USC Now Wants James Franklin, Not Urban Meyer
USC now wants James Franklin, not Urban Meyer to be their next head coach.
Heading into this past weekend, everyone in college football circles more or less agreed that Clay Helton was on his way out unless he pulled a rabbit out of his hat versus Oregon.
Pull a rabbit out of his hat versus Oregon he ultimately did not, though.
Instead the Trojans got absolutely destroyed at the Coliseum this weekend in a 56-24 loss.
The 56 points that Oregon hung on USC was the most anyone had scored against them since Arizona State dropped 62 points against them six years ago.
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It was also the most they had given up at home since Oregon had put up 62 points on them back in 2012.
Needless to say, it was pretty much what everyone expected from Helton and the Trojans at this point.
With Helton clearly on his way out, popular wisdom for much of the year has been that he would be replaced by former Ohio State coach, Meyer.
As it turns out, that may not be the case. Apparently new athletic director Mike Bohn wants to go in a different direction.
“If they wanted to go and get Urban Meyer, they’d need to hire someone he has a strong relationship with,” Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports relayed from a source.
“He needs to believe in his AD. He’s been very close with all the athletic directors he’s worked with.”
So what does that mean? Well, per Thamel, it means that USC may actually be eying Penn State’s Franklin instead.
“The frontrunner for USC to target likely shifts to Penn State’s James Franklin, a move that would take a substantial amount of money considering the revenue gaps between the two schools,” he wrote.
“If they can’t sell Franklin on coming — and assuming Bob Stoops is happy in the XFL — they can sift through a list that would likely include Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, Baylor’s Matt Rhule, Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Memphis’ Mike Norvell.”
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While the rationale here makes sense, it is still somewhat surprising that the name most closely linked to USC all year long is no longer the front runner to replace Helton.
Mind you, this is not a slight against Franklin. The man is 53-21 as Penn State’s head coach and they have recorded eight wins and zero defeats so far this season.
Beyond that, Franklin was linked to the USC job as recently as last year, and he was noncommittal when asked if his future was with the Nittany Lions.
But this is still a very interesting new development.
It could very well be that Bohn looks at Meyer and sees a once-great coach who simply is not worth the inevitable headaches that seem to accompany him everywhere he goes.
It also very well could be that he looks at Stewart and sees a smart college football mind who does more with less.
However, it is also equally possible that is a hard-to-get gesture on behalf of USC’s new AD to regain at least some negotiating leverage for this summer’s talks with Meyer.
As we get closer to year’s end, we should get a better idea of what precisely USC is thinking as far as their next head coach goes.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.