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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Links (1/9)

So our old pal Jim Mora got canned in Seattle. I'm assuming that was Mike Vick's fault.

His replacement appears to be Pete Carroll, who looks kinda bad here... like when I sold my old Pontiac Sunbird in the mid '90s about six weeks before the doors fell off.

USC's likely target is Mike Riley at Oregon State, because stealing the second-best coach in your conference to replace the best coach in your conference is a good way to make friends in your conference.

And if all of that happens, we're looking at a grand total (so far) of 21 head coaching changes at FBS schools this offseason (i.e. 18 percent turnover).

That's actually down one from last year, when 22 changes occurred at FBS schools, but it's still the fourth most in a year since 2001.

In fact, since Mark Richt's first year on the job at Georgia, there have been 144 coaching changes at the FBS level -- or in other words, one for every other school in D1 college football with another 15 left over. And that's not even including the Pete Carroll situation yet... or whatever the heck Urban Meyer is doing.

Following the 2000 season, we had 25 changes at head coaching jobs at FBS schools. In the next five seasons, that number topped 20 just once. Now, it has happened three times in the last four seasons.

It's hard to argue that schools aren't getting less patient and that the competition isn't more intense. Especially when you have guys like Nick Saban who turn around a program in three years and never crack a smile.

Along with the turnover comes big money, too. Georgia Sports Blog looks at the escalating contracts for college coaches and sees no end in sight. Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen, but it no doubt will make life more complicated (and make the fact that players have to maintain amateur status while their coaches make $10 million a year even more absurd).

In the SEC, there has been just one official coaching change this year, with Rich Brooks stepping down at Kentucky to make room for Joker Phillips. Had Brooks stayed on one more year, it would have been just the second season this decade in which the SEC didn't have any coaching changes. (Again, depending on what happens eventually with Corch Meyers.)

And while it's the SEC that drives the bus in terms of economics, it's pretty easy to see how the price tags for top coaches keep going up. The fact is, there aren't many truly great head coaches. It's a limited and scarce commodity.

On the other hand, the top jobs in college football used to have tons of stability. But just this offseason we've seen coaching changes at Notre Dame and Florida State, potentially another at USC and potentially another at Florida. Those are four of probably the 10 most coveted jobs in the sport. Add to that the notion that a bad season in 2010 could certainly open things up at Michigan and LSU and you have two more big jobs available. Saban's making nearly $5 million a year, but if those six schools got in a bidding war for his services tomorrow, he'd be earning double that.

So what does all this mean? I dunno, really. It's just the marketplace at work. But it should be a reminder to all of you who wanted Mark Richt's head on the chopping block that, 1.) His salary is pretty darned reasonable compared to other top coaches, and 2.) Finding a replacement with better credentials won't be an easy (or inexpensive) task.

In this day and age, the most prudent thing a school with a successful track record can do is be patient.

And now, some more links, many of which are also coaching-related...

-- Leather Helmet Blog says he's hearing that Kirby Smart is likely to leave 'Bama and that Georgia seems the more obvious destination. I can't confirm (or even bolster) anything he writes, but I'll say this: I'd be less surprised by all of that today than I was two days ago.

-- Tim Tucker takes a second look at Nick Saban's post-game news conference quotes and reads a few tea leaves along the way to predict that, just maybe, there was some pointed advice in there for Kirby.

-- Red, Black & Three Sheets to the Wind has some advice for Georgia fans if the hire happens to be Todd Grantham: Get excited! (That said, now that the Kirby Smart stuff is heating up again, how can Georgia fans be expected to be excited over anyone who is not Kirby?)

-- T Kyle King isn't getting too worked up about either candidate, but he sure as heck wants someone to get hired soon. (And to answer your question, Mr. King... let's say, Tuesday at 6:52 p.m. First round of panic-related whiskey shots are on me.)

-- Georgia earned seven votes in the final AP poll but it was still the first time in 13 years that they didn't finish in the top 25.

-- The AJC has its list of the top 50 football recruits in the state. Georgia has the first two locked up, but doesn't have another in the top 10.

-- Former Georgia linebackers coach John Jancek found a home with some ties to his past.

