The Great Debate: Pete Carroll Cont'd  

Posted by Walter

Before I swing back, I want to address the excellent point made by our faithful reader/commenter. While the focus has been mostly on Carroll's level or respoonsibility for USC's success I do think that issue is closely tied to his overall status as a coach. While we really can't get into x's and o's here (that's more for coordinators anyways) I do think you raise a good point about Jim Tressell. Tressell, as well as others, have put up monster numbers and definitely do belong in the debate of best college football coach on the planet. While I have mostly taken the arguing stance of stating why Carroll isn't so great, perhaps it is time to put forth some names that could challenge or possibly overtake Carroll for the top spot (see below).

As always thanks for the comments.

OK now my counterattack:

  • I am not claiming Carroll had nothing to do with Palmer's development. Making such a statement would be disingenuous. However, it is equally disingenuous to argue that Palmer's season didn't have a substantial, and positive, effect on Carroll's tenure at USC. Palmer was regarded as the top player coming out of high school, possibly ever. He had the talent to succeed. Carroll did NOT recruit Palmer, he inherited Palmer. And it was Palmer's season that vaulted USC to the heights it has reached under Carroll (regardless of how much Pete had to do with his turnaround).
  • The Pac-10 is not an elite conference. If Pete just stays in the Pac-10 and goes undefeated he's in the championship game, no doubt. However, as we learned from the 2006 Big 10 and Michigan, if your conference is mediocre and you lose a game, it doesn't matter how impressive you've been, the BCS is going to take a one-loss team from the SEC (or Big 12 for that matter) every day of the week. Had Michigan gone to Arkansas the first game of the season and whooped on the Razorbacks you can probably bet they would have gotten the call over Florida. So while it is comendable that Carroll does bring his team to play other BCS foes, it's not pure altruism. He knows he needs to do that in order to have a chance for a margin of error playing in the mediocre Pac-10.
  • Your offer of proof of USC's domination of the Pac-10 only corroborates my claim that the conference stinks. USC has been an offensive machine mostly because they have talented players, but also because nobody plays defense in the Pac-10. You think USC would have run up any of those numbers in the SEC or Big 12? No way.
As for who is better than Carroll, how about these guys:
  • Urban Meyer - He is actually very similar to Carroll in that he walked into a tremendous situation and won a title almost immediately. However, unlike Carroll, Meyer was a tremendous success at two other schools (Bowling Green and Utah) that do NOT have great recruiting bases. You think Carroll could take Utah to a BCS game? Not a chance.
  • Jim Tressell - I think Clarett's Syndrome made the best argument for Jimmy in his comment, especially in regards to Tressell's 4 national titles at Youngstown State. That cannot be discounted.
  • Steve Spurrier - Lest we forget, the Ol' Ball Coach did exactly what Carroll is doing at USC at Florida when he took over. Florida was a sleeping giant until Spurrier woke it up. He won a national title with the Gators and is well on his way to turning around a moribund South Carolina program.
  • Bob Stoops - Yes Carroll laid the wood on Stoops when they met, but you absolutely cannot ignore the job Stoops has done in Norman since he took over. Stoops has a national title with Oklahoma, as well as one as a coordinator at Florida. His teams generally overachieve, and Oklahoma is always a frontrunner in the super competitive Big 12.
Are all of these guys better than Carroll? Probably not. But there is enough here to go around!


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