Never-ending coaching carousel radically altering sport's landscape
College football history tends to conveniently divide itself by decade.
When we think of the '80s, we think of
It was inevitable that a changing of the guard would occur over the course of this next decade -- but who would have thought it would take place within the first two weeks.
While Alabama and Texas clashed last Thursday to decide 2009's national champion,
It took this season's 9-4 tumble and Emerald Bowl appearance to remind us that no program is immune from a downturn -- and to truly appreciate the magnitude of what Carroll has accomplished. In the 12 seasons prior to his arrival, the Trojans won two Pac-10 titles and never eclipsed nine wins. From 2002-08, USC captured seven straight conference crowns and never won fewer than 11 games. This was a Carroll-engineered run, not some USC birthright, and his successor will be hard-pressed to duplicate it.
Carroll's impending departure coupled with the threat of NCAA sanctions (is Carroll making a
This season's hectic and seemingly never-ending coaching carousel has been more eventful than the games themselves, and by the time it's done, college football will have undergone its most radical makeover in nearly a decade.
There will be new coaches at USC (???), Notre Dame (
Two rising stars who became head coaches just a year earlier, Oregon's
To find the last time the landscape changed so considerably, you have to go back nine years, to the 2000-01 offseason. That was the year USC hired Carroll and Ohio State hired
It seems we're staring at the beginning of a similarly seismic sea change. It's impossible to predict what the sport might look like 10 years down the road -- the next Boise State is waiting in the wings somewhere; and someone we've not yet heard of will inevitably become this decade's Meyer -- but we can take a more educated stab at which schools will rule the next several years.
To do so, one need only look back at last Thursday's championship game.
The sight of an unhappily drenched
Off the field, Alabama landed Rivals.com's No. 1 recruiting classes each of the past two years and sits No. 3 now. On the field, the Tide -- who return quarterback
"We do have a lot of good players returning on offense," he said the morning after the title game. "But [with] all the players we're losing on defense ... we're going to have a new kicker, we're going to have a new punter, we're going to have a new specialist, we're going to have a lot of new things."
"We think [Gilbert] has a chance to be a really special player," said Brown.
Brown's program has never been more stable. Defensive coordinator
That's not to say Alabama and Texas will be staging annual BCS Championship rematches. The SEC makes it almost impossible for the Tide or any other team to consistently dominate, and the 'Horns will always have Oklahoma to keep them in line (not to mention reemerging Nebraska).
But Saban and Brown don't appear to be going anywhere, which means their programs should remain among the nation's perennial powers. A whole bunch of others are suddenly in a state of flux.
From nearly the moment news of the Carroll-to-Seattle possibility first broke Friday, it's been widely reported that Oregon State coach
While the Corvallis native (he moved there as an adolescent) is no stranger to Southern California, having spent four years on
Riley, whose teams have gone 36-17 over the past four seasons, recently told the
Hopefully that extension included a significant bump from Riley's current reported salary of $1.1 million to come anywhere close to what USC is capable of paying. (Carroll makes quadruple that.) Riley will almost certainly listen to what that school is offering. But the hunch here is that Riley stays, forcing AD
There are few places more depressing than a losing team's locker room after a championship contest (I will never forget the image of Miami's
But how could I not check in on Colt McCoy?
A class act to the end, McCoy didn't hide from reporters. Though I only stopped in for a few minutes, I'm told he stood there answering questions for the entire allotted half hour. He was visibly shattered (as anyone who watched his postgame interview with
"I don't understand why things happen the way they do," he said. "But I'm a man of faith and I will never question God. Everything happens for a reason. I know I'll be on a championship stage one day."
Though he only got to throw two passes in his lone BCS championship appearance, McCoy will leave behind a considerable legacy. He posted more wins (44) than any quarterback in college history, was a two-time Heisman finalist and led Texas to a 25-2 record in his last two seasons. Yet his career seemed also snake-bitten. A last-second loss to Texas Tech as a junior was likely all that kept him from both winning the Heisman and reaching another BCS title game.
