The Stanford Cardinal have a prestigious football program chock full of history, but it is also presents unique challenges for whoever replaces David Shaw.
Among them is the extremely high academic standards, middling football facilities and the uncertain future makeup of the Pac-12 Conference.
Shaw stepped away late Saturday after 12 seasons. The program he left behind has increasingly struggled to be competitive, winning just three games in each of the past two seasons.
Can Stanford attract a marquee name to spearhead a new era, or will the Cardinal have to dive into the pool of promising young assistant coaches?
Former Boise State and Washington head coach Chris Petersen has been installed as the 3-1 favorite by SportsBetting.ag to be the Cardinal's next coach. With Petersen's strong West Coast ties and successful background rebuilding programs, he will likely remain the favorite until he says he's not interested in the job.
The next shortest odds belong to an interesting potential candidate in Troy Taylor, who is being offered at 4-1. A former quarterback for Stanford's bitter rival Cal, Taylor led FCS program Sacramento State to an 11-0 record this season and a No. 2 national ranking leading into the playoffs.
Stanford Next Coach Odds:
Chris Petersen, 3-1
Troy Taylor, 4-1
Bronco Mendenhall, 5-1
Mike Bloomgren, 6-1
Brent Brennan, 7-1
Derek Mason, 8-1
Tom Herman, 10-1
Bill O'Brien, 11-1
Greg Roman, 12-1
Troy Walters, 14-1
Ryan Walters, 16-1
Pep Hamilton, 18-1
Dave Aranda, 20-1
Dave Clawson, 25-1
Jim Harbaugh, 50-1
The list includes a wide array of veteran Power 5 coaches, rising assistants and names with Stanford history.
Mendenhall stepped down from the Virginia job after last season and also has strong West Coast ties following his 11-year tenure as BYU's coach. He won 99 games at BYU before moving on to Virginia, where he produced six seasons with at least eight wins.
The 45-year-old Bloomgren took over at Rice in 2018 after spending seven years on Shaw's staff, including the final five as Stanford's offensive coordinator.
Or could the Cardinal look an hour south to San Jose State and try to lure Redwood City, Calif., native Brent Brennan to Palo Alto?
Shaw's final few years at Stanford left a lot to be desired, but he also departed as the program's all-time winningest coach.
Who replaces him remains to be seen -- and who the realistic candidates are could be determined by how the administration approaches the search.
--Field Level Media