Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Most Stable Program in Texas.



In the midst of Tommy Tuberville's "It's baffling only if you've never been to Lubbock, Texas" bolt to Cincinnati, he dropped a bit of knowledge on us that, while true in most instances, doesn't necessarily have to be the rule. In case you missed it, he said something to the effect of Coaches being hired guns, that there is no 'Mr. (insert school name) and that a football Coach doesn't last forever.  Coming from the guy that reportedly bailed on a recruiting dinner the night before bailing on his school, this shouldn't come as any surprise.  Now, I don't disagree with what he's saying in theory.  After all, folks who choose to ply their trades outside of the football realm change jobs to improve their situation each and every day.  And while I may disagree with the WAY Tuberville handled his exit - basically, he didn't tell anyone until he hit the row of liquor stores on the outskirts of town - in the long run, a guy who will treat you the way Tubbs treated Tech probably needs to move on sooner than later and if I'm a Tech fan I say good riddance, Mr. 20-17.

However, where Ears and I's philosophies begin to divulge is where he seemingly suggests that no Coach inhabits the identity of their place of occupation.  Now, if he's speaking in the context of TODAY, then that's mostly true.  College football has become a multi-multi hundreds of millions of dollars business which means that Coaches are given an incredibly short leash.  That, combined with rabid fan behavior, not to mention potential fan apathy when you consider the myriad distractions available to the average American, has made college football the profession of hired guns Tubbs describes.  This is why Mack Brown, perhaps the closest we've got to the "face of a program" in college football, is probably going to be forced into retirement after this season despite playing for 2 national titles within the last 7 years.  This is why Oklahoma fans constantly want to fire Bob Stoops despite his being the most consistently successful Coach of the BCS era.  Everyone wants to find the next Nick Saban juggernaut and, when they don't, they simply kick that Coach to the curb; Ironically, Saban is still overshadowed at his own school by Bear Bryant.  Nobody wins.  So no, the days of Bear Bryant, Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, Frank Broyles, Darrell Royal, etc roaming the sidelines well into old-er age are probably gone for good... unless you live in Fort Worth, Texas.

I mean, Thank God for Gary Patterson, right?

In an era where Coaches' are always looking for something new and different, he's been about the only one - along with Chris Petersen - to stick it out at his current gig to build a legacy rather than take what, at the time, were better job offers from bigger schools.  Never say never, I suppose, but it's getting more and more difficult to envision a situation where GP skips town outside of a major falling out with the administration.  The same administration that basically answers to him.  So, yeah.  And, while outsiders from inside our state borders will always call Patterson a nutcase for believe TCU is a top tier job - apparently the 9th highest salary in the country and Big 12 status doesn't do much for them - I ask you this:  Name a more stable Division 1 program in the State of Texas at this very moment?

Let's take a look, alphabetically:

Baylor - The fact that Art Briles is still in Waco as of this writing has to lead you to believe that he's planning on sticking around for a little while.  As much as we hate to admit it, based on getting the Bears to their third straight bowl and an impressive recent recruiting tear, the Bears will be passable so long as he is there.  Briles' deep Texas high school football ties pretty much assure he will be able to keep the Bears relevant in the minds of HS coaches.  Despite TCU's American History X'ing of the Bears mid-season, Baylor really got their act together to finish out the year with wins over Kansas State, Tech and OSU, even playing a little defense to boot.  But still... this is Baylor we're talking about, a school whose greatest achievement of the past few decades came in women's basektball.  If Briles is still there making the same strides in 5 years, we'll chat.

Houston - Would be a decent little program were Sumlin still around.  As it stands, though, Sumlin is gone, they just completed a bowlless 5-7 season and are joining a Big East Conference that was just effectively relegated to the equivalent of non-AQ status.  Oh, and the basketball schools - translation:  The reason the Big East receives funding for broadcasts in the first place - are talking about finally making good on their promise to form their own Conference.  So, uh, yeah.

