It is the middle of the week--no games-which means we can have some more fun with ongoing soap opera of conference realignment and the first shot in the annual coaching carousel fired already by USC with its dismissal of Clay Helton.
Let's start with that.
American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco has argued that his conference deserves more Power 6 than Group of Five recognition.
Makes sense if you see the success of UCF and Cincinnati over the last several years, a contention which is supported by the Big 12's decision to counter its losing Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC with the addition of UCF, Cincinnati and Houston.
That is an argument which still must be settled when the next wave of conference realignments are completed in the next several months.
But after looking at some recent numbers, one coaching trend stands out.
If you are a Power 5 conference school (hint USC) looking for a new coach (hint Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell) be careful.
Fickell's credentials are strong and he has a direct connection with USC because
Trojan athletic director Mike Bohn came to USC from Cincinnati, where he hired Fickell.
Here's why the caution flag should be flown.
Seven former AAC coaches from six schools have moved to Power 5 conference schools and not yet to succeed and in some cases totally failed.
UCF--Scott Frost went from a national ranked contending program at UCF to his alma mater, Nebraska, which has become a non-entity in the Big 10.
His record thus far with the Huskers: 14-22.
His seat gets warmer with each setback.
Houston --Tom Herman was the favorite coaching flavor of the month when Texas made the move to revive its program by hiring Herman in November of 2016, signing him to a five-year contract with a base salary of 5 million dollars a year.
He was fired at the end of last season with an overall 32-18 losses, including 13 losses in the Big 12, a 1-4 record vs. arch-rival Oklahoma and 0 Big 12 titles.
SMU--Chad Morris appeared to be doing a nice job at SMU, guiding the Mustangs from a woeful 2-10 record in his first season in 2015 until his third season when the Mustangs jumped to 7-5--which got Morris the job at Arkansas.
Morris signed a 6-year 21 million dollar contract to coach the Razorbacks in December, 2017.
Arkansas was 2-10 in Morris' first season, the first 10 loss season in school history.
After a 2-8 start in 2018, Morris was fired. None of Arkansas's four victories were against Power 5 opponents. He is the only Arkansas coach to have left with 0 conference wins.
Memphis--Justin Fuente was a rising star with the Tigers when Virginia Tech hired him to replace legendary coach Frank Beamer in 2016.
Fuente has done OK at Tech under tough conditions-replacing Beamer and dealing with COVID issues, but there have been no conference championships, no major bowl invitations and, after an opening 10 victory season in 2016, a steady slide into mediocrity.
Mike Norvell was another rising star at Memphis when he was hired at Florida State to replace Willie Taggart (see below).
Norvell was signed to a 26.6 million dollar 6 year contract.
The Seminoles were 3-6 last season and are 0-3 thus far this season with a stunning loss to FCS opponent Jacksonville State the low point thus far.
The grade would be incomplete right now, but it is following a frightening path that Morris used at Arkansas.
USF--Willie Taggart's career seemed to be peaking in 2016 when he was hired by Oregon following a spectacular 10-2 season at USF.
Two 7-5 years followed which didn't turn any heads other than at FSU, which was looking for a replacement for Jimbo Fisher who had departed to Texas A&M.
The logic must have been that success in the AAC was worth more than mediocrity in the Pac-12 because FSU brought Taggart back to the Sunshine state, where the rain fell in buckets on the Seminoles.
FSU was 5-7 in Taggart's first season, the Seminoles first losing record since 1975 and also were not invited to a bowl game for the first time since the 1981 season.
After a 4-5 start in 2019, Taggart was fired, a move which cost FSU 20 million dollars in buyouts to Taggart and Oregon( to release Taggart from his contract).
Temple-Geoff Collins received his first head coaching job when Temple hired him in December 2016. He turned in pair of winning seasons, the first Temple coach to eveer do that in his first two years, but was then called by Georgia Tech to to jump start a program which appeared to be stalled under Paul Johnson.
Two seasons and 3 games into his return (he was a grad assistant for two seasons from 199-2001) Tech is mired in muck with a 7 wins in 25 games.
So there's some tangible evidence, with a clear message for USC and any other Power 5 schools who might be seeking head coaches.
When it comes to the AAC, tread carefully and let the buyer beware.