Would Harbaugh go to USC?

Submitted by Raback Omaba on January 9th, 2010 at 11:20 AM


Fast forward - Jim Harbaugh is offered the USC job.

Does he go?

He can recruit and coach with the best of them. USC obviously fits this bill.

He has established a pretty good presence on the west coast and some decent reach nationally at Stanford - USC obviously amplifies this.

USC is a big name program in a good conference. They are the NFL team of Los Angeles.

Harbaugh seems to have pretty lofty aspirations, and whatever they are (NFL??), USC would be a great stepping stone.

USC is currently a powerhouse and Harbaugh would most definitely keep them there.

On the flip side....

He is a Michigan Man. His heart is at Michigan (or so it is said)

If Rich Rodriguez can't get his act together in 2010, it's a pretty safe assumption that he is the 1# guy for the Michigan job. Michigan is one of the top 10 jobs in college football, right up there with USC.

There's been some shady stuff going on at USC over the past few years, and there's a possibility (although remote) that Harbaugh could be walking into a NCAA nightmare.

So, with all that out on the table, does Jim Harbaugh jump at the chance to coach USC (and gamble with the NCAA) or does he wait another year to see what shakes out at Michigan (and risk the possibility of Rodriguez getting Michigan back on track.)

This is obviously a hypothetical scenario and assumes that Jim Harbaugh has his sights set higher than a long tenure at Stanford (which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world either)

What does he do? What do you do if you are him?



January 9th, 2010 at 11:29 AM ^

Sanctions, smanctions... Show JH the money, a guarantee to have a chance after any penalties and he would be gone.

Also, would USC even have him after all his prior negativity against them?


January 9th, 2010 at 11:30 AM ^

Harbaugh trashes his alma mater's academic integrity, claiming he and many other players were steered into dumb jock classes by that mean old heartless and corrupt Bo, while extolling the pure, undiluted academic virtues of Stanford, the place that always was nearest and dearest to his heart.

And then he takes the job at that pristine citadel of academic and athletic integrity, USC? That would be more than a tiny bit hypocritical of Jim.

Which means it would be a logical choice for him.


January 9th, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

You can love the University of Michigan and still be critical of it. His point (as unjudicious as it may have been) was that the football team wasn't taking good enough care of its student-athletes. Whether or not he was correct I don't know, and he certainly came off as an asshole in doing it, but if he was correct, then he was presumably arguing for the betterment of the University and its student-athletes.


January 9th, 2010 at 12:01 PM ^

If the money was right and they wanted him. But I wonder if USC really is interested in him. He's still developing a track record and probably doesn't have the recruiting connections yet.

And on that SC recruiting pipeline, I see it as very, very Carroll specific. This is opposed to being just the fact that kids want to go there b/c it's USC. Kids wanted to go to Carroll's USC (and b/c of the SUV's) and I think other coaching candidates know that and might not be willing to take the hit on their reps when they don't continue USC's past success, NCAA sanctions or no.


January 9th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

They probably wouldn't offer Harbaugh since his best season is 8-5 and he's 0-1 in bowl games. Harbaugh IMO is still unproven and it still baffles me that Michigan fans are so high on the guy, and not just because of the recent "success" at Stanford. He's shown himself to be questionable when it comes to class all the way around. That's just how I feel and I personally never want to see him in Ann Arbor, but I would bet a lot of money that USC won't even look at him. If he becomes their coach feel free to negbang me into oblivion :-)


January 9th, 2010 at 12:31 PM ^

phenomonal qb in college
10 year pro career where he almost got the colts to the superbowl in 1995
coached the toreros to back to back pfl championships in 2005-6
doing a great job rebuilding stanford

if a team's looking to bet on a winner and up and coming young coach, he better be on the short list. if it doesn't work out with rr, he's a logical choice.


January 9th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

I'm not disputing his record at QB or at a smaller school, but those things don't translate to success at the next level, and USC or Michigan is a step up from Stanford where he has yet to prove himself IMO. On top of that he has been most consistent at putting his foot in his mouth and doing his best to motivate other teams.

Mr. Robot

January 9th, 2010 at 12:36 PM ^

... and neither, I think, does USC. He has a reputation for negative recruiting, trash talking, and all-around classlessness (See going for 2).

As its already been mentioned, he doesn't exactly have a proven track record of success or recruiting yet, either. An 8-5 season at Stanford is not an indicator of success.

For his comments on our academics and his proven lack of self control (Almost screwing over the Ravens with his antics), I would also never want him back in Ann Arbor.

