All of these
stabs in the dark predictions were written in the last twelve hours...and they're already out of date!
Kentucky has hired Mark Stoops (not Mike, mind you), the DC under FSU's Jimbo Fisher...but there are still a ton of jobs out there that need to be filled and a ridiculously-deep coaching talent pool.
Kick back, grab your favorite beverage and read as we throw some crap against the wall.
Away we go...
It's college football's silly season, the time of year when athletic directors spend millions of dollars of boosters' money to fire the guy on whom they spent millions of dollars to fill the gap left by the guy they fired ... you get the idea. Often, this works out like a hole-in-the-wall bar: it's usually the same guys over and over again, just in different places, and there's always at least one guy who gets thrown out before the end of the night for being a jerk ... nobody can figure out how he got in or got a seat at the bar, and most everyone wishes he'd never come in to begin with. (NOTE: this is not Danny Hope. He didn't work out as a coach, but he certainly wasn't a jerk. Far from it.)
Some guys got fired because they didn't produce: Hope, for example. Some guys got fired because they used to produce and then ran out of something, like Tiller: Jeff Tedford and Bill Cubit fall into this category. Other guys got fired because they could only afford one good player, or because they decided that it wouldn't be a problem to switch to a completely different type of offense even though the offense they were running happens to be both popular and successful right now.
Where will they go? zlionsfan doesn't know, but will happily guess. The only thing better than being a fool is being a fool on the internet for everyone to see.
|Dave Doeren would be handsome in black and gold.|
Purdue: Dave Doeren. Burke isn't messing around this time. Dwindling support and miserable performance changed his mind; with a stack o' cash and a new mindset (we hope), he won't make the mistake of hiring low this time. Doeren's openly available, he's already familiar with most of the area, and he runs an offense that should make Boilermaker fans salivate. (483 yards per game, more than 40 points per game.)
Arkansas: Mark Helfrich. John L. Smith was only a temporary fix; Arkansas really wanted someone who could keep the program near the top of the SEC, so they'll be focusing on candidates with BCS experience. Helfrich runs an offense that will put points on the board while you are still looking for a parking spot, something that might counteract the impressive defenses in Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge and elsewhere.
Auburn: Sonny Dykes. Auburn boosters want to win right now. No, really, like right now, in the middle of the week. (They should have thought of that last season. Maybe "recruiting" someone to replace Newton would have been a better move.) They want offense. Dykes has offense. They have money. Dykes wants money. (Who doesn't?)
Boston College: Butch Jones. BC wants someone who can focus on both athletics and academics. If Jones can get UC players to achieve in the classroom, he can handle BC kids, no problem. His record at Cincinnati might not be good enough to draw the likes of Arkansas or Auburn, but it'll be good enough for the ACC.
California: Tom O'Brien. There are always some ADs who think the new guy just didn't have the right situation at his last job. O'Brien couldn't get it done in Raleigh, but he does seem to have an eye for discipline and grades, things that will be a requirement at Cal.
Colorado: Eric Bieniemy. Jon Embree got just two years in Boulder before being thrown to the curb for ... not being Bill McCartney, I guess. (Who, by the way, went 1-10 in his third season at Colorado.) This was a poor move because Embree is a good recruiter and because Colorado already wasn't a good job to take; it's also noteworthy when a black coach is fired, especially when he wasn't in a good situation in the first place. Bieniemy is a former CU player and the current OC, so there wouldn't be much transition, and hiring a black coach to replace a black coach might take some of the pressure off the CU athletic department.
Idaho: Kent Baer. Interim coach Jason Gesser had the chance to seal the job, but the Vandals went 0-4 under him, including a loss to Texas-San Antonio, so he likely won't get the permanent job. Baer was a candidate for the Broyles Award, ran a solid defense at San Jose State, and is a former Idaho DC.
Kentucky: Willie Taggart. Joker Phillips had three years to get things going at UK; at the end, he couldn't even beat Western Kentucky. If you can't beat 'em, hire 'em, and Mitch Barnhart will do just that, but not after losing out on some bigger-name candidates.
NC State: Gene Chizik. Something of a risk for Kay Yow, given the scrutiny other programs in the conference have been under, but she wants a winning program in Raleigh, and the conference is weak enough that Chizik just might be the guy to push them into the national spotlight.
Tennessee: David Cutcliffe. After the mistakes that were Kiffin the Younger and Dooley the Younger, Tennessee can't afford another flop, not in the SEC and not with a giant stadium to fill. Dave Hart will make the safe move, hiring a former coordinator to stabilize the program.
