If I Were USC: My Top Five Choices to Replace Lane Kiffin
I'll take my turn at playing USC athletic director and offer up my top five (realistic) choices for the new head coach of the Trojans.
5. Steve Sarkisian (Head Coach at Washington)
Sarkisian was the offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll at USC, which may be exactly why he doesn't get this job. My guess is that Pat Haden stays away from another Carroll coach, but he should at least give him a look. Even though his overall record hasn't been particularly impressive, he's helped turn around a program that sat at 0-12 the year before his arrival and made them into a Top 15 team this season.
4. Jeff Fisher (Head Coach of St. Louis Rams)
It seems odd mentioning Fisher on this list, but this is the dream pairing that has never seemed to work out. If USC is intent on going after an alum with NFL success, then Fisher would trump Jack Del Rio any day of the week. Fisher's current situation with the Rams is less than stellar, so it wouldn't be out of the question to see him pack up and bolt for LA. He's never been a head coach at the college level, but he's a proven leader that has accomplished enough in the pros to make him a worthy choice.
3. James Franklin (Head Coach at Vanderbilt)
Pete Carroll was an energy guy. Carroll was able to win at USC because he had the passion and energy to recruit the best players in the country. Lane Kiffin wasn't an energy guy. His facial expressions rarely changed, and that's something USC needs to change. They need someone like James Franklin to come in and rejuvenate the entire fanbase. What Franklin has been able to accomplish at Vanderbilt is nothing short of miraculous. Last year, the Commodores had their first nine-win season in nearly a hundred years. If Pat Haden wants someone that can bring back passion to USC football, he could do a whole lot worse than Franklin.
2. Bobby Petrino (Head Coach at Western Kentucky)
Yep, we're going there. The reasons for Petrino being fired from Arkansas are well-documented. But if you're talking about bringing in someone that will be a guaranteed success (at least on the field), Petrino has to be near the top of the list. Sure, there's always the chance he could get himself into trouble out in Los Angeles, but if we're talking about winning football games, there's no doubt in my mind that Petrino would turn things around in a hurry. He's going to get another chance at a big time program at some point. Why not now?
1. Kevin Sumlin (Head Coach at Texas A&M)
Sumlin is the perfect candidate for this job. He's transformed Texas A&M into a Top 10 program complete with a Heisman trophy winner under center. He knows how to recruit, he knows how to handle a big time college football program, and his offense is one that would draw in plenty of fans. Sumlin is the program-changed that USC needs right now. The question becomes whether or not they could lure him away from A&M, which is undoubtedly in better shape at the present time. But would Sumlin leave for the challenge of turning around one of the most storied programs in NCAA history? We'll find out.
Who would be your top choice to replace Lane Kiffin at USC?