All in all, Boise St. Broncos head coach Chris Petersen would be a pretty good replacement for the departed Jim Harbaugh. Tom Dienhart of Yahoo Sports reports the Cardinal have been talking to Petersen during a recruiting trip to California.
Petersen has brought Boise to unprecedented heights. He's recorded three undefeated seasons, two of them leading to BCS berths and Fiesta Bowl victories, and would have had them on the verge of a third BCS bowl if Kyle Brotzman had nailed a field goal in Reno. Petersen is at the peak of his powers, and it'd make sense for him to cash out while his stock is at his high, lest he gets stuck in Boise.
So what should give Stanford pause when hiring him?
- Recruiting at Boise is a lot easier than recruiting at Stanford due to the high academic standards that must be met for its recruits. Boise, by contrast, can sweep through California and Texas and find all the players that the major schools passed over and take most of them unencumbered, regardless of their academic ability.
- Two names: Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins. Koetter took Boise to two Big West Titles, but only achieved middling results in six seasons as the Arizona St. Sun Devils head coach, going 40-34 and a 21-28 record in the Pac-10. Hawkins is the more precautionary tale--he was the coach Petersen replaced at Boise, and he went 53-11, but was an abject failure as the Colorado Buffaloes, with only one bowl appearance, going 19-39 and a 10-27 record in the Big 12. There is a history of successful coaches at Boise trying to hang with the big boys and getting burnt.
- Will Andrew Luck appreciate the hire? It's only a one year thing, but a Heisman-contending quarterback not getting along with his head coach could be a public relations disaster. Petersen does run the pro-style offense with the Broncos and his own Heisman-contender in Kellen Moore, but all pro-styles are a little different.
Stanford will have a tough decision on their hands. Going with the big game will gain them instant credibility, but it's uncertain how well Petersen would translate from the Smurf Turf of Idaho to the perpetual warmth of Palo Alto.