December 03, 2008
It's December, the regular season is over and that magical time of year is just beginning for sketchily-sourced message boarders everywhere. You know what that means -- it's time to break out the first edition of the Doc's official 2008 Coach Swap Board:
Washington. Everyone and his brother is a candidate for the Huskies -- the Seattle Times even teased Jeff Tedford as "a potential successor" to Tyrone Willingham in a Tuesday headline ("UW to get a close look at Tedford," during Saturday's Washington-Cal game), only to say inside that Tedford "had not been contacted by UW and indications are that he won't be a candidate." Meanwhile, in connection with his name surfacing around the Mississippi State job, coveted Boise State boss Chris Petersen said he's staying at Boise, while Brian Kelly flatly snubbed the Huskies and, despite the best efforts of the Wikipedians, Jim Mora remains obstinately uninterested.
Mike Leach allegedly flew to Seattle for an interview Monday, which seems preposterous given the lifetime contract and increased recruiting profile he's secured for himself at Texas Tech. More likely candidates as of early this week are Steve Sarkisian, who interviewed on Thanksgiving, and Fresno State's Pat Hill, who talked about his interview a day after Fresno was hammered 61-10 at Boise State. That game that was supposed to decide the WAC championship at the start of the year -- and FSU may not put up much of a fight to keep Hill, who's now lost seven of eight to Boise and still never won or shared a WAC title.
Syracuse. 'Cuse was thrown for a loop by Chip Kelly's "coach-in-waiting" announcement at Oregon, which was probably in direct response to the Orange's strong push for the Duck offensive coordinator. A new name today is Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, but there's no good reason Syracuse won't look up the road at Turner Gill, who has Buffalo -- freakin' Buffalo -- in the MAC Championship game Saturday.
The Orange have also interviewed another MAC up-and-comer, Temple's Al Golden, who seems to be gaining some traction, and Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. Skip Holtz has lost a lot of the luster on him in September but could still drift further onto the radar, especially if East Carolina wins the C-USA championship Saturday against Tulsa.
Mississippi State. Saddled with a shocking $3 million buyout to Sylvester Croom, MSU is looking young and offensive-minded. Tommy Tuberville does not fit either description, but message board rumors indicate Tuberville could be an option ($) if he's booted from Auburn, where he's been holed up in meetings with the higher-ups for two days, apparently teetering on the brink of a termination. The only hangup there may be Tuberville's $6 million buyout, but more than one report says he's all but finished on the Plains.
With Chris Petersen and both Kellys off the board, Holtz is the one name left that comes closer to the "young, offensive-minded" template, but within three days of an unexpected vacancy, they're still in "throwing names against the wall" phase. No one seems to be sticking yet, and probably won't until a few more pieces fall.
San Diego State. The Aztecs' early short list, according to Rivals, is easily my favorite: Gary Barnett, Dennis Franchione and Glen Mason. If SDSU could get Rick Neuheisel to throw his name into the ring, the collection of slick, slightly sleazy, just-better-than-mediocre, huckster retreads will be perfect and complete. Although perhaps this why they've hired a search firm, to cast a little wider net.