Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin wrapped up his third regular season with the Commodores to improve to 8-4 and give the school its 17th win in the last two seasons and a third straight bowl berth. His success and the famously unsuccessful program could land him the job at USC, according to ESPN’s Joe Schad.
Chris Petersen and James Franklin are top options at USC. A new coach could be named as early as this week.
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 2, 2013
This shouldn’t come as a shocker to anyone who has witnessed the renaissance Franklin has orchestrated after Robbie Caldwell was forced to resign after the 2010 season. Vanderbilt is 9-6 in their last 15 SEC games, which is nothing short of remarkable when you consider they had only won 13 SEC games in the decade before Franklin arrived. USC had their eyes on Kevin Sumlin, but he agreed to a new six-year deal with Texas A&M on Saturday.
Franklin shouldn’t be considered as a fallback option, but rather a home run hire. If you can win at Vanderbilt in the height of the SEC, you can win anywhere and that includes with the Trojans. Franklin brings an energetic, engaging and charismatic personality that will play well to the in-state recruits and to the second largest media market. He can develop players that were two and three-star recruits, so just think what he can do with four and five-star kids that he can pluck in USC’s backyard.
Should Franklin be hired, it would not be a repeat of the last time USC hired a coach out of the state of Tennessee when Lane Kiffin was hired away from Tennessee, because people actually like being in his company. Plus, Franklin has the backing of one of USC’s more famous players in their program history in Keyshawn Johnson who thinks it is time for USC to hire an African American.
I want James Franklin as coach if we don’t hire coach O period!! #FightOn
— Keyshawn Johnson (@Thromedamnball) December 1, 2013
Franklin rationale- Can recruit, he’s done more with less, would be our first African American head football coach & he can coach offense
— Keyshawn Johnson (@Thromedamnball) December 2, 2013
Boise State’s Chris Peterson should be a fallback plan should Franklin decide to stay in Nashville, but I’d prefer Franklin because the last few Boise coaches to go elsewhere haven’t panned out. Dirk Koetter was 40-34 in six seasons at Arizona State and Dan Hawkins was 19-39 from 2006-10 with Colorado.
Franklin’s resume speaks for itself and if I’m USC athletic director, Pat Haden I hire Franklin this week, sign him to a five-year deal. Then if I’m Franklin my first move as coach at USC is to hire Ed Orgeron as my defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.
Orgeron has gone 6-2 as the Trojans interim coach and has injected life into the program and has them playing as well as they have since they went 10-2 in 2011. He would immediately ingratiate himself to the USC family and then hit the ground running and bolster the No. 51 ranked recruiting class according to 247Sports.
Franklin changed the entire culture of the program at Vanderbilt in less than two years, and he can do the same thing at USC and have them competing for national championships — as they should be — within the next two years.
Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.