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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Get Your Resumes Ready

With the resignation of Tommy Tuberville yesterday, there are now 11 jobs open in Division I college football. Looking around the landscape, I'm not quite sure how Tubs ends up at any of them -- or why he would want to -- but it could be a situation where he collects a check and sits around for a year waiting for the right gig to open up. I'm sure ESPN or CBS could find some room for him in a broadcast booth, too.

Of course, someone needs to fill those 11 openings, and if you're a head coach looking for a gig, here's how I would rank the slate of jobs currently available.

1. WASHINGTON. At first glance, this doesn't seem like the best job in the world. Given the Huskies 0-11 record this season, it looks like U-Dubb is a long way from a turnaround. But there's a lot to like here: Low expectations following the Ty Willingham disaster, a strong but relatively patient fan base, a great city to live in, and residence in a BCS conference which really has just one dominant team. The downside is that the Pacific Northwest isn't the most fertile recruiting ground, but if Boise State can field a competitive team year in and year out, there's no reason Washington can't. If Mike Leach is leaving Texas Tech, he'd probably be a lot better off here than Auburn.

UPDATE: It sounds like USC's Steve Sarkisian has landed the Washington job. You'll remember that the Raiders actually wanted to hire Sarkisian a few years back before going with fellow USC coordinator Lane Kiffin. Also of note, Syracuse has interviewed Doug Marrone, the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator (and former UGA O-line coach). Why in God's name do they insist on looking to the NFL for a coach? How about someone who can recruit!?!?

This is a good job, no doubt, but the hurdles for the next head coach are high. Alabama is clearly on the upswing, and Auburn is clearly on the downswing, and Mike Shula learned just how hard it is to turn that momentum. Given what happened to Tommy Tuberville, the fans clearly aren't going to give any coach a long leash, and beyond Tub's firing, there's also the little incident of boosters trying to run him out of town a few years ago, too. This job needs to be filled by a coach with a lot of confidence and credentials or it could get ugly quickly.

3. SYRACUSE. Pardon my bias on this one, but I actually think Syracuse is a great job for the right coach. The Big East is winnable year in and year out, and Central New York actually has some pretty strong recruits -- it's just that Greg Robinson couldn't keep them. The school has a strong history of great football from Jim Brown to Ernie Davis to Donovan McNabb. Still, it's a basketball town first and foremost and the Carrier Dome doesn't exactly woo recruits. Cuse needs someone young, hungry and excited about recruiting -- not another NFL guy. I'd love to see Turner Gill here.

This is either the best bad job in America or the worst good job. How this program so utterly underachieves in a bad conference year in and year out is completely inexplicable to me. There is so much football talent in Southern California that USC could probably field three teams and still be better than any one in Washington. Still, SDSU manages to stink every year since Marshall Faulk left. The Aztecs supposedly have some big names like Gary Barnett and Dennis Franchione on their wish list, so clearly its a place the right coach thinks he can win, but history says otherwise.

5. NEW MEXICO. This is far from a marquee job, but the Mountain West is coming close to being the seventh BCS conference over the past few years. The top of the league (BYU, Utah, TCU and Air Force) was probably as good this year as the top of the Pac-10 or Big Ten and better than the Big East, and Rocky Long's 11 seasons in NM illustrate its a place a coach can have longevity and win a few ballgames. The job isn't exactly a star maker, but Urban Meyer showed what dominating the MWC can do for a coach's career.

6. BOWLING GREEN. Speaking of Urban Meyer, this was his first stop. Bowling Green is conveniently located in a decent recruiting area and a winnable conference, both of which make this a nice first stop for a hot assistant looking to make the leap to head coach. There's a lot of potential here, and while the MAC isn't exactly the SEC, it routinely has at least one or two teams reach some level of national prominence, as Ball State has this year. This is probably one of the top transition jobs in the country for the right candidate.

The only reason MSU is this high is because it's in the SEC and the money will probably be good. The problem is coaches need to approach this job the same way a running back approaches a contract in the NFL: Get as much cash as you can upfront because longevity doesn't come with the job. Yes, it's probably a better job than BG or NM, but there's just no security here. Sly Croom did a nice job turning around the culture at Mississippi State and actually making a bowl game last season, but it's nearly impossible to win year in and year out in Starkville, but because it's an SEC school, the demand for success is still there. The most likely name here -- and it's not a bad one -- is Derek Dooley, the son of former UGA coach Vince Dooley and the current head man at La Tach.

8. TOLEDO. This is quietly a nice job for an up-and-coming coach. Toledo isn't the biggest name in the area, but it is in a fertile recruiting area, and Ohio State can't take all the talent. The last coaching staff, however, didn't do much to get high level (at least by MAC standards) talent into the program and the results were a 3-9 season. Two of the names being mentioned as possibilities here will be pretty familiar to college football fans: Mark Stoops and Jay Paterno, currently assistants on the staffs of their more famous family members.

Update: Tim Beckman, defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, was named Toledo's new coach today (h/t Sen. Blutarski). I think this is probably a very good fit for both.

9. MIAMI (OH). Ben Roethlisburger ain't walking through that door, and even with Randy Shannon's crew playing well below their historical standards, Miami (OH) will never even be the best Miami in Division I. The Redhawks were 2-10 last year and one of the names being mentioned this season is Syracuse's offensive coordinator. That should tell you all you need to know about this job.

If Hal Mumme can't win there, who can?

11. EASTERN MICHIGAN. The person who gets this job can say they are a head coach of a Division I school, so they'll have that going for them. Which is nice.


Senator Blutarsky said...

David, FWIW, Toledo is expected to announce the hiring of Tim Beckman, defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, as its new head coach today.

Anonymous said...

Just read on espn that Derek Dooley is also a top consideration for the Auburn job as well.

That would be a stab in the back.

Ubiquitous GA Alum said...


Good analysis, but I'd change the New Mexico State write up to read ..

If Hal Mumme can get hired here, who can't?

Anonymous said...

re:stab in the back-

That is what Dooleys do.

Anonymous said...

Why would that be a stab in the back? Do you think the Dawgs are planning on offering him the head coaching job?