With Idaho’s Robb Akey the first head coaching casualty of the college football season, it’s time to consider which men are forced to re-learn their kids’ names in January and which athletic directors need their jobs done for them by consulting firms.
Gene Chizik is the obvious and high-profile candidate headed for Bobby Lowder’s firing squad. His buyout ($7.5 million) sounds steep but SEC boosters and Chizik’s likelihood to find a defensive coordinator fit means the number decreases rapidly. Should the 2013 recruiting class remain mostly intact for the incoming coach, there’s talent at Auburn. This is a desirable gig and any doubt Bobby Petrino would trade in his motorcycle for the opportunity?
Dave Christensen’s bizarre outburst embarrassed his administration. Does that put him on the hot seat? You bet it does, “fly boy.”
Skip Holtz received a five-year extension last winter but he refuses to win Big East games. That’s sort of important and an utterly confounding premise in Tampa. Recruit Sunshine State athletes + any fundamentals at all = win conference titles. I think Isaac Newton wrote that equation. If I was a precocious offensive coordinator, I couldn’t apply for this job fast enough. Everything exists to control the Big East and cash in on an ACC-SEC-Big 12 job.
John L. Smith has endured a difficult year on and off the field. In Fayetteville, a season that started with dark horse national title aspirations concludes with athletic director Jeff Long intent to name a successor by December. Charlie Strong, Butch Davis and a number of other suitors will earn mention as long as they express an undying loyalty to brunettes.
You have to feel for Big Blue Nation because before the Auburn and Arkansas implosions, I felt they had a legitimate shot at Petrino. Now? Willie Taggart can probably pass and a non-BCS head coach or young coordinator represents the best route. Kentucky misses the mark by not hiring World Wide Wes as a part-time recruiting coordinator.
Mack Brown isn’t in danger today but a 6-6 finish might provoke the billionaire boosters in Austin to act. Along with Southern California and Florida, this is a destination job. Sure, the Longhorn Network might request to film your mid-morning dump. At $5-6 million annually, is that really a deal-breaker? The first call to Nick Saban probably generates a rejection, though it must be made. Gary Patterson, Chris Petersen and yes, even Will Muschamp line the hypothetical burnt orange rumor mill.
The Frank Spaziani era hasn’t moved past mediocrity but regressed in 2012 to pig slop. I’ve seen Al Golden’s name connected to this opening. It makes sense given the sanctions looming at Miami and Golden’s east coast heritage. If that hire happens, it’s a coup for Boston College.
Derek Dooley, aside from winning out, probably earns a merciful pink slip in Knoxville. From shower instruction to a stool on the sideline to never beating anyone tangibly better, Dooley’s done nothing to make the Volunteer faithful forget Lane Kiffin or Phil Fulmer. Recruiting territory notwithstanding, this is a job that pays handsomely at a traditional institution. Jon Gruden isn’t a pipe dream given his wife’s alma mater and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart remains in play.