-- Yesterday I posted a link to a story where Peyton Hillis knocked Knowshon Moreno, and dozens of Denver fans followed suit. Today, here's a link to a site hoping to defend the former Bulldogs RB.

Just as a side note, since a lot of people were shocked by how hard the Denver fans were on Knowshon, I'll say this: Knowshon is a really likable guy when you get to know him, but fans never get to know players. What you also get to know is, when Knowshon isn't on the football field, he really doesn't care about football at all. (You'll remember that he didn't know who Roger Goodell was and he forgot to file his paperwork with the NFL advisory board.) He takes his game extremely seriously, but he doesn't get caught up in all the other stuff like fans do. And at the tail end of a season in which Denver started 6-0 and dropped eight of their last 10, I can see how that would rub some fans the wrong way. But again... I think that's because they don't really know Knowshon.

-- Mark Fox's crew may be riding high after beating Tech, but the task gets a lot tougher today in Lexington.

-- Georgia Tech is the "Waterworld" of BCS teams. No ratings. No attendance.

-- Two more big stories at Tech: BeBe Thomas is headed for the NFL and it's the end of the line for defensive coordinator Dave Wommack.

-- Georgia Sports Blog links to this yesterday, but Andy Staples' column for SI following the national championship game is really one worth reading.

-- It's not that I want to dislike Urban Meyer. I want to be objective and dispassionate. But man, this just makes me mad. And I assume it makes his wife even more mad.

-- The late-night shake-up is likely to send Conan O'Brien packing... for FOX. I actually see that as a good thing.

-- R.I.P. to the creator of Gumby. And while we're at it, a long-delayed R.I.P. to Eddie Murphy's career.

-- I can forgive his failure to pass a decent health care bill or his broken campaign promises or his lack of a decent means of satire on "Saturday Night Live"... but if Obama postpones the premier of "Lost" for his State of the Union address, I'm gonna be very, very angry. Luckily the creators of the show are already trying to strike a deal.

(And actually, the White House seems to have already addressed the issue promptly. Now, if only they did the same for the flammable underwear guy, they could have saved Glenn Beck a lot of heartache.)

-- Meanwhile, ABC is trying to find a way to keep "Lost" alive -- in some form or fashion -- after this season. (I can only assume it will be a travesty, whatever it is.)

-- The return of "Flash Forward" got pushed back another two weeks. Does anyone care anymore?

-- Alyson Hannigan has a favorite for who she'd like to be the mother on "How I Met Your Mother."

-- And finally, this is a pretty sad story about what Roger Ebert's life is like now. He seems to have a good attitude about it... but I just can't imagine.


Carter said...

Blaming Knowshon for Denver's troubles is ridiculous. Outside of Clady, who is a better pass-blocker than run-blocker, the offensive line is pedestrian at best. The line was put together as a smaller, zone-blocking Shanahan-style unit, and with McDaniels they are adjusting to a new blocking philosophy. Furthermore, Orton has the weakest arm of any starting QB in the league, so defenses can regularly put 8 men in the box. Before the draft I had really hoped that Knowshon would slide to San Diego as an eventual replacement for Tomlinson.

NCT said...

Assuming LSU and Michigan are another two of the ten most coveted coaching gigs (along with USC, ND, UF, and FSU), where are the remaining four? I'd guess Texas, tOSU, Oklahoma, and, erm, Penn State? Or is the last prestigious only because Paterno makes it so? Oh. Bama instead, I guess.

And if you and Kyle come to Atlanta, I'll get the second round. Might I suggest Manuel's? It's comfortable for newspaper types, and I don't think the Democratic aura there is so strong that Kyle's feelings would be hurt too awfully much.

Officer Slater said...

Cracking a smile is not part of the process.

Hobnail_Boot said...


Orton has a decent arm, nowhere near the weakest in the league. In addition to being built for a different offense, the Denver line battled injuries all season long, particularly on the right side.

Wouldn't shock me at all to see them draft a couple OL high and go after Logan Mankins in free agency.

JasonC said...

David, can you or your Tech writer start writing stories about how now that Tech fired it's DC that its recruiting is in jeopardy? We need someone to balance out all the crap from the AJC.