By Dennis Dodd, Special To CBS Sports
STANFORD (CBS Sports) — Stanford might be the one that Chris Petersen takes.
I’m talking about the hotter-than-July Boise State coach who has been perfectly happy in his job. Now that Jim Harbaugh surprised absolutely no one by going to the 49ers, there is an interesting opening at an interesting place. Harbaugh proved that you can win big on The Farm, producing a season for the ages in 2010.
The prospects for 2011 are even better — 17 returning starters including Andrew Luck, a likely top-five preseason ranking. Yes, I’m saying that the Cardinal can compete for the national championship.
With the right coach. Petersen might be that guy. The Boise coach’s name comes up for literally every job opening. He has built a BCS-busting program that lately has added a shut-down defense to a usually explosive offense. He’s also completely happy in Boise, a mini-Oregon that turns two-star players into superstars. Could “Pete” be pried loose by Stanford? It’s on the West Coast. Harbaugh proved you could win there despite the academic restrictions. The media crush — something that bothers Petersen — wouldn’t be much.
Petersen played and began his coaching career at nearby Cal-Davis (104 miles separate the two schools). He knows West Coast (particularly California) recruiting. He’s a proven winner. Going to the Pac-12 would be a step up in competition but Petersen has proved he can compete in the BCS arena. Think about the prospect of coaching Luck.
If Petersen says no, then the favorite seems to be Stanford assistant Greg Roman, a 37-year-old with 13 years of NFL experience.
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