Most notably, we'll never know how last Thursday's game might have played out had McCoy stayed healthy -- though he seemed to have a good feeling. McCoy's father,
"Why did this have to happen?"
I can handle Boise finishing below Big 12 champion Texas, but there's no reason the 14-0 Broncos -- which beat both the Pac-10 (Oregon) and Mountain West (TCU) champions -- should be behind SEC runner-up Florida. Boise finished just four points behind the Gators in the AP poll -- the exact discrepancy between the two teams on
Congratulations to the Tigers on becoming the first five-loss team in six years to land in the final AP poll. Apparently that Music City Bowl win over Kentucky put them over the edge. In fairness, the voters didn't have lot of other options (the only four-loss BCS-conference teams to miss the cut were Oklahoma State and Rutgers), though it would have been nice to see 10-4 Navy get some love.
You may recall that the BCS instituted a rule that goes into effect next season in which the first time the Rose Bowl loses one of its champions (Big Ten or Pac-10), it must take an eligible non-AQ team. Bronco Nation, say hello to Pasadena -- in the
Elsewhere, I figure Kelly will happily transform
All of the aforementioned picks are subject to change over the next eight months.
• Give Texas Tech credit: Tuberville was the one feasible name that will help Red Raiders fans get over the sting of the ugly Tech-Leach split. He brings with him considerable credibility, having produced an SEC championship (and 13-0 season), two division titles and a slew of NFL standouts. "Most players know who I am," he said Sunday. "I've been on TV a little bit. ... So that helps."
The most surprising revelation from Tuberville's introductory press conference is that he intends to keep Leach's Air Raid offense intact (presumably by retaining some of Leach's assistants). That's hard to fathom considering his disastrous attempt to install the spread his last year at Auburn. But if it works, and if he can upgrade to an SEC-caliber defense, Tech may finally win its first division title.
• Leavitt has only himself to blame for being ousted at USF. The school's review into allegations he grabbed walk-on
• Tebow's NFL future -- sure to be a hot topic nationally in the coming months -- may sway in large part on his performance during Senior Bowl week. On Saturday, Tebow became the first quarterback announced for the Jan. 30 game. He called it, "an opportunity to work in an NFL system and do things ... like go under center and take the drops and be in a pro-style system."
• There have been conflicting reports about Boise State's date with Virginia Tech at FedEx Field next season. The game is currently scheduled for Oct. 2, but ESPN and the WAC are pushing the school to move the game to Labor Day night. Boise State AD
• Georgia's search for a new defensive coordinator is into its second month. Previously spurned by Kansas State's
• Meanwhile, Georgia Tech may be on the verge of its own intriguing hire. According to the
• Among the many schools waiting on NFL draft decisions from key underclassmen, keep an eye on Iowa. Star defensive end
• One guy who's already declared he's gone: Central Michigan receiver
• Central Michigan has not yet hired a new coach to replace the departed
• With last week's promotion of Kentucky coach-in-waiting
First it was a resignation. Then it was a "leave of absence." Now, Florida's man of mystery has apparently put off his health concerns to deal with a more pressing matter: Signing the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.
Last week, the school announced that Meyer remains "actively involved" in recruiting and assembling next year's coaching staff -- and it shows. Since Jan. 2, the Gators have procured commitments from five four- or five-star players, including the MVPs of both the Under Armour (defensive end
The Gators have surged to the top of both Rivals and Scout.com's class rankings. Signing Day is Feb. 3.
Meanwhile, Meyer last week pulled a surprise by hiring Miami Dolphins linebackers coach
In a statement announcing the hirings of Drayton and Durkin, Meyer said he "worked together" with interim coach
It's a good thing Meyer told
The Crimson Tide celebrate both before and during their postgame trophy presentation (and Saban even cracks a smile!).
McCoy's emotional postgame interview.
Mini-previews for three of next year's early-season blockbusters:
It's been a pleasure writing College Football Overtime this season. I hope you've found it a worthwhile addition to your Monday morning reading. It's time to focus on the nation's biggest sporting event this time of year ... recruiting.