December 15, 2008
Big changes over the weekend on the big coaching board:
WTF with Turner Gill? This was Gill's moment: He took Buffalo to a conference championship. Somebody should be taking the bait here. You take Buffalo to the title, you get a bigger, better job. You do not get passed up in favor of a guy whose team just lost 10 games in a row. I have a very hard time swallowing the race bait; we are talking about educated, wordly people who can't afford to be racist, from a competitive standpoint, and it's not like people at Syracuse and Auburn didn't want to hire him, or weren't aware of the very good PR if they had (though clearly they weren't expecting such bad PR for not hiring Gill). Maybe he's a bad interview. Whatever: These windows are small and precious, and this one seems to have closed.
With Auburn and Syracuse both falling to uninspiring names on Friday and Saturday, it looks now like Gill has two choices: Take the scraps (i.e. Iowa State) or remain at Buffalo and wait for the next round of openings next winter. What happens, though, when Buffalo looks more like Buffalo again? Who calls then? And is the high likelihood of regression there really less likely to lead to a major gig down the road than assuming another dead-end rebuilding job at Iowa State, where he's liable to go 5-19, too? Either way, the historical odds in both cases are against his continued success, and the longer it takes for Gill to land the big fish, the less likely it is to ever come within his reach again.
Iowa State. The Cyclones are feeling betrayed by Chizik's departure, especially athletic director Jamie Pollard, who said today that Chizik told him twice he was going to turn down Auburn, including once on Saturday, the same day he took the job. Of course they were taken off-guard: Why in the world would anyone want a coach on the hot seat at Iowa State?
With no advanced warning, the first name that came to mind for the ISU faithful was an old one, Dan McCarney, whose five bowl games in six years from 2000-2005 looks pretty good after two years of Chizik. That's sort of a joke -- McCarney's no Bill Snyder, and Snyder's return to Kansas State is a bizarre move, anyway -- but you got any better ideas on short notice? Of all the initial names thrown against the wall -- including a couple old standbys, Gary Barnett and Dennis Franchione (what, no Terry Bowden?) -- Gill is certainly the fan favorite, just like he was at Auburn, if he wants to get out of Buffalo and on to a bigger job that badly.
But even the Cyclone message boards aren't quite in the "name I just heard ..." mode yet. Iowa State has no competition in the major conferences and can afford to take its time.
Army. Please please please let Army hire a head coach named "Steed Lobotzke." Please.