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Out of few available options, USC does well landing Sarkisian

Mark Coyle had a really good day.

You don't know Mark Coyle. Heck, I had to look him up in the Boise State athletic directory. But, be assured, Coyle had a really good day on Monday.

That Coyle might not know it is beside the point. Every day is a good day for Boise's AD because he's going to keep his coach. Coyle doesn't even have to pay up -- much -- to know that.

There are no leverage games with Chris Petersen. He is simply happy in Boise winning 88 percent of his games and chasing the odd BCS bowl. The man has lost 12 games in eight years.

USC fans should have known all that before they freaked on Monday at the hiring of Steve Sarkisian. It's who Chris Petersen is and always will be -- one of the best/hottest coaches out there.

You just can't have him, USC. No one can. His name has become a cliché in coaching searches. It's almost lazy for journalists to mention him. Need a name west of the Mississippi? Stick Petersen in there.

He has become the college version of Jon Gruden. Pete's name almost legitimizes the search. That he isn't leveraging it for a raise, makes me admire him more.

Petersen sounded good at USC. It just wasn't realistic. I'm not ripping Petersen or Coyle at all. I'm telling those USC's fans having kittens at the moment, the same thing I'm telling everyone:

Just who, besides someone like Steve Sarkisian, was Pat Haden going to get? Petersen isn't leaving Boise because he hasn't left Boise. The man is comfortable in his skin, with his program and his place in history.

The Coach Who Never Left Boise.

It's written somewhere that if you don't realize your potential at a bigger program for more money there is something wrong. That's exactly what Sarkisian did in leaving Washington. That's exactly what it looks like Petersen will never do. As soon as his name came up, I had this vision of Petersen dealing with the LA media. Then I laughed.

Petersen doesn't loathe media personally, but he sure as hell loathes dealing with them personally. Same thing for speaking engagements. And that's half the job at USC where you have to be somewhat of a rock star. That's half the job at a lot of places, except at a place like Boise.

Petersen might be the first hermit coach. We should all be OK with that, especially USC. It's simply a bad time for a top-three job to be open. And USC is definitely a top-three job, if not the best job in the country. But ...

The Trojans weren't getting Nick Saban or Urban Meyer.

Kevin Sumlin got extended at Texas A&M.

There was no Bret Bielema out there. That would be a coach coming off three straight BCS bowls -- in this case three Rose Bowls in the Big Ten -- willing to go to a mid-level job in another conference.

Come to think of it, there has never been a Bret Bielema available like that until Bret Bielema.

For some reason, USC was cool on Vanderbilt's James Franklin. I can't explain that but they were.

If the difference in Sark getting the job was Washington beating Washington State to go 8-4, well, consider neither he nor Ed Orgeron beat UCLA this season.

It might be close, but isn't there more upside with a guy who actually has a winning record (34-29 over five seasons)? He's younger than Coach O. He's more polished than Lane Kiffin, with a better personality. I mean that totally as a compliment.

I also believe Coach O (16-27 as a head coach) may have gotten himself another head-coaching gig with the way he handled the Trojans.

Both guys had career years as head coaches. I admire both, but I probably admire Haden more. Not so much his predecessor who hired both Pete Carroll and Kiffin.

Call Mike Garrett's record 1-1 in that respect. And the argument can be made that Carroll was the coaching-hire version of Auburn lately -- a Hail Mary. Carroll was, what, a fifth choice?

All that matters is that it worked out. Sark, though, isn't Auburn. I trust Haden. Haden has a plan and this is the best one at the moment. Sure, it seems like he is trying to put the band back together, resurrecting the spirit of Carroll's old staff.

If that's the case -- and part of it has to be -- there are worse search philosophies.

There just weren't very many better coaching options.

For the remainder of Trojan Nation who disagree, well, Whine On.


Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
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