Pete Carroll

It’s another tough season for USC, right now coached by interim head coach Clay Helton, and probably harboring some big, almost impossible-to-accomplish dreams regarding their next head coach.

Even after down years, the Trojans are one of the biggest names and draws in college football. They can get some names who already have a job in college, but Pat Haden might be trying to get those in the NFL that could lose their jobs at some point this season.

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The names being thrown around do sound unrealistic. John Harbaugh and Pete Carroll. Both are Super Bowl winners. Carroll coached USC from 2001 to 2009, bringing the program back to the top of the Pac-12 and college football with two national titles (one vacated), six conference titles and six wins in BCS bowls. That’s the dream name for Haden and the USC fans.

But Carroll has already said it’s not going to happen. The Seattle Seahawks are struggling, but successful NFL coaches who haven’t been fired don’t just pack up and leave for college football. Jim Harbaugh was a rare gem to fall out of the sky for Michigan. It’s not going to happen for USC with Carroll.

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And what about the other Harbaugh brother, John? Probably overreaching there as well. First of all, he hasn’t been in the college game for years (18 years to be exact) and even though the Ravens are 1-5, Harbaugh’s job isn’t on the line, and won’t be no matter how bad this season ends up being for the Ravens.

Chip Kelly? The Eagles did cause everyone to overreact with their 1-3 start but they’ve won their last two games and it seems the Eagles are committed to him for the long haul unless something disastrous happens. Bill O’Brien of the Houston Texans might be a better name to reach for, although it’ll take a terrible Houston season (three wins or less) to get him fired. The Texans might also decide that the quarterback situation over the last two years is to blame, not O’Brien. They won’t be entirely wrong.

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But these names might be good for the rumor mill. In reality, there are probably a lot of names of current college coaches being assessed and added to the list of candidates for the job. Clay Helton will stay until the next of the season, hoping to get something out of the already 3-3 campaign, likely to be 3-4 once they play #3 Utah this weekend.

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