All That and a Bag of Mail: Coaching Season Insanity

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I’ll be honest with you guys — all this coaching season insanity is driving me slowly bonkers.

And just about all of your questions this week had to do with coaching search insanity so I can tell I’m not alone in this fixation.

Here are my latest guesses at who will get the top jobs out there. And this time I’m doing them with three categories: Ceiling, floor, and most likely.

For instance, let’s start with the Tennessee job.


Ceiling: Jon Gruden

Floor: Mike Norvell

Most likely: Dan Mullen

Incidentally, here are the updated offshore coaching odds for Tennessee from BetOnline.

Jon Gruden is now at +145, which is the lowest odds he has had since these prop bets first went up online.

PM 44830 Chip Kelly +650
44831 Jeff Brohm +1000
44832 Bobby Petrino +1200
44833 Mike Norvell +350
44834 PJ Fleck +1200
44835 Tee Martin +1600
44836 Les Miles +800
44837 Jim Bob Cooter +2000
44838 Dan Mullen +280
44839 Brian Kelly +5000
44840 Peyton Manning +5000
44841 Lane Kiffin +3300
44842 Jon Gruden +145
44843 Mike MacIntyre +1200


Ceiling: Chip Kelly

Floor: Scott Frost

Most likely: Chip Kelly


Ceiling: Scott Frost

Floor: Bret Bielema

Most likely: Scott Frost


Ceiling: Gus Malzahn

Floor: Mike Norvell

Most likely: Charlie Strong

Ole Miss

Ceiling: Mike Leach

Floor: Matt Luke

Most likely: Mike Norvell

Texas A&M (If Kevin Sumlin doesn’t go 8-4)

Ceiling: Jimbo Fisher

Floor: Chad Morris

Most likely: Chad Morris

Ben writes:

“Clay, am I wrong or is Jon Gruden being a total dick if he doesn’t take the Tennessee job and doesn’t want it? Why not just say you don’t want the job in public and end the speculation?”

First, he may not know if he wants the job or not.

That’s the way I think this is probably playing out. If you’ve ever had a decision to make about a job — and had a job you really like that would require you to change you and your family’s life — you probably understand this.

I’ll give you an example from my own life. When I had to decide whether to take the Fox Sports Radio gig or not, I wavered back and forth for several days. Because, let’s be honest, waking up in the 4 AM hour every day Monday-Friday was a BIG lifestyle change for me.

Prior to that I was a guy who went to bed around one every night, now I’d be getting up much earlier.

What challenges would that put on my other jobs, on my family life, on my health on my ability to jerk off after my wife fell asleep? These are big decisions.

If a reporter had been covering my thought process and been able to talk to my wife or my agent or any of the seven or eight people I called to ask for their advice and discuss this decision with, that reporting could have very easily vacillated one way or the other.

And all of those reports could have been accurate at the time they were reported.

On Monday someone could have reported I was going to do it, on Tuesday the answer could have been that I was not going to do it, and so on as I swung back and forth. Now obviously there’s much less interest in my decision and in your own life decisions, but I think that’s an easy explanation for how a story like this can blow up and not be artificial in the way it’s being reported.

The same thing is true, by the way, of recruiting stories.

In both scenarios what do they have in common? Ultimately one guy is making a tough decision and there are multiple potential outcomes.

That doesn’t even consider the obvious financial part here — if Jon Gruden really wants to get back into coaching having it out there that Tennessee wants him is the best way to have other schools or pro teams want him too. You guys all know this from your own life — it’s easier to get a girlfriend when you’ve already got a girlfriend. People want what other people want or have, it’s all about desirability.

What’s more, maybe Gruden just wants more money from Monday Night Football, this certainly doesn’t hurt that either.

Having said all of this, going on Seattle radio and mentioning how much you like Knoxville, Tennessee and “Rocky Top” out of nowhere is just next level trolling.

I mean, look at this.

If you truly don’t want the job and don’t have any interest in taking it, why would you say this on the radio?