UTEP: Andre Patterson. Mike Price basically said "I think you should hire this guy." AD Bob Stull wants to fill the position within a month or so, and if he's looking for continuity, there's no reason to go with someone other than the current DC. (Why not Aaron Price? Sometimes it works out better for the son to get a head coach position somewhere that his father hasn't coached.)
Western Michigan: Mike Tressel. The Broncos don't have much leverage, especially not now that the best MAC teams can actually hold their own with BCS teams, so they'll look in-state at some lesser-known assistants. Just as Eastern looked to former Michigan assistant Ron English (who was at Louisville before the Eagles hired him), Western will hit Michigan State. Tressel has had some quality experience under Dantonio at both Cincinnati and MSU, and Western can use his defensive experience against teams like Northern Illinois and Kent State.
I would expect Pat Narduzzi to go to one of the jobs that will subsequently open up, probably Cincinnati. Beyond that, your guess is better than mine.
Arkansas: Chris Petersen
The Razorbacks are mad as hell, and they’re going to spend their way out of their self-imposed outhouse hole in which they’ve trapped their football program! Hiring Petrino was a deal with the devil...and John L. Smith as a bandaid is simply hilarious. But this time, they’re going to throw money at the problem and hope it yields superiority over Nick Saban’s Tide...plus, they probably want a guy that isn’t going to have any baggage.
Auburn: Gary Patterson
Like Ark, Auburn is ready to put a lousy hire behind them...and will spend the dough. Just as Chris Petersen, Patterson has been the apple of a ton of program’s eyes for a long time...and, like Petersen, the time might be now to move since a ton of money is on the table. Chizik’s buyout coupled with Cam Newton’s Dad’s contract (that they’re still dealing with) do cost a lot. But in order for Auburn to continue to pay for the players they’ve got, they need to fill the seats and win with regularity. They’ll get a very good coach in Patterson who will win right away with Auburn’s defensive talent.
Boston College: Dave Doeren
Doeren is a defensive-minded guy who is smart and isn’t getting paid as much as he should be. BC is a school that is pissed off that they’ve dropped off so badly since firing Jeff Jagodzinski a few years ago for having the gall to look at an NFL job. Football karma has kicked their arse since...Doeren would change that.
Cal: Tim DeRuyter
His career has taken him all over the country, but he’s a California kid at heart...and he should be a really good fit for the Cal Bears who are looking to compete with a conference that suddenly has a ton of good coaches...and Lane Kiffin.
WMU: Pat Narduzzi
He already recruits the state of Michigan for the Spartans...and WMU is sick of being mediocre. Narduzzi’s defense could make them a novelty, and a champ, in the MAC.
After multiple coaches and a ton of seasons of drudgery in Boulder, Helfrich will bring back the fun in the incestuous Pac 12. Helfrich won’t win right away...but he’ll make it entertaining.
Kentucky: Charlie Strong
Strong has been winning at Louisville...and is used to not having a ton of academic constraints to contend with. Plus, he knows the area...At Kentucky he’ll have none of those pesky academic rules that keep athletes from focusing on training...and he’ll win right away.
NC State: James Franklin
This move would be odd if Franklin wasn’t currently at Vandy...he’ll help the wolfpack win the conference in two or three seasons.
Tennessee: Jon Gruden
He’s told the media (read as his co-workers) that he’s committed to EsPN. But, this guy loves coaching...and UT’s boosters and AD have a boatload of money to woo him back into it. If I were him, which I’m not, I would enjoy the easy ride at EsPN as long as possible...but coaches wanna coach. If Gruden outright rejects the Vols, Dykes gets the job.
UTEP: Bobby Petrino
If you’re too unethical to coach in the SEC, where do you go? The Southwest, of course. Petrino will have UTEP in the position to bust up the four team playoff in a matter of two seasons. Like him or not, he wins.
Vanderbilt: Kliff Kingsbury
He wouldn’t win right away...but he wouldn’t need to...granted, this is completely based on Franklin leaving, and he might not. But if he was hired away, Kingsbury would be an exciting pick who might be able to compete with every team in the SEC, except Bama and TA&M, within a few seasons.
|Jones in God's Country??|
Purdue: Butch Jones
I actually am still hoping for Doeren to be hired by Burke...and believe that the quiet leak that he’s no longer a candidate might just be his people keeping things on the DL as Burke and he hammer out the details. Maybe not though...and it seems that the Jones rumors are legit. Would you rather coach in the Big East as it crumbles, or take a slight pay raise and move a bit North and West for the might B1G 12/14/16? Easy decision. Burke’s got the money set aside for a guy who can win right away...with Purdue’s team speed, Jones can do that.