I just don't know what his deal is.


January 9th, 2010 at 12:57 PM ^

I thought I saw on ESPN yesterday that Oregon State coach Mike Riley was a leading candidate. I can't find anything about it at quick glance on ESPN's website but I wonder if they'd prefer him over Harbaugh.


January 9th, 2010 at 1:34 PM ^

Mike Riley is the guy Mike Garrett wanted to hire last time around, but the Chargers would not let him interview. I think he is far and away the frontrunner for the job if he is willing to leave OSU. After that there is a big pool of guys like Fisher, Del Rio, Harbaugh (though I don't think there is much interest on either side here), Wittingham (who has expressed interest in the job according to SC's beat writer), and Petersen.

504 S.5th

January 9th, 2010 at 2:01 PM ^

does this blog continually demonize Harbaugh?. I love this blog, but the intense vitriol that comes from any anti-RR sentiment here is becoming incredibly knee-jerk. MGOBLOGGER's arrogant dismissal of Harbuagh being the next coach is,in my opinion, incredibly naive.


January 10th, 2010 at 7:47 AM ^


Plus longish comment (not Brian)here.

From "Unverified Voracity Wishes This Wasn't So Apt,," RE Harbaugh, 11-17-09:

On the other hand, he's a kind of a big jerk. When he got to Stanford he immediately pissed off Pete Carroll by suggesting he was headed for the NFL—twice. He then trashed Michigan's academics and caused this site to pen a bombastically-titled post called "Destroy Harbaugh." He also picked up a DUI in 2005. Then there was the two-point stunt last weekend. These are not isolated incidents.

Are the items in the latter group enough to disqualify a guy who is almost certainly going to be a, if not the, grade A candidate? I don't know. Probably not something to consider seriously until we get a verdict on Rodriguez.

(The first cited complaint seems ironic now)

vitriol that comes from any anti-RR sentiment here

is probably actually more like impatience or irritation. Since RR is the coach now and for at least a year before any firing under current conditions could possibly be anything other than supreme folly, bad-mouthing now is essentially defeatism and hence tiresome for those who don't wish ill on RR or UM. Critical analytical commentary, or having a point to consider, is something else again. So if you have something besides bix bix bix bix to share, surprise us.

504 S.5th

January 9th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

just have the outlandish opinion that RRod is not a good fit here. I am familiar with the onslaught i'm about to recieve. It is my desire that Harbaugh would be the next coach at Michigan. I think freep allegation were bogus hit job, however, I have become distraught over RR's supporters ability to RATIONALIZE everything that has happened here the last 2.5 years..and believe them to be clinging to a sinking ship.


January 9th, 2010 at 3:44 PM ^

I'll be the first to light my torch if next year goes like this year, but Harbaugh hasn't even come close to the string of successes (wins and player development) that RR has had in Div. 1A dating back to being OC at Tulane. Harbaugh might very well achieve similar results one day. But for USC to bet the farm that he MIGHT be successful when there are plenty of more experienced coaches out there would be very poor judgement. Of course, good ol' Jim might be the best option if others are scared off my potential NCAA violations.

Yes, if Harbaugh keeps winning, he might end up at Michigan one day, but if you think you saw division in the athletic dept with RR, just imagine what it would be like with Harbaugh if he doesn't eat crow and mea culpa his ass off for his previous comments.


January 10th, 2010 at 2:09 PM ^

It just has nothing to do with the topic at hand, so it seems like a broadside shot at him. And if you sift through some history, I'm no Rich Rod apologist. But while there may be a small segment who want to knock Harbaugh because he seems to be a threat to Rich, the most vehement objections to him come from when Lloyd was the Coach. People objected to him and called them dead to me far before Rich Rod was a twinkle in anyone's eye. (And as much as what he said, when he said it, after Bo died, cheesed people off further). So understand the suspicion if you try and turn objections to Harbaugh to attacks on Rich.


January 10th, 2010 at 8:57 AM ^

I can't imagine anyone wanting to be the next USC coach. It's fairly apparent that everyone is abandoning that sinking ship. I wouldn't want to be within 50 miles of that school when the NCAA banhammer comes down on them.


January 10th, 2010 at 2:25 PM ^

Their bathroom facilities simply aren't up to snuff.

Seriously, it depends on what Harbaugh wants to accomplish. If he wants to be in the title hunt every other year, USC is a great place to be - certainly better than Stanford. But he'd have to deal with inflated expectations, booster issues, possible probation, and LA.