Sunday afternoon and evening lit up the Purdue football Twitterverse as a lot was happening.
First, Butch Jones came to West Lafayette via the Purdue trustees' private plane along with his wife. Whatever they did/talked about took around four hours...Then he went back to Cincy without any announcement.
|Not Purdue's plane.|
During his visit on campus, it was revealed that Purdue would be playing in the Heart of Dallas Bowl...but at that point, our Boilers didn't know who they'd be playing. A bit later, it was revealed that they'd square off versus their bowl opponent from 1997, Oklahoma State. And just as Purdue is involved in coaching opening news, so is Okie State...but on the other side of the rumor mill.
The Cowboys' coach is linked to talks for both the Arkansas and Tennessee jobs...and, of course, he won't confirm or deny any of these suspicions. So as Purdue's team looks to follow an interim coach into battle on January first, Oklahoma State might not be following their 8th-year coach...but an interim of their own, should Tennessee or Arkansas get their way.
But, with T. Boone Pickens and his large bags of cash on the side of OK St., who knows what will happen. What we do know is both programs are in separate states of limbo at this point. If you have any questions about the situation, don't ask Pickens, he's an old man...whereas Gundy...he's a (younger) man...he's forty (five).
Oklahoma State is 7-5, and unlike Purdue, had no glaringly-bad losses during the season. In fact, all of their losses came to bowl teams and they were competitive in most of those. Unlike Purdue, they had two wins versus bowl teams, but those two teams (Iowa State and Texas Tech) weren't world beaters. In a ten-team Big 12, they're fourth. In a 12-team Big 10, Purdue is eighth-best in the conference...and the RPI has the Big 12 as a slightly-tougher conference. But, Oklahoma State is a top-five offense in many categories...and Purdue's defense has struggled for much of the year...so that doesn't seem like it's great news for our boys.
We'll talk more about this in the coming weeks. In fact, we've got 30 days to really think about this one and chew on it as the game will be played on January 1.
Before then, Purdue will surely have a new coach...but as of now, we don't know who it'll be.
Burke, Marve and the rest of the team talked about their upcoming bowl game at the late afternoon presser...but Burke refused to answer questions about the coaching situation. Since Jones was brought on campus, I was hoping we'd hear an announcement this afternoon...but since then, we've all learned that he'll be going to Boulder to talk to the University of Colorado about their opening. From everything I've heard, Colorado, like Purdue, is very serious about finding the right coach and is ready to give Jones' a sizable raise to move out West. But, according to Colorado's Rivals site, Colorado's search isn't as far along as Purdue's seems to be.
Jones and his wife met in college in Michigan, and Jones has never worked further West than he currently does...but, he definitely will soon; hopefully it'll be a bit more to the near-West. It seems we'll know either way early this week.
My thought is that a half million dollars is a lot of money, and it sounds like Colorado will offer Jones that much more than Purdue. That's kinda tough to turn down, regardless of where you come from and where you've been. My gut feeling isn't good about this right now...and really, isn't very good about the hiring process at this point. The guy I wanted to see at Purdue took a job at NC State for about $700,000 less than Burke seems to be willing to pay the next guy, and it seems he never really got past the initial phase of this search by the Athletic Department.
NC State's hiring of Doeren over Sonny Dykes shook everything up a bit...Dykes is now rumored to be talking to Cal who is also talking to DeRuyter...who is said to be in the running for the Purdue job along with Dykes. DeRuyter is also said to be a candidate for the Colorado job if Jones doesn't take it first.
Until we see and hear a press conference formally introducing the next coach, it's going to be a pretty tense time. Regardless of when that conference comes, here's to it being the right fit.