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USC's hiring affects Utah, BYU

Published December 3, 2013 9:35 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

USC's hiring of Steve Sarkisian as the Trojans' football coach affects Washington, Utah and potentially BYU. Sarkisian's return to USC, where he spent seven years as an assistant coach, is a rare intra-conference move. So the hiring obviously impacts Washington, which is now searching for a coach, besides enhancing the competition for Utah in the Pac-12 South. And considering how Washington is the likely opponent for BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl, the Huskies' uncertain staffing situation probably gives the Cougars a better chance of winning that Dec. 27 game in San Francisco. Above all, Sarkisian's move is a classic case of good timing in a coaching career. There were rumblings about his status in Seattle in the middle of his fifth season, when the Huskies were wobbling and he seemed unlikely to push through the seven-win ceiling. But Washington responded with four wins in their last five games, finishing 8-4. That made the former BYU quarterback marketable to USC. Sarkisian did a nice rebuilding job at Washington, having taken over an 0-11 team. The Huskies lost to BYU in 2010, but they beat Utah in 2011 and '12. And now he'll be facing the Utes every year in the Pac-12 South.