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USC Coaching Search Has the Chance to Affect Both Utah and BYU

The big news Friday afternoon was that Pete Carroll is leaving USC for a trip back to the NFL to the Seattle Seahawks to be the coach, general manager, and team president.  In other words he wants total control over personnel decision.  Technically the hire is not official since the Seahawks need to find a sucker to interview for the Rooney Rule.

Now, comes time for the coaching search which according to Yahoo's Tom Dinehart there are nine possibilities:

USC will likely target Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, Oregon State coach Mike Riley and Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher as his replacement.

USC also may have interest in Boise State’s Chris Petersen. TCU’s Gary Patterson, Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh, Temple’s Al Golden, ex-Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham.

Well, Utah fans have the somewhat ease of seeing Kyle Whittingham being listed last, but he is on the list so there is a reason to be concerned.  TCU fans should be concerned as well, because any big time opening his name gets tossed around.  However, good news for both schools is that the choice will most likely come down to either current Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher or Oregon State's Mike Reilly.

Going back to the pre-dynasty days of Pete Carroll USC was not even looking in his direction for their new coach in 2000.  The choices ahead of Carroll were many but most notably was Mike Reilly who then was an assistant for the San Diego Chargers.  Reilly had been an assistant at USC, but because the Chargers were in the playoffs he could not give an answer and eventually ended up as the head coach for Oregon State.  So, Reilly is an obvious front runner for this position.

Then there is Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher who played at USC, and back in the 1999 search Trojan AD Mike Garrett made two attempts to bring over Jeff Fisher.  Fisher might be welcomed to the move since the Titans started out 0-6 and he has been in the Oiler/Titan organization for 16 years as a head coach, plus the meddling owner Bud Adams has been on Fisher's case this past year.

These two are the top choices and it is not even close, well unless current Jacksonville Jaguar head coach Jack Del Rio gets the ax (just had to way too easy) then he could be the choice since he would be the only one not employed. 

If I were to place odds I would start out with MIke Reilly, Jeff Fisher, and then Jack Del Rio.  If for some reason none of these mentioned get the job then it falls down to Kyle Whittingham, Gary Patterson, Dennis Franchione, and Chris Peterson.  

The way this affects BYU is if Oregon State's MIke Reilly is the new man in charge at Troy.  Bronco Mendenhall played defensive back at Oregon State and was their defensive coordinator for the 1995 and 1996 season.  Bronco would be a choice, because as it pains BYU fans the Oregon State job would be a step up. 

They were very close to winning the Pac-10 and going to the Rose Bowl this past year, and have an easier path to the BCS then the Mountain West currently has.  Also, the pay would be a large increase and a much better recruiting base compared to the maybe 50-60 athletes BYU targets each year. 

This should start taking shape next week, so stay tuned for more updates on this situation.