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Reality Check

By Patrick Snow

Some schools in our Swampland Region are currently learning a harsh lesson: if you are going to make a major change like firing your football coach, you must have a better alternative ready to go. Arkansas, Southern Miss(and Michigan on a national level) are finding out the hard way that not every coach in the country is beating down the door to fill their vacancy. The expectations are so high at Southern schools when it comes to the football program – new coaches have to know they will have every opportunity to win with support from their administration. It’s hard to feel confident in that support when they see coaches like Houston Nutt and Jeff Bower being shown the door. Schools must have an almost immediate plan when they decide to off winning coaches. Making a change to placate a fan base with unrealistic expectations is no way to run a multi-million dollar athletic budget.

Florida State has seen the uncertainty of recent coaching searches, and made a smart move by naming Jimbo Fisher as a successor when Bobby Bowden decides to retire. No one wants to be the “bargaining chip” school that coaches use to get better deals at their current job. Arkansas has seen possible candidates Tommy Tuberville, Butch Davis, Tommy Bowden, and Jim Grobe get extensions during their search. It’s almost as if they had little to no plan for successor when Houston Nutt exited.

Another interesting part of the coaching carousel is what schools like an SMU will decide when it comes to becoming a true player in the college football game. It was reported that they were ready to offer Paul Johnson (before he was named at Georgia Tech) a potential $1.5 or 2 million package with promises to upgrade facilities and higher wages for assistants. Southern Miss and Houston will also have important decisions to make when it comes to how committed they are to being big-time programs. These schools have great recruiting bases and can be solid teams if they hire the right people and get enough support from their administrations. Ten years ago, did anyone see South Florida, Cincinnati, or Connecticut becoming Top 25 teams? I believe some of the Conference USA teams can get to that level over the next decade if it’s a full school effort to do so.

We all know what a big business- especially in our Region- college football has become. If you’re not growing as a program, your job can start to be viewed as a place where coaches have little chance to be successful. This fact combined with the expectations of rabid fan bases cements the reality that schools must always have a plan for change. A lack of leadership can cause once-proud programs to seem very second-rate.


* So the Hype-man Trophy is being given out this weekend. Yawn. Politics and ignorant voters have destroyed this once meaningful award.

* It’s a bad sign for MLB and for baseball in South Florida when you see young studs like Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera being shipped to Detroit in the primes of their careers. How can you expect fans to identify with a ballclub when they know good players are destined to leave for money reasons? The Marlins serving as an American League farm team represents a sad state of affairs.

* Speaking of Miami, Dan Marino tells Dolphins’ fans this week to be “patient” and that the only direction for the team to go “is up”. Thanks #13. Great information. Maybe he should go sell some gloves for the Holidays, and leave the Dolphins’ analysis to a commentator who’s not afraid to criticize the pathetic Miami franchise.

related tags

South Carolina,
Southern Pro Football,
Tribal Fever,

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