When Jim Harbaugh accepted his position as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, one aspect of the news that had me most excited was the continuation of the Harbaugh-Pete Carroll rivalry that was established in the Pac-10. In Harbaugh’s four years at Stanford, he went 3-1 against USC, including a 2-1 head-to-head record against Carroll.
The 2007 win by Harbaugh’s Cardinal was shocking; Stanford was only a 4-8 team and USC was over a 40-point favorite, but the Cardinal nonetheless stunned the Trojans in the Coliseum winning 24-23. Carroll made up for the loss the next year with a 45-23 win at the Farm, but Harbaugh got revenge in 2009 — Carroll’s last season with USC. Stanford didn’t just win that game, they ran up the score to 55-21.
After Carroll got a taste of what he had been doing to the rest of the Pac-10 the previous five years, he infamously asked Harbaugh during their handshake “What’s your deal?” Harbaugh responded with “What’s your deal?” The result was one of the most humorous post-game exchanges between two coaches, and a brilliant ticket plan by Stanford.
Unfortunately, despite what you may be thinking, Harbaugh says there’s no beef with Carroll. According to The Seattle Times, when asked about Carroll, Harbaugh said “Professional. No hostility. Competitive when we coached against each other in college, and I anticipate it will be competitive as we go forward playing each other twice a year. But genuine respect for the job that he does.”
So what do you think? Is Harbaugh just playing nice, or do you think things are smoothed out? If I know Harbaugh at all, he’s dying to beat Carroll, and vice versa. He’s just being p.c., that’s my guess.Google+