Jimbo Fisher will break your heart. After making overtures to the Florida State head coach, and after his usual cryptic dilly dallying, it seems that Texas A&M will not land Jimbo Fisher after all. This is a tremendous black eye for the Aggies, as it does not seem there is an immediate Plan B, who had gone all-in after one of the few active coaches with a national title. For Fisher, it is another chance to extort a raise and extension from the ‘Noles, a move that he and Jimmy Sexton have grown adept at in the last few years.
I honestly don’t know where the Aggies turn. Gus Malzahn would be a good move, as he actually has played for a MNC and won one as a coach. The personnel are basically in place for Gustav to happen. Maybe lure Gary Patterson out of Fort Worth? The Aggies have money and talent, it’s a matter of deciding which direction the program will go. I don’t think even Aggies have the answer there.
Ole Miss has found its Mike Shula, pulling the interim tag off of long-time assistant Matt Luke. Luke went 6-6 this season while the Rebels were plagued by injuries and the constant threat of NCAA sanctions descending upon them.
That Ole Miss settled on Luke tells you a few things about those sanctions: 1. They’re coming any day, now that season is over, and 2. Administrators project that they’re going to be bad or so protracted that the Rebels can’t attract a quality coach to a program still loaded with (ill-gotten) talent. The Shula analogy here is apt: .500 coach who is willing to weather the storm for his alma mater.
Hell, Ole Miss could have done worse. That the Rebels didn’t (at least publicly) try to do better is what should worry everyone in Oxford.
Arkansas has been ruthlessly efficient about all of this: staying mum on its prospects, while targeting long-time Clemson DC Brent Venables and Memphis wunderkind, Mike Norvell. Either would do a good job and come at an affordable price tag — which the Hogs will need after dropping almost $6 million on Bret Bielema’s buyout. I still think this is a smokescreen, and these are Plan B candidates. Beside Alabama, I’ll bet Arkansas admins are the most pissed at Alabama for losing the Iron Bowl. The fullcourt press for Malzahn will be real — just as soon as the Hogs have permission to speak with him.
Finally, after reaching a written memorandum of understanding, and then submitting a contract where at least one party apparently signed, the Vols have backed off of Greg Schiano (that writing becomes important later.)
Volunteers fans were irate at the hire, feeling they were settling for mediocrity (as they do, overestimating the quality of job that Tennessee really is and mainly is not.) It was in the middle of this hillbilly mob that the manufactured rage of “BUT PENN STATE” arose. The sum of the flimsy character assassination runs this way: Greg Schiano worked at Penn State. Someone told someone else that Schiano may or did know what was going on with Sandusky.
That’s it. Period. Greg Schiano coached at Penn State. He has not been named in any lawsuit. No charges have been filed against him. No witnesses have come forward with any evidence, direct or circumstantial. We have third-hand, ten-year old hearsay -- one sentence of it -- and we’re supposed to believe that’s what Tennessee Fan’s feigned moral high ground is over?
Where was the outrage when Peyton Manning actually sexually assaulted a trainer? Where was the outrage when the Tennessee Volunteers were settling Title IX lawsuits last year regarding rape committed by their football players? You can’t find it, nor can anyone else — because it doesn’t exist. Those outcries never happened. If it’s a matter of steering clear of Penn Staters, what about John Shoop? He was brought in following the Sandusky explosion when Penn State had just been pulled off probation for it. How far down the guilt-by-association rabbit hole do we want to go, especially here, on the basis of zero evidence?
It was at best an incompetent repudiation of Schiano, one where AD John Currie claimed he did not do due diligence on his candidate or have access to public information. At worst, it was flimsy pretext, one where the AD capitulated to public demand while implying his new hire enabled child rape.
If Greg Schiano had Urban Meyer’s record, like Peyton Manning, I’m sure the Vols would have found some forgiveness in their hearts. But, besides scaring off other candidates and being a train wreck of immensely enjoyable proportions, Currie’s actions may have another very real cost -- twenty million dollars worth.
This “hot mess” is only going to get worse. And I can think of no more fitting a group of people to endure it.