No need to sideline Pat Haden

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This has been a strange few days for the sports world. Saturday’s bizarre outburst from USC Athletic Director Pat Haden during the third quarter of a win against Stanford seems like eons ago.

Yet I’m not sure people overreacted more to a story than this one.

Don’t get me wrong, what Haden did was inexcusable. ADs have no place calling a meeting with officials during a game to discuss their calls and treatment of a head coach.

But to suggest that Haden should resign from his spot on College Football’s Selection Committee like Dan Wolken of USA Today and others did, is a bit extreme.

To give a brief synopsis of the video above and the incident, Haden was summoned to the Trojans’ sideline by a USC staff member because head coach Steve Sarkisian after the coach was flagged for arguing the refs. Sarkisian’s penalty came after linebacker Hayes Pullard was ejected for targeting.

Haden jogged down from the press box and had a very animated discussion with the officials just before the fourth quarter. It was a heck of a job by ABC’s cameras to have a camera on him the moment he entered the field, and an even better job by Heather Cox who was able to get Haden to explain what the heck he was doing.

All this was going on while a pair of top-15 conference rivals went back and forth, before USC was able to escape with a 13-10 victory.

Almost instantly Haden was the story in college football. The debate began as to whether or not Haden should resign from his spot on the selection committee. I’m just not sure what the connection between him arguing with refs and his ability to judge the sport’s landscape have to do with one another.

It’s certainly not a good look, but it’s not a reason for him to get the boot. Hell, he wasn’t even the only AD on the selection committee to get after an official on Saturday, as Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin was also photographed yelling at a referee.

 

Haden was rightfully fined $25K for his outburst, and he is imposing a two-game ban from the sidelines on himself.

Haden’s outburst didn’t show everyone that he’s incapable of unbiasedly picking the best four teams in the country by any stretch. Last time I checked the selection committee gig was an unpaid one, and he gets paid handsomely by USC to be their AD.

Of course Haden is biased towards USC, but that’s why the committee members are recused from discussing their teams. Everyone on that committee is biased towards a certain school, which leads me to believe they’ll just cancel each other out.

Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock issued a statement on Monday saying the incident wouldn’t affect Haden’s standing on the committee at all.

“Emotional outbursts at games are not a matter for the playoff selection committee to deal with,” he said. “This does not affect Pat Haden’s capability as a committee member. We recognize that athletics directors cannot be dispassionate about their own teams, and that’s why we have the recusal policy.”

Now can we get back to discussing the important issues in college football, like why hasn’t Ed Orgeron been named the head coach at SMU yet?

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Ed Orgeron: America’s interm head coach

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Now that we know Ed Orgeron won’t be the full-time head coach at Southern Cal with the hiring of Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian, it’s time to figure out what’s next for Coach O.

Orgeron led USC to a 6-2 record as the interim head coach after Lane Kiffin was fired. According to ESPN he was “outraged” when he didn’t get the job permanently and resigned immediately. Offensive Coordinator Clay Helton will coach the Trojans in the bowl game.

When Orgeron met with his USC team one final time, it was an emotional ending to an up-and-down season. There were tears from Orgeron, and the players, as he said an emotional goodbye before returning home to New Orleans with his family.

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The rumor mill immediately began to swirl about where Coach O would end up next. Florida Atlantic and Wake Forest were both rumored to be possible destinations for the former Ole Miss head coach. Nothing has come to fruition just yet, and Bruce Feldman has already ruled out FAU as an actual possibility.

At Ole Miss Oregron was 10-25 as the head coach, but his job turning things around for USC this season and his reputation as a recruiter have made him a head coaching commodity once again. But I’ve got another idea for Oregon.

Instead of becoming a head coach of another fledgling program, Coach O should become America’s All-Time interim head coach.  College football’s SuperNanny if you will.

In his second go-round as a head coach, Orgeron basically did the opposite of everything he did in Oxford, Miss. He brought cookies back to the training table, had Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles catered, brought back former Trojan legends, gave assistant coaches more control over playing time, and most importantly he made football fun again for USC.

The players bought in. Big time. As the Trojans played more freely, the wins piled up and so did the victory parades for Oregon after each game. So when he wasn’t named the next head coach at USC the disappointment was understandable, as is Orgeron’s desire to be a full-time head coach at another program.

But the reality is that college football and America need Orgeron the interim head coach more than they need Orgeron the head coach. Imagine the joy he could bring going school to school and making football fun  again for seniors who have just had the man that recruited them to a University fired.

Football is all about the all-mighty dollar these days, but with Orgeron traveling the country making it fun again, then perhaps the sport could gain back something it’s lost along the way.

So I’m sorry Coach O, I just can’t let you accept a head coaching job anywhere just yet, America needs you as its interim head coach.

I wonder if Mack Brown has any room on his staff for an energetic Cajun defensive line assistant?…