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Harbaugh to USC rumor seems more like fantasy than fact

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Harbaugh to USC rumor seems more like fantasy than fact

Here’s a rumor that seems a safe bet not to happen – John Harbaugh leaving the Ravens to coach at USC. It has been floated by radio personality Dan Patrick, who said Harbaugh was “high on USC’s short list” to become the Trojans’ next head coach.

It’s understandable why Harbaugh would be high on USC’s list. What’s not so understandable is why Harbaugh would want to leave the Ravens, even at 1-4 for the first time in his career, to coach at USC. Signed through 2017, Harbaugh has made the playoffs six of his seven seasons with the Ravens, including a Super Bowl victory less than three years ago. He is generally regarded as one of the NFL’s top coaches. He has spent the last 18 seasons in the NFL as either a head coach or an assistant coach.

Going to USC would mean leaving one of the NFL’s most stable organizations. It would mean going back to recruiting high school players. It would mean moving across the country to coach at a school Harbaugh has no previous connection with.

Harbaugh’s brother, Jim, did leave the 49ers to coach at the University Michigan. But Jim Harbaugh is a Michigan grad and the school’s former star quarterback. The allure to return to Michigan was natural for Jim Harbaugh, and his relationship with the 49ers front office had reportedly deteriorated.

John Harbaugh, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and owner Steve Bisciotti had enjoyed great success together. USC’s program has taken a step back since Pete Carroll left to coach the Seahawks.

It makes sense for USC to target an NFL coach for its next hire, and expect Harbaugh to be asked about it Friday when he meets with the media. But Harbaugh to USC sounds like a rumor that misses the mark.

[RELATED: Brown: Ravens have been knocked down, not out]


Here is the video of Dan Patrick drawing the Harbaugh-USC connection:
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Despite 4-5 record, Ravens just one game out of final AFC playoff spot

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USA TODAY Sports

Despite 4-5 record, Ravens just one game out of final AFC playoff spot

Their record and performance over the last month may not show it, but the Baltimore Ravens are just one game out of the No. 6 playoff spot in the AFC.

The Kansas City Chiefs (9-1), Los Angeles Chargers (7-2), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2), New England Patriots (7-3), Houston Texans (6-3), Cincinnati Bengals (5-4), Tennessee Titans (5-4) and the Miami Dolphins (5-5) all rank above the Ravens. But a win Sunday against the Bengals would push the Ravens to the No. 6 spot as they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Titans.

Beside remaining in playoff contention, a win Sunday is crucial considering head coach John Harbaugh's job is in question with his team sitting at 4-5, quarterback Joe Flacco is reportedly dealing with a hip injury and the possibility of rookie Lamar Jackson getting his first NFL start. 

After getting blown out 51-14 by the Saints, the Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Monday. Cincinnati's defense ranks last in the league in passing yards allowed (313.3) and total yards allowed (454.6). A rested Ravens team will have to take advantage of the first team in the Super Bowl era to surrender 500 yards in three straight games as they are among five teams within one game of the final wildcard spot. 

Getting shutout by the Bengals this season would give Andy Dalton and co. a two-game lead over the Ravens as well as possessing the tiebreaker. 

According to the New York Times' NFL Playoff Simulator, the Ravens have a 27% chance of making the playoffs heading into Week 11 with their remaining strength of schedule ranking at No. 27. 

After hosting the Bengals on Sunday, the Ravens host the Oakland Raiders (1-7), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) and Cleveland Browns (3-6), but have tough road games against the Atlanta Falcons (4-5), Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) and Los Angeles Chargers (7-2). 

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Robert Griffin III nominated for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA

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Robert Griffin III nominated for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is the team's nominee for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. 

Presented annually by USAA and the NFL, the award honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. 

The Robert Griffin III Foundation supports Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), that helps aid those grieving the death of a loved one who served in the military; Luke's Wings, which united wounded warriors, veterans and heroes with their loved ones; and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, that helps ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving when they return home. 

Griffin III was born in Okinawa, Japan where his parents were stationed as U.S. Army sergeants. The quarterback spent time living in Fort Carson, Colorado, Seoul, Korea and Fort Hood, Texas as a military kid. His family then settled in Cooperas Cove, Texas, an hour drive from Baylor University where Griffin III attended college. 

Finalist for the award will be announced in January. The recipient will be recognized at the NFL Honors award show Saturday, Feb. 2, on the eve of Super Bowl LIII.

RGIII's head coach, John Harbaugh, received the honor in 2013. 

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