DALLAS — Southern California offensive coordinator Tee Martin was the quarterback on Tennessee’s 1998 national championship team.

As the Volunteers went through a fiasco of a coach search a month ago, Martin was a popular choice among the Tennessee fan base. When word leaked that Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano’s hiring was imminent, that fan base exploded and the offer was eventually rescinded.

Martin said on Wednesday, two days before USC meets Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl, that Schiano would have been a good choice for Tennessee.

“It was a tough deal,” Martin said. “I have a lot of respect for Greg and what he’s done in his career as a football coach. When his name came up, I thought, ‘Wow, he’s a really good football coach.’ I thought it would have been a good fit.

“Obviously, it didn’t happen and it kind of took its path of however that happened. It is what it is. I can’t really speak too much to what went into that. But when the name initially got announced, I was like, ‘that’s a heckuva coach.’ ”

Martin said Tennessee did not ask him to interview for the job. Asked if he thought he got a fair shake from his alma mater, Martin replied, “Whether it’s fair or not, that’s debatable. For me, it’s all about timing and the right timing and the places.”

He said he wasn’t in a rush to go back to Tennessee, or anywhere else for that matter.

“I feel I have the best job in America — other than being the head coach at USC — being the offensive coordinator at USC,” Martin said. “Whether it’s Tennessee or anywhere else, it has to be the right situation.”