The Great Debate: Pete Carroll Cont'd  

Posted by Frazier

Sorry it took a minute to get back on this one. There's been a lot on my plate, not the least of which was some pretty interesting arguments from the big man. Not to say that he's right, but at least he's crafty:

  • I can dispatch of the first three points in rapid fire. First, let's shelve the Palmer discussion. It's a chicken-or-egg situation. Palmer did give a huge boost to USC (although by the time the year was over, Carroll had already locked up some big recruits). So either Carroll was able to take a struggling athlete to the next level, for which he deserves the boost, or he was handed an elite prospect, which means he probably doesn't deserve the boost. It's unknowable.
  • Second, Carroll can't control how good his conference is. All he can do is schedule the best teams possible. And he does. So he deserves credit for it.
  • Third, USC ran up those offensive numbers every time they played a team from the Big 12 or SEC or any other major conference. So there is no way to prove that they wouldn't. Maybe it's unlikely, but it's not like anyone, in any conference, at any time, was stopping them. Just ask Oklahoma. Or Auburn. Or Virginia Tech. Or Texas. Four teams renowned for having top defenses.
Now for a brief discussion of the alternatives you mentioned:
  • Stoops: We can all acknowledge that he's one of the top coaches in the country. That's not what we're debating. However, he has had two massively favored teams fall apart at the end of a season. Also, you mention the Big 12 dominance, but aside from Texas, there haven't been very many good Big 12 teams recently. Nebraska, Colorado and K-State have fallen on hard times. Oklahoma St. and A&M are always flawed, and teams like Kansas, Mizzou or Texas Tech have been good, but hardly elite. Finally, Carroll and Stoops met once, and Stoops was the one with the massively hyped team, and they got completely and utterly woodshedded.
  • Spurrier: Time was, he was the obvious answer here. On the other hand, time was that Paterno or Bobby Bowden was the obvious answer. Spurrier HAS done great things. If he really does turn South Carolina around, he may regain his title. However, he has a single championship a number of years back, and he hasn't completely proven that he's still got it.
  • Meyer: Let's give him some time. Florida had a great season, and Urban showed he could win at Utah as well. However, he's had one great year, and one mediocre year at Florida. Urban is pretty much the opposite of Spurrier for our purposes here. He may be a great coach, and one day he may earn the title of best coach in the country, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
  • Tressel: This is probably the best argument of this bunch, at least vis-a-vis Carroll. Stoops may be better than Tressel, but Carroll is clearly ahead of Stoops. Tressel has a title, and has a phenomenal record, almost as good as Pete's, in a few short years. But on every measure Tressel comes up a little short. Pete is clearly the better recruiter, that can't be argued. Whether it's easier to recruit LA than Columbus can be debated, but no one does it as well as Pete, and no one makes top recruits want to compete against other top recruits as well as Pete. Getting kids with huge egos and delusions of grandeur to prove it on the practice field is something that shouldn't be overlooked. Pete has more wins, a better winning percentage, and more national titles than Tressel. Furthermore, while Pete may not have had his best day against Mack Brown and Texas, Big Jim absolutely got his ass handed to him by Urban Meyer and Florida. Until Pete gets similarly dominated on as big a stage, you've got to give him the title.
  • No one has done it better than Pete Carroll for as long as he has been coaching college football.
My final point:
  • Say what you will about Pete Carroll, but he has the biggest balls of any coach in the country. He is willing to lay it on the line, and make his team prove to be the better team. He doesn't make excuses when he loses, and he expects his team to win in any circumstance, in any stadium, against any opponent. He never coaches scared, and his players love him for it, and so do I.


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