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James Franklin, Chris Petersen reportedly top candidates for USC coaching job

James FranklinJames Franklin and Chris Petersen are two of the top candidates for the USC Trojans coaching vacancy, and the job could be filled as early as this week, according to a report.

ESPN’s Joe Schad reported the story and also says USC would like to try convincing current interim head coach Ed Orgeron to stay on as in some capacity. ESPN LA’s Arash Markazi says USC is prepared to make Orgeron the highest-paid assistant and an associate head coach.

Franklin is believed to be the top candidate and it’s easy to see why. He has led Vanderbilt to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1974-75. Vandy went 6-7 in his first season, 9-4 last year, and 8-4 this season. He is a high-energy, spirited coach much like Pete Carroll. And it’s pretty obvious that he can work wonders with a program.

Petersen has been the head coach at Boise State for eight seasons and has led the Broncos to a 92-12 record. He has rebuffed multiple offers in the past, but the USC job could be intriguing. He might also feel more open to leaving after a down season at Boise State (they’re 8-4).

CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman says he heard from sources that USC could make runs at the Harbaugh brothers. But Feldman believes USC is most intrigued by Petersen and Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, who was a Trojans assistant.

The Trojans were also believed to be interested in Kevin Sumlin, but he agreed to a big extension with Texas A&M.

Franklin certainly seems like the most viable candidate to me. Not only does he seem qualified for the position, but he’s at a school where moving to USC would be a clear upgrade. In other words, he might be more likely to accept the offer than some of the other candidates.


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