Every December and January has a ton of college football drama. And no, I’m not talking about the bowl games.
I am, however, talking about the coaching carousel. This season proved to be extra dramatic with the firings of Notre Dames Charlie Weis, Texas Techs Mike Leach, and USFs Jim Leavitt. On top of those three big time coaches getting fired, Pete Carroll left his once-powerhouse USC for the pros, and Brian Kelly got his dream job at Notre Dame leaving Cincinnati in the dust after a 13-0 regular season. Despite those successful football schools changing coaches, the coach’s departure that will affect the college football landscape the most is Floridas Urban Meyer.
Boxing Day 2009 was a day that Gator fans will never forget. Urban Meyer announced he would resign from his head-coaching job following the Allstate Sugar Bowl due to health reasons. The next day he changed that and announced he would merely be taking a leave of absence following the Gators bowl game. Depending on when Meyer comes back, this could greatly affect Florida next year. Their defensive coordinator from 2009-10 Charlie Strong departed to take a head-coaching job at Louisville, and losing another member of what I call the coaching trio, head coach, offensive, and defensive coordinators, would quite possibly be very bad for the Florida Gators football team of 2010-2011. If Gator recruit Mack Brown is correct, Meyer should be back on the sidelines in time for the opening game next season at home against the RedHawks of Miami (OH).
I think the most covered story of the year was the potential firing and eventual firing of former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis. After starting off 6-2, which really isn’t even that great at all, I heard ESPN still talking about a BCS bowl game for the Fighting Irish. That really frosted my proverbial pumpkin. What other team in a non-automatic BCS bid conference even gets considered with 2 losses? The answer is none. It might have been a different story if our beloved Irish beat anyone. Their wins were against Nevada, Michigan State, Washington, Boston College, Washington State and at Purdue. I know what you’re thinking and you are right. None of those teams really had good seasons. The Irish ended up losing their last four games to finish the season at 6-6 costing Weis his job.
This opened up the door for former Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly to get the job and leave his undefeated Bearcats to get absolutely embarrassed by the Florida Gators. Do I have a big problem with Brian Kelly leaving in the middle of his contract? Yes. Do I have an even bigger problem with him leaving abruptly to take this job and let his old team get slaughtered by Florida? Yes. This brings up a big issue I have with college football today. These coaches think its just great to sign that ten-year deal worth a whole ton of money, has a big buyout clause, and loads of bonuses. That would be great if any of them actually stayed the whole contract. There is absolutely no loyalty to a program nowadays, everyone just wants to take the biggest name job they can with the most money. Why couldn’t Brian Kelly just stay at Cincinnati and build that program up to prominence? He was already a good portion of the way there. But, here is the big issue I have with coaches leaving so often. When a student-athlete transfers, they are forced to sit out the next year by the NCAA. When a coach leaves in the middle of a contract, there are no repercussions involving time away from the game for the coach. I think that its only fair for a coach to sit out a year too, when they leave in the middle of a contract. Now, if they leave when their contract expires they shouldn’t have to serve that year off. Imagine this situation: #1 QB in the nation signs with lets say USC. After starting his freshman year, his coach leaves for the pros. He is then forced with the decision to either sit out a year and transfer, or quite possibly have an entirely knew coaching staff to win over and offense to learn. Wait, this sounds familiar. Oh yeah, that’s because similar situations have happened twice in the last 4 years. Ryan Mallett ended up leaving Michigan for Arkansas when Lloyd Carr retired, and Rich Rodriguez brought in his spread offense. And now Pete Carroll has left Matt Barkley at USC while Carroll begins to coach in Seattle for the Seahawks.
Does anyone else find it fishy that USC is now constantly under investigation amid recruiting allegations for both basketball and football and their football coach just left before any sanctions were brought upon him or his program? Pete Carroll is leaving just in time to not experience any of the sanctions he will have brought on the USC football program for giving Joe McKnight improper benefits. This whole investigation started when McKnight was driving a Mercedes-Benz SUV to practice everyday. The NCAA investigates for so long that by the time the investigation is over everyone from the team is already graduated. Sometimes the school loses all their wins and any championships they won. Is this justice? Absolutely not. Even if they don’t win a championship the wins the wins USC has in a year usually affect the National Championship picture and if not the championship picture, then definitely the BCS bowl picture. Coaches, NOT programs, should pay for their recruiting violations whether they are a college coach still or not, they should be banned for some time from coaching football. Now, after just ONE YEAR at the University of Tennessee Lane Kiffin is taking over the realm at USC. This change is going to greatly affect this years recruiting class. As of this very second, the day after Kiffin left, Tennessee has already lost 4 4-star recruits for the class of 2010 and 1 5-star recruit for the class of 2011. Due to Kiffins complete lack of commitment, the Tennessee football program is going to be set back a couple years seeing as it is only a month away from signing day and they don’t even have a head coach. If the “student-athletes” have to be committed to one program for four years, unless they want to lose a year, why don’t the coaches have some kind of rule at the very least preventing them from leaving after just one season. Here’s what gets me. Why Kiffin? He was 5-15 at Oakland and 7-6 at Tennessee. USC could have hired much better candidates. A couple names I’ll throw out there: Steve Mariucci, Mike Leach, Gary Patterson.
Mike Leach and Jim Leavitt were fired from Texas Tech and South Florida respectively. Both were fired for some kind of mistreatment of players. Both schools had valid reasons to fire their coaches, but quite frankly, neither should have. I’m on Mike Leach’s side when it comes to the treatment of Adam James. The reports have been so conflicting I honestly think you can’t really take a side and you just need to move on. Tell Adam James to suck it up, so what if you sat in a shed for 3 hours. Boo hoo. Jim Leavitts first recruiting classes at USF were promised at least good practice time, but not necessarily playing time. He was the only head coach in school history, and brought the team from literally nothing to the #2 spot in the division 1 FBS in a record amount of time. Most of the players said that they liked Leavitt, and didn’t want him to leave, but a few babies on the team had him removed.
Former Auburn head coach , Tommy Tuberville, is now the head coach at Texas Tech. This was an absolutely god-awful move on both of their parts. See, Tuberville resigned from Auburn after a 5-7 season in 2008 that ended in one of the worst Iron Bowls ever. The Tigers had one of the worst offenses in the entire country that year. Why? Because Tuberville hired Tony Franklin as the offensive coordinator. Franklin runs the spread offense, which Tuberville figured he had to run to keep up with the rest of the SEC. Obviously, that whole experiment failed miserably. What kind of offense is Tuberville going to run at Texas Tech? The spread. He is already doomed, and I hate to say that. He should have signed with USF. Here’s my logic. Tuberville was a defensive coordinator at Miami for a couple years, so he has connections down there already with high school coaches. Also, look at Pitt, they’ve proved over the last couple years that you can win with a pro-style offense in the Big East. What was Tubervilles best team? 2004 at Auburn when he won national coach of the year and led the Tigers to a 13-0 undefeated season. I’ll refresh you on who was on that team, Ronnie Brown, and Cadillac Williams. Auburn ran the pro-style offense to perfection and dominated, much like he could do at USF.
I know this was pretty long, thanks for reading. Some things may require further explanation, so feel free to comment and ask questions. My next article is either going to be on John Wall being the 1st pick because I will be seeing him live or the stupidity of the idea of a draft in the MLS.