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Okay, before we get rolling with the Friday mailbag, go buy out all of the Outkick shirts and pants at www.outkickgear.com. If you spend $60 then your order is 20% off if you use the code “dbap.” This means if you buy three pairs of pants they are $16 each. That’s pure insanity. We have the cheapest, best pants on the Internet. And that’s not even hyperbole.
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Now on to the mailbag and everyone is asking the same question, what’s going on with Texas, LSU, and Texas A&M and Tom Herman?
So let’s dive in:
Right now Tom Herman is like a hot chick on a Middle Eastern army base.
Talk to any member of the army and they’ll know exactly what I mean. The pickings are so slim on Middle Eastern army bases that every girl surges in attractiveness. The most average looking girl in America becomes a nine or ten on an Middle Eastern army base. Guys are fighting for her left and right, otherwise intelligent soldiers lose their minds, all because they have no better options.
That’s what’s going on with LSU and Texas right now. Tom Herman’s the hot chick on a Middle Eastern army base and his agent is playing them both like a fiddle.
There are just no other options out there that are guaranteed to be better than the coaches you’re firing. Sure, LSU can replace Les Miles with Larry Fedora or, maybe, Mike Gundy, but are LSU fans going to really think that they’ve gotten good enough to beat Nick Saban then? Do you really think that Larry Fedora or Mike Gundy are going to end Nick Saban’s Alabama dynasty?
What about Texas? The Longhorns took Charlie Strong and passed on James Franklin in the hiring process. Franklin wanted Texas and his entire coaching staff was ready to roll to Austin with him. Instead Texas took Charlie Strong and Franklin took Penn State. Now Strong is getting fired and James Franklin might beat out Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer to win the Big Ten in his third year in Happy Valley. Now Franklin’s got a multi-year contract extension on his desk that Penn State is begging him to sign.
So who can Texas hire that is definitely better than Charlie Strong?
If the Longhorns miss on Herman, I’m told that there are boosters at Texas who have been talking to, wait for it, Jon Gruden and believe that Gruden would come to Texas. Can you imagine if after all the Tennessee coaching Grumors Gruden went to coach the other UT? Vol fans would lose their minds.
And we haven’t even gotten Texas A&M in the mix right now either.
If I were advising the Aggies on Kevin Sumlin, I’d say be careful what you wish for. Yes, Sumlin’s teams have collapsed multiple years down the stretch, but who are you going to hire that’s guaranteed to be better than Sumlin? I don’t think there’s a single coach out there you could get that would be guaranteed to be better than Sumlin.
That’s because coaching talent is incredibly rare and proven coaching talent that’s willing to move is even rarer.
Think about it, here are my top ten coaches in college football list right now:
1. Nick Saban
2. Urban Meyer
3. Jim Harbaugh
4. Bobby Petrino
5. Chris Petersen
6. David Shaw
7. James Franklin
8. Bob Stoops
9. Jimbo Fisher
10. Mark Dantonio
That’s the order I would draft head coaches right now if there was a coaching draft.
There are other coaches you guys could have in your own top tens — Dabo Swinney, Kyle Whittingham, Pat Fitzgerald, Gary Patterson, for instance are just outside my top ten — but would any of these guys definitely leap to A&M and would any of them be worth not just the massive $6 million + salary a year they’d command, but also worth the $15 million that A&M would immediately owe Kevin Sumlin?
I just don’t see it happening.
To me, you have to begin every coaching search not just with your ceiling — the dream candidate that you might get, but probably won’t — but also with your floor. That is, who’s the guy you know you can get even if the guys you really want turn you down? (This is how I ended up with my wife, FYI. I was her floor.)
Right now, amazingly, Tom Herman, a guy who just lost to 5-6 SMU by 22 points as an over twenty point favorite a month ago, is the hot chick on a Middle Eastern army base. He’s the ceiling for Texas and LSU. (This is the lowest ceiling in modern coaching history.)
And I would say that LSU’s floor is certainly Ed Orgeron. He’d take the job, he wouldn’t cost that much, the players would be happy and the end result would be Nick Saban continues to wax LSU’s ass until you go hire a new coach in three years.
Texas’s floor is probably, honestly, Charlie Strong. We could see an LSU type situation where if the Longhorns come out and beat TCU that they end up keeping Charlie Strong for another year, only to fire him next season when things still aren’t going well.
Frankly, I just don’t know why one of these schools doesn’t deploy the Clay Travis dump truck full of cash theory and drive straight to Louisville, Kentucky and unload the cash on Petrino’s doorstep.
Do you really think Petrino would turn down Texas or LSU and $6 million a year?
I don’t, I think he’d go. And he’s the only coach on my top ten list that I think would definitely leave for that money.
And can you imagine Bobby Petrino with Texas and LSU talent? He’d be in the playoff in three years, guaranteed.
(Selfishly, I don’t want that to happen right now because I want Tennessee to hire Petrino next year after Butch Jones collapses and Lamar Jackson leaves for the NFL. I think Petrino would be receptive to better job offers then).
