It's not enough that colleges have to watch out for other colleges when it comes to poaching coaches, but the ultimate trump card of the NFL is always lying in wait as well. Bill O'Brien resisted suitors from the league in the off-season a year ago, but it looks like they'll be back in full force to try to pry him away from Penn State once again. Per Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports, O'Brien has already been approached by both the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings.
O'Brien struggled with the decision last year and ultimately felt he owed it to his players to stay at Happy Valley for a second season, but relations between him and the school frayed some when the school was subjected to more post-Sandusky sanctions than expected, and he also has had three staff members depart recently. His buyout is less financially restrictive than in past years, and, furthermore, there could be litigation over his buyout as well, if the situation escalates, given the penalties the program faced.
As in any season, there are plenty of bad NFL teams. The Texans have already fired Gary Kubiak, the Vikings are likely to part ways with Leslie Frazier, the Washington job could open up, and the Falcons are in the midst of a nightmare season as well under Mike Smith. O'Brien was hired at Penn State under more than difficult circumstances. With heavy sanctions as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, O'Brien led PSU to eight wins and earned Bear Bryant Coach of the Year. In year two, Penn State went 7-5 with freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, and it was announced some of the scholarship restrictions would be reduced. If O'Brien were to depart for the NFL -- with the Texas job now open as well -- the coaching carousel would get a lot more exhilarating.