I might as well just throw darts. That said, I’ll still be more right than these other two clowns. Here we go.
Colorado – Chizik. This is obviously a wild guess but it’s a program in a big time conference that hasn’t had much of an identity for the better part of a decade. Chizik could blend in here and if he builds a team to 7-8 wins per year, he’ll probably be well-liked – unless he’s being paid an asinine sum of money. It would behoove him – since he’s filthy rich now – to take a modest salary with nice bonuses, so if they do shoot the moon, he gets paid. Of course, this is all very unlikely to happen because Chizik gets $208,000 per month for the next three years as part of his buyout from Auburn. Any salary he makes elsewhere gets deducted from that buyout. So we’ll see.
Kentucky – Hazell. There’s no reason you can’t win some games at Kentucky. It’s a school that loves to win, has a strong alumni base and is willing to play the game, if you know what I’m saying. I don’t think Darrell Hazell is a cheater, but he’s a good coach (one I’d love to have at Purdue) and he built an 11 win team at Kent State that might go to a BCS bowl game. Surely he could bring UK back to respectability.
Tennessee – Butch Jones. I just think that Gruden is fool’s gold. I don’t see why Gruden would want to coach Tennessee at this point. I know they have rabid fans and want to give him a truckload of money, but they’re financially strapped in reality and you’re still competing against the best of the SEC with no real recruiting foothold. All that said, Gruden would be an amazing recruiter. Anyway, I choose Butch Jones for this. Jones makes a lot of money (upwards of $2M) at Cinci so it makes it hard to pry him away for a school like Purdue (aside from offering conference stability). However, a school like Tennessee that is just dying to spend money on people they eventually fire, Jones makes complete sense. He also knows how to recruit in the shadow of a power, as Cinci is in Columbus’ backyard.
Purdue – Doeren. We’ve heard rumors that Doeren is off the board, but we’re speculating that is misdirection as Doeren still has games to coach. I was tempted to but Hazell or Kyle Flood here, but I’ll stick with Doeren just because it feels like it makes the most sense from a lot of perspectives, including the type of guy he is, the background he has, the money he makes, etc.
Boston College – Kirby Smart. Why not? No idea on this one. BC football is kind of a mess, but does have a proud history and thinks they are Notre Dame’s rival. Why not a young, defensive-minded coach from Alabama?
Auburn – Petrino. Auburn is willing to get down in the mud and “play ball.” They proved that in the Chizik era and are still being investigated as a result. And yes, Cam Newton’s situation was cleared… right. I’m sure his dad only offered Newton to other schools for a price and not Auburn – Cam just decided he loved that part of Alabama. Petrino will be perfect for Auburn because he’s a slimeball who wins. They’ll absolutely love him as they drunkenly scream at a scared eagle that slams into the press box windows.
Cal – Helfrich. I don’t have a lot of basis for this one, either, but I think Helfrich will be a head coach sometime soon. He’s another guy I’d love to see at Purdue, but I see him fitting into the Pac12 a little better as he’s almost always coached in the West. He could get Cal’s offense flying again and they’d instantly love him after a lot of frustration recently. Sounds familiar.
Arkansas – Dykes. Sonny Dykes has SEC written all over him. We love the guy and he was our top choice for Purdue (you’re welcome for the list, by the way, Morgan). But we think someone with much deeper pockets will keep Dykes in the south. That’s another thing… proximity might matter in this instance, as Dykes is at La Tech and might not need to move very far. I see Arkansas for him because he just seems to fit to me, he’s not as slimy as Petrino (who as I noted, I think will wind up at Auburn) and he’s one of those guys that it’s fun to think about what he might be able to do with significant resources. Arkansas is a year removed from national title contention – it won’t be a long rebuild. From a football standpoint, this has to be a really attractive job.
NC State – Kingsbury. I don’t know if Kingsbury is going to be a head coach just yet, but if he does get a job, it feels to me like it could be a place like NC State. Theoretically “big” conference but not top tier and thus a risk is worth it to them, yet it’s not taking a MAC job, something Kingsbury won’t do in my opinion.