Having said that, how LSU was the news breaking about their proposed coaching search while they played a game on Thursday night? God, I love LSU. No school is more representative of their fan base than LSU. That’s why, in many ways, Coach O. would be perfect for LSU. I can totally see them conducting the negotiations to hire Coach O. on an air boat somewhere in a Louisiana swamp. Halfway through the negotiations Coach O., wearing short shorts, wading boots, and an LSU fishing shirt, just hops off the airboat and wrestles an alligator to submission and then climbs back up on the airboat all wet from the swamp and signs the contract with his left hand while he’s holding an alligator’s mouth closed with his right hand.
The wildest thing here is that if LSU doesn’t totally screw up the Florida game, Orgeron is LSU’s coach already. Hell, even after they totally screwed up the Florida game, LSU would be hiring Coach O. if his team had just scored from the one yard line on 4th and goal.
So what do I think ends up happening?
I still think Tom Herman goes to Texas and I think LSU will panic and overpay someone like Larry Fedora.
In the meantime, I’m only going to answer one more question and then I have to go chase my kids around my mother-in-law’s house before my wife kills me for disappearing this morning to work.
Lots of you are asking on my Twitter feed and email, “why does (insert SEC team here) suck this year?”
With LSU’s win last night over Texas A&M, there’s a decent chance that every team in the SEC but Alabama has four losses in the regular season.
That’s unheard of.
Alabama might well go 13-0 and then all 13 other teams could have at least four losses. That happens if Alabama beats Auburn, Florida loses to Florida State and Alabama, and Tennessee loses to Vanderbilt.
Every one of these things is favored to happen except Tennessee losing to Vanderbilt. And knowing Butch Jones, would anyone really be surprised if Tennessee loses to Vanderbilt?
Amazingly, if Tennessee beats Vandy then the Volunteers will be going to the Sugar Bowl for the first time since 1991 and Butch Jones will somehow have managed to infuriate every Vol fan on earth despite finishing second in the SEC to Alabama. (Stop with your Tweets and emails, the palyoff committee rankings determine who goes to the Sugar Bowl and Tennessee will probably be that team).
I really think we’ve reached the point in the SEC this year where Nick Saban has driven every fan base insane.
Think about it, every single fan base in the SEC except for Alabama is pissed with their program status with the possible exception of South Carolina. (And that’s just because South Carolina’s expectations were so low coming into the season).
I’m not even kidding about this. Tennessee fans are fed up with Butch Jones and his life championships. Kentucky fans have waited six years to go 6-6 and go to a crappy bowl game and they wanted Mark Stoops fired early this year. Vandy fans are convinced Derek Mason has no business being a head coach. Missouri fans won’t even show up to watch Mizzou get drilled. Georgia fans are terrified that Kirby Smart is Jim Donnan 2.0. Florida fans, as soon as they lose to FSU and get drilled by Alabama, will be right back to where they were before they stole a game from LSU, convinced that Jim McElwain isn’t the answer as their head coach and wondering why their offense is still so awful. Mississippi State fans are convinced now that Dan Mullen just rode Dak Prescott’s coattails to wins and think their program is screwed going forward, Ole Miss fans are wondering whether Hugh Freeze will ever get the NCAA off their backs and wondering how they just lost to Vandy by 21, LSU fans are still pissed that Nick Saban decided to coach in the NFL because otherwise this would be their dynasty, Auburn fans aren’t happy with Gus Malzahn, especially not after he gets blown out by Alabama, Arkansas professors are getting arrested for cursing out Bret Bielema, who will never win more than eight games at Arkansas, and the majority of Texas A&M fans want Kevin Sumlin gone.
Seriously, there has never been a point in time when more fan bases were more angry at their head coaches in the history of the SEC.
I feel like I need to be the voice of reason here and say, “Just chill the fuck out.”
Right now Nick Saban in the SEC is what Michael Jordan was to the NBA. Except it’s like the Utah Jazz and the New York Knicks just decided to fire Karl Malone, John Stockton and Patrick Ewing because they were losing to Jordan. That’s what, for instance, Georgia, LSU, and Tennessee have all done, all fired one of the most successful head coaches in their program’s history because he couldn’t beat Saban.
News flash: NO ONE IS BEATING SABAN.
The dude has lost one SEC game by more than seven points since 2010! He’s had his team ranked number one in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
You’ve got to just ride out his dominance at this point and hope he retires. Hell, Texas A&M’s buyout money for Kevin Sumlin would be better spent by just paying Nick Saban not to coach.
In fact, instead of paying buyouts to coaches, every SEC school ought to raise $3 million and give it to Nick Saban to go to the NFL. That would be $39 million.
Do you think Saban would leave Bama if the SEC teams gave him a check for $39 million? I think he would.
That’s what needs to happen.
Have great Thanksgiving weekends and go buy our shirts, pants and hats at outkickgear.com. Remember, everything is 20% off with the code dbap.
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