Rice - HA! Don't make me laugh.  "BUT!" you say, "THEY ARE BOWL ELIGIBLE!"  Hahahaha Seriously, STOP!

SMU - See Houston re: Big East.  SMU folk secretly believe they should be in the Big 12.  No seriously, they do, there's a Facebook page and everything.   SMU folk also do lots of drugs.  These two facts are interconnected.  Drugs are a helluva drug.  The front office is also reportedly talking about throwing in the towel on football improvement and attempting to becomes "the basketball school of Texas," so that's not exactly good for local business.  Oh and they kept June Jones around despite him publicly taking the Arizona State gig before having the offer revoked after their donors revolted.  NEXT!

Texas - The flagship!  Except Bryan Harsin just left to take a job at Arkansas State, Manny Diaz - who is TERRIBLE at his job - is reportedly in line to take over at Florida International and Mack might decide to heed the fanbase and bail out at the end of the year rather than face another rebuild.  Not exactly the definition of stability.  SUPPOSEDLY GP made the comment that he wouldn't take the UT job should it come open because, "they are too soft" and "it would take at least 3-4 years to build it back up."  Ouch.  In other news, Bobby Petrino and Manny Diaz could both be Coaches in the Sun Belt come 2013.  That probably wasn't an option on their jump to conclusions mats.

aggy - This is the only one you can argue with me about because, as things stand, with the infrastructure, affiliation, momentum, coaching staff and monetary/fan support they have, the ags are poised to absolutely destroy the State of Texas in recruiting from now to eternity.  HOWEVA, OC Kliff Kingsbury was just announced as the new HC at Texas Tech, which could possibly leave a bit of a play calling/recruiting void.  Truthfully, like GP, Sumlin is the tail that wags that dog, but never underestimate staff turmoil with a young QB.  See:  Fuente, Justin.

Tetch - WAY up in the air right now with the hiring of Kingsbury, but the fact that they ran off the most relevant coach in school history and lost their previous coach to Cincinnati - CINCINNATI!!! A place that Andy Dalton will not even live during the off-season and he is from KATY!!! - I think it's safe to assume things are tenuous at best out on the plains.  Kingsbury is a completely binary hire by anyone's opinion; He is either the next hot shot up and coming Coach, or he's going to be a complete failure.  In Tech's defense they really HAD to hire him to re-juice the fanbase after the Tuberville debacle, so I understand the reasoning, but a 33 year old HC with only 3 total years of Co-Ordinating experience running a multi-million dollar program in a major Conference?  That's the definition of "rolling the dice" there.  It should be an interesting situation to monitor.

Not receving votes re: Sun Belt/Wac/CUSA/Whatever:

North Texas - Too much Denton hipster apathy.
UTSA - Too much Coker.
Texas State - Too much FRAN!  The OG when it comes to positioning yourself for the next job, loyalty be damned.
UTEP - Too much Juarez.

So, I mean... is there really any doubt that TCU is, from a stablity standpoint, the best thing going in Texas Football right now?  Hell, outside of Oklahoma who would you say is more stable in the Big 12?  Bill Snyder, god bless him, has one foot in the grave, Mike Gundy almost left for Arkansas AND Tennessee, Iowa State can't seem to get it together and Paul Rhoads will presumably leave one day if his name keeps getting raised for job openings.  I think Holgorsen is going to be in West Virginia for a while because there's no way that man could politically maneuver his way around a program in a normal state, so there's stability there, or as much stability as you can have in the Wonderful State of West Virginia.  But, when it comes down to it, if the decision is between Holgo and GP, let's be honest about who has the upper hand.

The Frogs may not have the national brand of UT or the up and coming excitement of aggy, but by god we've got a well paid Coach who is as much an integral part of the TCU identity as the City of Fort and the Frog itself.  Doesn't that count for anything?  So no, Tommy Tuberville, I disagree - there IS such a thing as a non-mercenary Head Coach and he resides in Fort Worth, Texas.  Hired guns?  Sounds like the bitter words of a man splitting his pre-retirement years between Lubbock and the Queen City.