Make no mistake about it. The USC coaching job carries some importance all throughout the Pac-12, as the right coaching hire can have a significant impact on not just the Trojans but the landscape of the Pac-12 for years to come.
USC terminated the contract of head coach Steve Sarkisian Monday, a day after placing the coach on an indefinite leave of absence. Sarkisian’s off-field demons with alcohol crossed over into his professional career and it cost him his job. Now USC is in the market for a brand new head coach, and the Trojans are likely to be the most high-profile coaching vacancy in the coaching carousel this year. The potential to win big is there for USC and the Trojans need a coach capable of handling the pressures that come with the job and has an established track record of winning and avoiding NCAA violations. The USC job should attract some of the best possible candidates out there, and some may even fall within the Pac-12.
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has been named a betting favorite this week by oddsmakers, and Washington head coach Chris Petersen has had his name dropped in the rumor mill as well. One former Pac-12 head coach, Chip Kelly, has also been a trendy name discussed by those following the Trojan coaching vacancy, although that may be unrealistic. Whoever it is that is ultimately named the head coach in Pasadena, they will take over a program that should be considered a sleeping giant.
Recruiting will never be an issue at USC, talent will always find its way to Los Angeles. If USC finds the coach with the right blend of talent development and on-field scheming, then the Trojans should waste little time in climbing back to the top of the Pac-12. The Trojans were tabbed a preseason favorite by the media this summer, but that was a premature assessment that has now blown up in spectacular fashion. If USC makes the best possible hire, then the rest of the conference will likely run out of time to capitalize on the Trojans being down.
USC will rise again, it is only a matter of time. When that time comes, USC will have the potential to carry the Pac-12 banner in the College Football Playoff for years to come.