How soon can Sark succeed at USC?

The outlook is bright for Steve Sarkisian in his new job at USC. Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

One BCS-level coach recently urged caution for the coach who would take the USC Trojans' head-coaching job. Now we know that will be Steve Sarkisian, an L.A. native who was the Trojans’ chief playcaller under Pete Carroll.

So that message of caution is for Sarkisian, who was 34-29 in five seasons as head coach of the Washington Huskies.

“Those first two years are going to be tough. The scholarship numbers are still a big issue,” the coach told me. “What will the expectation be? Can you deal with that?

“But that third year -- that’s why it’s intriguing.”

It’s no wonder Sark would want to be at USC, where he once played baseball before transferring to BYU to play quarterback. As several coaches have told me, the USC job is just different. “It’s the closest thing that college football has to the NFL,” as one coach said. But it also maintains a close resemblance to something Sarkisian has already been through -- a seemingly very good job that will involve a lot of personnel rebuilding.

So how quickly can Sarkisian get the Trojans going? Will it really take until that third season, as the coach suggested?