Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News is reporting that for right now, USC has identified Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin as its top candidate to replace the fired Lane Kiffin. Other names being considered, he reports, include Jon Gruden and Vanderbilt's James Franklin.
There was a time not too long ago when I would have figured that any non-alum Texas A&M coach would be on the first plane to L.A. if USC came calling, but I'm not sure that's the case now. The jump to the SEC has really elevated the football program there, as has Sumlin's work over his first two seasons. The upcoming improvements to Kyle Field will make that place a palace, and being the only SEC school inside the state of Texas certainly has some recruiting perks.
Though Sumlin has worked in Texas or Oklahoma since 2001, he was born in Alabama and went to Purdue. He doesn't have anything necessarily tying him to the Lone Star State. Then again, he also doesn't have any ties to the west coast whatsoever. USC would be a new kind of challenge for him, but I don't get the sense he's itching for a big new challenge. Trying to win the SEC might well be enough, and if so, the Trojans will have to find someone else.