Pac-10 mailbag: Who should Stoops hire?

It's probably no surprise that many of our all-decade stories generated a lot of feedback, much of it the "how the heck can you . . . ?" variety.

Some of you made valid points. If it helps any, when putting together the All-Decade team, I grappled most with leaving off California center Alex Mack, Oregon State running back Steven Jackson, Arizona State receiver Derek Hagan and Washington receiver Reggie Williams.

It's too much to go through each gripe.

That said: Couple of things, Cal fans.

First, Aaron Rodgers?


Rodgers had 5,469 career passing yards and 43 touchdowns.

USC's Matt Leinart, who won the Heisman Trophy and two national championships, passed for 10,693 yards and 99 TDs, most in Pac-10 history.

Again: 99 TDs. That's 336 points more than Rodgers.

Then there's Toby Gerhart. Cal fans preferred Marshawn Lynch.

First, Gerhart was a Heisman Trophy runner-up and Doak Walker Award winner. Second, he accounted for 27 rushing touchdowns this past season. Lynch rushed for 29 in his career.

Gerhart, who sat out his sophomore year with a knee injury, finished with 3,522 career rushing yards vs. 3,230 for Lynch. Lynch was a better receiver, no doubt, but even with his six touchdown receptions, his 35 career touchdowns is still well behind Gerhart's 44.

Now, perhaps, Cal fans, you might argue that Gerhart was surrounded by a better supporting cast?

Do you want to argue that?

Now, Oregon State fans, about Steven Jackson . . . er, it's too much to go through each gripe.

To the notes.

Brandon from Phoenix writes: Considering offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes leaving Arizona [for Louisiana Tech], and Foles, Grigsby, and Criner in place. Which coach out there is a good fit to be hired by Arizona to run the potentially great offense in 2010?

Ted Miller: I do not know what Mike Stoops is going to do, but if he called me and said, "Hey, Ted, love the blog. It's so super awesome! By the way, who should I hire as my next offensive coordinator?" I'd say "Josh Heupel," who is presently Oklahoma's quarterbacks coach.

Stoops might have competition though.

Heupel was the quarterback and Stoops was the defensive coordinator when Oklahoma won the 2000 national championship, so they obviously know each other. Heupel has been working under Stoops' older brother, Bob, so there's a strong connection. And Heupel is a spread guy, just like Dykes is.

The only downside: Heupel is a rising star at just 31-years-old. If he were successful, he obviously becomes a hot coaching candidate -- much like Dykes did.

Still, Heupel would be a great get for Arizona and an outstanding tutor for Nick Foles.

Jai from San Francisco writes: Is Jim Harbaugh really turning down NFL head coaching jobs to stay at Stanford? All my friends from Tennessee, So Cal, & Cincinnati keep telling me not to get all emotionally involved and that all head coaches are the same, but I'm really starting to think he's the one. Am I setting myself up for heartbreak, or can I go ring shopping?

Ted Miller: I'd advise Stanford fans to enjoy the present and be hopeful that Harbaugh sticks around. He's clearly a good coach and good recruiter.

It's always hard to say just how many "offers" a coach actually received. But if we can say Harbaugh was a legitimate candidate at Kansas, the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders, we can conclude that he's not just going to jump at any job, even if the money is better.

Keep this in mind: While he could make a lot of money elsewhere, he's got a pretty good setup at Stanford. Really, is there any better place to live than Northern California if you've got the money to support the lifestyle?

Is Harbaugh going to retire as Stanford's coach? Unlikely. But he may stick around long enough to win a few bowl games and earn the right to take the next step up the coaching ladder.

Bob from the Bay Area writes: As the "Pac-10 guy", who can influence public perception of the conference, I have one small request.Yes, USC won 7 titles. BUT, it shared 3 of them.When writers write that USC won 7 titles without the modifying phrase, it simply reinforces the 1 King and 9 Dwarfs image. "Won outright or shared" is not that many words to modify.

Ted Miller: Fair enough.

USC shared the Pac-10 title in 2002 (Washington State), 2007 (Arizona State) and 2006 (California).

And one of those years, 2002, USC lost the tiebreaker and didn't go to the Rose Bowl.

Gary from Portland writes: The Oregon-Oklahoma replay...sigh. I was at the game and here's what it looked like from the stands. At the time, no one in the stadium knew what really happened. They ran the replay on the jumbotron only once. The fans didn't know. The coaches didn't know. The players didn't know. It was simply a close call that went Oregon's way. (OK benefited from several calls earlier in the game, by the way.) And at the point, guess what? Oklahoma was still leading! It isn't like the blown call handed Oregon the win. It isn't the Oregon's players fault that Oklahoma's defense stopped playing. And still, OK had a chance to win with a field goal after Ducks took the lead -- yet they let the Ducks block the field goal to seal the victory.So, had OK recovered the onsides kick, the surely would have won. But that's not why they lost. A close call went against them, and Ducks outplayed them from that point on.

Ted Miller: Gary makes a valid point that's popular among Oregon fans: Oklahoma was not the first team to lose a game in which a lousy call went against it at a critical moment.

Still -- and most Oregon fans realize this -- that was a horrible, horrible call.

Gerry from Scottsdale writes: Every time someone writes about Pete Carroll winning two national championships, someone insists he only won one and that 2003 doesn't count. What's your take?

Ted Miller: USC won national titles in 2003 and 2004. Period. There is no debate, discussion or question.

It's not valid, or legitimate, or honest to say otherwise.

Sam from Nashville writes: I don't listen to much local sports talk radio, but every time I've tuned in this past week its been about Kiffin. These people hate him. One ridiculous comment after another and the collective Vol fandom has no memory or perspective. Its a big family hate fest out here.I'm looking forward to providing Vol fans some perspective on the West during Oregon's trip east on September 11 and to the unavoidable Neuheisel / Kiffin drama that is sure to come out of LA in 2010.

Ted Miller: I understand where you are coming from, Sam, but a lack of perspective is fundamental to passionate fans.

And Tennessee has as passionate fans as any team in the nation.