This phenomenon of the coaching world, which is neither confined to the sport of football, nor limited to moving "up" from the minors to the pros, demands further investigation. Is it for the ego; or the bank account? What on God's green earth would compel a man to leave a position in which he were revered as a KING, for the unknown that awaits? Regardless of whether he wears the crown as King of LA in the media capital of the west coast; or the King of Poop Island in the home of the National Lentil Festival; I will never understand why a man would give up the keys to a new Cadillac for what's behind door #3.
I don't want to even imagine a Pac-10 without Pete Carroll at USC. When you really despise a team in college football, you despise the history more than you do the current roster. In baseball on the other hand, you hate the way the Yankees dominated the field for so long but you also grew to detest Steinbrenner, Jeter, O'Neill, Knoblauch, Brosius, and the like. You really spread the hate around. It's healthy.
You really need at least one face to hate. With the ever-shrinking tenure of the average college football player, it's practically impossible to develop a healthy hatred for one. I tried like hell to hate Reggie Bush but failed miserably. Before him, I tried hating a long line of former Trojan players but I just didn't get a chance to know them. I guess I briefly hated Todd Marinovich after the Dad's Day comeback in '89, so I suppose there are exceptions. But occasional fleeting hatred aside, we need Pete Carroll (and Ken Norton for that matter) at USC so our hatred will be complete. With USC, I suppose we'll always hate the perpetual loop of their fight song during every game and the constant "V' sign from fans and players - but we need more than that!
Pete Carroll is the face of USC football and the face we love to hate. I actually look forward to every opportunity I get to watch him. There is simply nothing better than watching him work a game. He's on the field more than USC's long-snapper, constantly working the refs - buttering them up early so they'll be in his hip pocket if the game gets close at the end. I take that back. The only thing better than that is watching his facial expressions during the ups and downs of a game. 98% of the time he just has that pompous look of arrogance that shames you into upgrading your trailer to a double-wide; but the other 2% of the time when things aren't going right for his team - is absolutely priceless. He seems to maintain the arrogance through a look of disbelief and astonishment.
This is the look that says "How the hell did these idiots manage to fuck up my flawless game plan?!" With Pete at the helm, nobody really beats USC, they just get lucky. Just ask him.
So on top of this ice-cream sundae of hate, the proverbial cherry on top is none other than Rick Neuheisel. I can honestly say that I have never hated anything about UCLA and probably won't until we face them for the first time with Slick Rick on the sideline. But if I hate Pete Carroll - I super-hate Rick Neuheisel. If Carroll were to leave USC for the Atlanta Falcons now, the inevitable speculation would be that on top of all that "nothing left to accomplish here" nonsense, would be that Pete felt at least a little threatened by the new coach at the rival school across town. I'd REALLY hate to see Slick Rick become the new King of LA by default.
I'm sure that by the time I finish breakfast in the morning Pete will come to his senses and announce that he's staying "home" at USC and for that, the entire Pac-10 says "Hate On!"