by Raymon Thomson, Lead Contributor
With the 2012 college football season nearing it’s end, teams are not wasting time jumping on the college football coach carousel. Here is a list of the five coaches who will be looking for new gigs:
Gene Chizik (Auburn)
Joker Phillips (Kentucky)
Derek Dooley (Tennessee)
John L. Smith (Arkansas)
Jon Embree (Colorado)
Out of these coaches, Gene Chizik was the biggest surprise due to winning the National Championship just two years ago. However, word is that things have deteriorated worse than many people realize, with many high school recruits not performing up to satisfaction and an overall degradation to discipline in general on the football team. Oh, and going winless in conference play didn’t help either.
The question is who will the teams get as replacements. Former Arkansas coach and offensive guru Bobby Petrino has already been mentioned for Tennessee – as well as every other team that needs a coach – but Tennessee administration has flatly denied any interest in him. Something tells me that Petrino will be walking the sidelines at some college soon but the question remains if Petrino has been in “time out” enough for his transgressions to satisfy the need for retribution by alumni at another school (losing makes people compromise their morals, and I have a feeling his return will be next year).
Another interesting option that has been brought to light after UCLA’s incredible one year turn around under Jim Mora is whether or not he could be looking in areas rarely considered. Mora has led UCLA from a 6-8 2011 season to 9-2 so far in 2012 with no college football coaching experience and a so-so NFL coaching resume. The verdict is still out on how he will do in years to come, and SEC teams might be hesitant to bring in an outsider with no SEC history. But it might be an avenue that teams such as Kentucky would be willing to consider.
The one not SEC team, Colorado, fired Jon Embree after just two seasons. During a tearful interview, Embree stated that he wasn’t given enough time to build a winning team after several years of steady decline in talent under the watch of Dan Hawkins, and there was no way to build a competitive team within two years without cutting corners and making sacrifices to such things as education. The Colorado administration later stated that they will not compromise their values, and will be looking for someone whose beliefs are more akin to their own. But Colorado thought that they can go from a one win season to being a contender in the Pac-12 in just two seasons is a testament that someone in Colorado is taking advantage of the state’s new marijuana legalization laws.
The firing of four SEC coaches before the season is officially over is a testament to the competitiveness and high expectations to win in what is arguably the toughest conference in college football. So hold on, it is going to be a very interesting off season.
by Brandon Halsey
I find it interesting four of the 5 teams already without coaches are SEC schools. If Bobby Petrino doesn’t crash his motorcycle he’s probably still the head guy in Arkansas and they probably have a much better season than 4-8 overall and 2-6 in conference play. I agree with Raymon that losing forces people to change their moral code to a certain extent which essentially means Petrino will be walking the sidelines of either Tennessee or Auburn next fall. If Charles Barkley gets his way, Petrino will be coaching Auburn.
It’s amazing how cutthroat the business of coaching is. One minute you’re hot and the very next tick of a second you’re not. If I’m Gene Chizik I’m making a phone call to Cam Newton to see if he has any younger brothers or cousins playing high school football. Just two years removed from a National Championship he’s a goner. If Chizik’s championship run was to happen at an ACC or Big Ten school he still has a job and would probably have a leash a million miles long – just look at how long Lloyd Carr was able to stay in Michigan. As long as Nick Saban’s the coach of Alabama he’s going to be winning and Auburn will always struggle with in-state recruits, therefore, finding the right coach will be extremely difficult. And the reality is most of the better candidates will be likely to decline an opportunity for Auburn over Tennessee or Arkansas. Tennessee is one of the better coaching gigs in the country despite how irrelevant they’ve recently been. Derek Dooley was a guy Tennessee alum really liked because he wore Volunteer colored pants, and then they kept losing and they didn’t like him much anymore. If a coach walks into Tennessee and starts winning, they’re heroes.