USC Next Coach: Del Rio, Petersen, Franklin, And Roman Emerge As Top Candidates; Jim Tressel A Possible Hire By Pat Haden?

Lane Kiffin
Lane Kiffin was 28-15 as USC's head football coach. Reuters

Following the firing of Lane Kiffin, athletic director Pat Haden wants to keep the USC head coaching search private. However, that doesn’t mean that the public can’t bet on which candidate he’ll choose.

When Kiffin was let go, Bovada.lv set odds for the most likely replacements. The website has set Jack Del Rio as the favorite to become USC’s next football coach. Rumors about Haden targeting Del Rio quickly began to surface when the news broke. As a result, his odds lead the pack at 3/1.

Del Rio’s recent NFL success and USC pedigree make him an ideal candidate for the job. He hasn’t had any experience coaching in college, but that hasn’t seemed to matter in the past. Prior to Kiffin, who coached the Oakland Raiders two years before returning to the Trojans, Pete Carroll and Paul Hackett went from the NFL to USC.

San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman has been linked to the Trojans with 6/1 odds. He has never been a head coach, but unlike Del Rio, has experience at the college level. He was the offensive coordinator with Stanford from 2009-2010 and left with Jim Harbaugh in 2011.

If the school decides to go with a current college coach, they might hire one who is at his first head coaching job and looking to make the leap to his first major program. Both Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin have been given 5/1 odds.

Petersen has had years of success with the Broncos, leading them to a bowl game in every season since he took over in 2006. In that time, he’s lost just 10 total games and had two undefeated seasons. He’s turned down jobs from bigger schools in the past, choosing to stay at Boise State over UCLA and Texas A&M.

Franklin has helped turn around a football program that was, historically, one of the worst in Division 1. In 2012, Vanderbilt finished with nine wins, their most ever since joining the SEC. Even their 6-7 season in 2011 was a four-win improvement from 2010. His biggest obstacle in getting the job might be his lack of experience as a head coach. He bounced around as an assistant until two years ago.

One potential candidate that was not given betting odds by Bovada is Jim Tressel. There have been no reports that the former Ohio State coach is being seriously considered by Haden, but he might be the best candidate available. Before resigning when it was discovered that many of his players had received improper benefits, Tressel was one of the most successful coaches in college football, having won at least 10 games in his last six seasons with the Buckeyes.

Tressel was suspended for five games prior to leaving the Buckeyes. If USC were to hire him in 2013, he could be ready to be on the sidelines for the start of next season. Following the embarrassing incident at Ohio State, Haden can expect Tressel to be on his best behavior at a high-profile program that has had more than their share of NCAA scrutiny. Tressel has a strong background in developing good quarterbacks, helping Craig Krenzel and Troy Smith win Big Ten Player of the Year awards under his tutelage. He also was consistent in producing one of the best defensive teams in the nation.

Current interim coach Ed Orgeron wasn’t given very favorable odds at 20/1. Retired NFL coaches and current ESPN broadcasters Jon Gruden and Herm Edwards come in at 8/1 and 15/1, respectively.

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