Thursday, December 4, 2014

As the Carousel Turns: Thursday 12/4/14

We have more information on the annual trip around the coaching carousel in college football. More moves were made today, so let's get right into the action...

The Huskers have hit full delusional mode today when they took a huge swing and miss at Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who loudly turned down the offer. I'm not really sure that Bielema was ever an actual candidate, but AD and resident fool Sean Eichorst apparently shares the same agent with Bielema, and so therefore thought this was a slam dunk. Guess again Big Red.
The question remains as to why Bielema would ever even consider leaving Arkansas, where he has the Razorbacks on the cusp of being a serious dark horse in the SEC West next season. Why would anyone really want to go to a job where nine plus wins per year for seven straight seasons gets you canned? Why would anyone really want to go coach a program where you will always be held up to the unrealistic presence of Tom Osborne at every turn, and deal with a fan base that fails to recognize that there has been a seismic shift in the college football landscape over the last 20 years or so, and that a nine win program is most definitely who they are these days?
The answer to that question is apparently Oregon State coach Mike Riley, who chomped down on this gig harder than William Perry on a porterhouse. Yes, that's right, Mike Riley, a guy who just made my 2015 Hot Seat at Oregon State, a guy who is coming off of a record of 11-14 over the last two seasons with NFL talent abounding, is now your new head football coach in Lincoln.
This move reeks of desperation, and I am guessing that the arrogance that is Eichorst and the delusional Husker fan base completely overplayed their hand at the table and realized what folks in Michigan are also finding out. Your job isn't as must get as you think it is.

Speaking of delusional fan bases...well give Michigan fans credit. They are nowhere near as off their rocker as Nebraska fan apparently is these days. I agree that Brady Hoke had to go, but there was no clear plan for a successor other than a hope and prayer that Jim Harbaugh would turn down NFL millions and under appreciative owners to return to where he once roamed as QB. That's not happening.
Of course, option two was a more realistic, if not quite attainable grab at LSU coach Les Miles, who wears proudly the badge of "Michigan Man", all while giving the job the finger when he last had a shot at it. Miles is 61, and may not be interested in starting again, especially when there is absolutely no heat and no reason to leave LSU right now. Miles' next gig is a studio and a golf course, or whatever he does to pass the time when he's not snacking on grass.
That leaves the latest and greatest of fall back rumors in that the new target, according to national media pundits, could be former Rutgers and Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano. You want Big Ten titles at Michigan? Schiano never won a single conference title in a weak Big East during his stay at Rutgers , and was a bust in the NFL. Want to take your offense back 15 years in time, Schiano is certainly your guy for that, but your defense may actually be better, so then there's the trade off. Let's be real here folks. If Schiano is the guy here, then Michigan is in bigger trouble then they care to recognize.
Maybe you can go after Mike Gundy, but you'd have to top whatever T. Boone Pickens is willing to pony up to keep him, and that's is probably more than we can imagine. Wanna go outside the box? How about Willie Fritz or Doc Holliday?

Oregon State
Mike Riley is now gone, and here's the thing...nobody in Corvallis seems to give a good crap. Most pundits seem to think he was on his way out at OSU, and for good reason. Oregon State hasn't been relevant in the PAC-12 in many seasons now, and if you break down his 14 year stay in Corvallis, there were about three of those seasons to get excited about. Most fans won't miss him, and Riley likely did the administration a solid from preventing them for having to fire him next fall/winter. That's a good thing, right?
So now we have to look at who's a fit for the Beavers. First of all, Beaver fans are sick of being Oregon's bitch. Welcome to the PAC-12 club, where everyone else feels the exact same way. Oregon State won't have a shortage of decent candidates, because it's not a terrible job.
One guy who publicly threw is name in the hat today was former Washington, Colorado, and UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, who has been working radio and TV the last few seasons. Neuheisel actually makes some sense for the Beavers, but he also comes with baggage and proved it was much more difficult for him when he could no longer cheat.
Other solid candidates would include Houston Nutt, Ed Orgeron, Montana State coach Rob Ashe, Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin, and Nevada coach Brian Polian. I would not be surprised if Cal OC Tony Franklin also doesn't warrant a call.

It is now official, and Colorado State coach Jim McElwain is now the head coach at Florida. There was much haggling involved here, but Florida negotiated Mac's buyout down to a $2 million guarantee for a CSU visit to the swamp, $3 million from Florida, and another $2 million that Mac would personally cover. Now that all of this is settled, McElwain will reportedly not be bringing any of his staff from Fort Collins with him to Gainesville.

Colorado State
With McElwain now gone, OC Dave Baldwin is now the interim head coach, and in my opinion, if they were smart, they would move to retain him as head coach moving forward, and he could very well retain the staff that has worked so hard the last few seasons to get the Rams winning big. To me, this would be a no brainer. Being that there are no other candidates named at this point, I would have to consider that this is exactly what the school is thinking.

Based on a report floating through the press, UNLV is currently the worst Group of Five school when it comes to budget deficit at $35.3 million. The next worst deficit is Houston, and it's a difference of a whopping $9 million. Therefore, the following makes sense on a couple of levels.
The Rebels are leaning heavily towards hiring Bishop Gorman High School coach Tony Sanchez. First of all, Sanchez has deep ties with the Fertitta family of UFC fame. Word on the street here in Vegas is that if Sanchez is hired, the Fertitta's will be all in to cut at least a $30 million check to help wipe out a huge chunk, if not all of UNLV's current operating deficit.
The other story is that folks believe because of his current ties that Sanchez would be able to do what virtually no coach in the history of the program can do...keep the best talent in Las Vegas from leaving the state.
Sanchez is coaching Bishop Gorman in the state title game against Reed in Reno this weekend, and it is largely thought that this deal will get done early next week.
If that deal falls through, you can start planning for UNLV to close their doors to the football program, but in the meantime, they will call on Former Giants, Utah, and Las Vegas Locomotives coach Jim Fassel, Ed Orgeron, Houston Nutt, Colorado Mines Coach Bob Stitt, or even UCLA OC Noel Mazzone.

Doug Meacham of TCU and Jake Spavital of Texas A&M are interviewing for this job, but other than some high profile assistants, there has been little movements from the head coaching ranks looking at this job. Stay tuned...

This is a job where there has been virtually no movement. Willie Fritz of Georgia Southern seems to be the most publically favored name floating, and there seems little chance that Clint Bowen will be named head coach, thus removing his interim tag. Once again, as soon as I see functional news regarding this job, I will be sure to post it here. At one time, Ed Orgeron seemed a lock, but he's not even in the game anymore.

FCS News

As previously reported, former UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck is favored to return to Montana, but this job is fluid right now. Montana is one of the best gigs in FCS football, so expect the administration to take their time to get this right.

One of the names attached to this job is as I called, Bill Clark of the late, not so great UAB program. Clark would be a huge hit at Samford, and would likely be the best candidate for the job.

Youngstown State
I will get into this situation deeper in the days to come, but the initial group of candidates I have seen is incredibly unimpressive for a job as solid as this one. I won't get into names, as the list was huge and full of people that I felt were just names snapped out of nothing.

More to come this weekend, as the Carousel continues to turn!

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