all heard that before.
We can all see the smoke coming up from the USC campus; we just can’t see the flames yet to determine just how big this fire is going to get.
Some think just one engine will be required to distinguish what appears to be a small little smoldering fire.
Most think they’ll need to call in all available units to help put out a blaze of major proportions.
One thing just about everybody can agree on it that replacing Pete Carroll as the Trojans' head coach is not going to be easy.
How many of the great college coaches in the country would give up a secure position at a winning program to take a job at Southern Cal where the future is so unknown?
Would Boise State’s Chris Petersen leave a program that is on the cusp of greatness? Over the next 10 years, BSU stands to have a greater and more successful program than USC will be able to put together.
Would Gary Patterson chose USC over staying at TCU where he’s built an annual top 10 contender?
Why would Mike Riley leave the city of Corvallis where he’s a local legend with a new contract that secures his position at Oregon State until the next decade?
Would Harbaugh leave Stanford, a program that is now a contender for the Pac 10 title, let alone the fact that he’s holding a new contract?
No amount of smoke — and mirrors — is going to get a top head coach to leave a secure environment for the uncertain future at USC.
USC athletic director Mike Garrett may have to accept someone who was just recently unacceptable to another college program or NFL team.
In other words, a recently fired head coach.
Does the name Leach ring a bell?
Granted, there appears to be a fairly good sized pool of unacceptable talent available to the Trojans. In the coming days we can expect a stampede of the unemployed racing to Mr. Garrett’s office door.
The fact is that in a different time USC might very well have had the pick of the litter. The best coach available—or not available—would have been easy picking for Mike Garrett to have lured to the Southern Cal campus.
The fact is that Pete Carroll may have never taken that phone call from the Seahawks had the situation been different.
Ken Norton Jr., Southern Cal’s potential head man in waiting, wouldn’t have decided that he liked the gray soggy days of Seattle better than the sunshine of Southern California; he’d still be one of the nation’s top recruiters for the Trojans of USC.
But these times are very different.
The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are now in Seattle.
And … it DOES rain in Southern California.