By now, you've probably heard the news that the Seattle Seahawks are targeting Pete Carroll for their newly-formed head coaching vacancy. Now we're hearing a deal is just about done, and the news is coming from sources other than Chris Mortensen (like Adam Schefter, a guy I can't seem to figure out if I love or hate), so for all intents and purposes, this looks like it's going down.
We're not going to talk about how this affects the Hawks - we have Field Gulls for that, and, quite frankly, they know a lot more about this stuff than I do. Nuss also knows more about this, and judging by his Twitter feed I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's not enamored. From the Seahawk standpoint, anyway. I'm conflicted, as we've never seen Carroll in the GM/Coach role before and can't be sure if it's going to help or hurt. At least there's this: how cool is it to see Seattle poach a figurehead from a "big market", when it's usually the other way around?
Regardless of what you think about the coaching change in Seattle, this move sends shock waves through the Pac-10. The happiest part is this: USC is no longer USC. They have, at least for a moment, lost their invincibility. Now, they already lost some of it when Oregon took over the Pac-10 this season, but within minutes of the national championship ending you had ESPN analysts already putting the Trojans in their preseason top fives (many putting them ahead of a Boise State team that returns everyone - which is just inept in my opinion). Now, USC has to fight on with a new head coach - a question mark - for a team that rarely had any question marks for the better part of the last decade. Also, there's the issue of potential NCAA violations harming the football program in a way similar to their basketball program. Add that to Rick Neuheisal's improved recruiting efforts at cross-town rival UCLA, and the football dynasty in Los Angeles may officially be over after all. Recruits may be bolting for Alabama, or Texas, or any of the other major programs that have stability.
Then there's the issue of where USC gets their next coach from. This is where it gets good for Coug fans. Many reports center around Oregon State's Mike Riley. Mike Riley shouldn't take this job. He's happy at Oregon State, regrets leaving the first time and has built a solid, perennial contender. OSU can (and probably will) get to the Rose Bowl again in the next several years. However, USC has the almighty dollar, and for the amount they pay they may even be able to get Tony Bennett to leave Virginia to coach football (if they wanted). A more realistic, and exciting possibility, at least in my head, is USC poaching Steve Sarkisian from Washington. This would be music to a Cougar's ears, setting the Husky program back after a year where it returned to respectability (if not a Bowl game). The Huskies, if put in this position, would almost certainly pick up - yep, you guessed it - Jim Mora, the man who once semi-jokingly called it his dream job. However Mora has zero college coaching experience since serving as a graduate assistant at the UW in 1984. That makes him slightly less of a sure thing for the Huskies than Sarkisian. Of course, Mora could be the savior of the Husky program and be even better than Sark. But here's hoping he isn't.
While I have no definitive idea of what this move does to the Seahawks, I do know two things: 1) it will destabilize USC and 2) it will likely destabilize another Pac-10 program. That alone is reason for Coug fans to send a thank you card to Paul Allen.