That would definitely be classified as a dick move.

Now, if as some of the Grumors have been speculating, Gruden gave this answer while people from Tennessee were in the room with him and he knew how much attention it would get for people who love the Grumors? Then that’s fantastic. That’s him giving a nod to the Grumors that he’s actually going to come to UT.

But if he truly has no interest in coming, I’d agree, dick move.

Finally, remember that Gruden’s son is a student at Tennessee. I’ve got three boys. If I were a candidate to become head coach at my son’s college, the last thing I’d do is make it awkward for my kids if I didn’t want the job. I’d come out publicly and say, “Look, Tennessee’s a great job and a great school. So great that I’m even paying tuition out of my own pocket for my son to go there. But I think there’s someone who will be better for them than me. Go Vols.”

Boom, that’s easy to do.

Granted, many still wouldn’t believe it because we’ve all been conditioned to believe that all coaches lie about all jobs, but the people doing the hiring would believe it and the story would die down as they focused on other coaches.

Until then, I’m a believer.

I choose to believe in the Gruth.

V. writes:

“Clay – first off the show is phenomenal, don’t ever stop what you’re doing, the world needs it.

This year for Thanksgiving my wife and I are traveling a few hours from home to her brother and his wife’s house to celebrate with her side of the family.  I’d say there will probably be somewhere around 25-30 people there.  Most of them live near there but a handful of them live closer to us and will also be making the trip.  

A couple of days ago we were informed by my brother-in-law that due to his wife’s strict vegan lifestyle that no meat would be allowed to be cooked at their house that day.  No turkey, no ham, nothing.  The reason, according to him, is that she “just can’t handle it”.  Whether that means physically, mentally, both or something else is unclear; I asked for clarification but got the same response.

Here’s the best part:  A few days prior to this proclamation, everyone was assigned a specific dish to bring, presumably so that if they’d just said “bring something” we wouldn’t have wound up with 15 pumpkin pies and nothing else.  Our assignment?  A HAM!

While I could not be less vegan if my life depended on it, I have no problem at all if someone else is.  Your life, your choice, do whatever you want I say.  But we live several hours away.  Due to an overload of people staying with them and some other relatives nearby, we’ll be staying in a hotel.  And now, barely a week out, you’re telling me we’re not allowed to cook meat in your house?  How the fuck am I supposed to show up at 11 a.m. that morning with a fully cooked ham?

The turkey is now being cooked at an aunt and uncle’s house nearby.  I’ve already posited the question of why she can’t handle meat being cooked there but apparently will be fine with people all around her scarfing down turkey all afternoon but got nowhere.  I also totally get that it’s their house, their rules.  But this is Thanksgiving and you offered to host.  Reasonable people are expecting there to be meat, and when you host a holiday event for a large family you should be prepared to make some minor concessions in my opinion.  The analogy I would use is that my wife hates when people walk around our house with their shoes on, but she knows if we have 30 people over that getting them all to remove their shoes is unrealistic, so she goes with it.

What are your thoughts on this?  I’m not sure what we’re ultimately going to do.  I’m either going to show up with a shitload of store bought cookies and say “at least they’re vegan” or bring the ham anyway, throw it in the oven and if I get any pushback I’ll just point to the front of my DBAP shirt I’m now planning on wearing.  Your thoughts?”

I actually feel sorry for your brother because this screams of a long negotiated compromise with an intolerable bitch of a wife.

I would just about guarantee that her initial idea was she was going to have a Vegan Thanksgiving at the house and your brother spent a month or more arguing with her that people were going to expect to have meat available at Thanksgiving and then she finally said, “Okay, but if meat is coming, no one is cooking it at the house.”

Which is just total bullshit and not even really a compromise at all because of the clear logical flaws you have pointed out. Why can she not handle the meat being cooked at her house, but she can handle people eating it in her house? It makes no sense.

And I guarantee when you pointed out the stupidity of this compromise your brother was listening to your arguments and what he really wanted to say was, “I KNOW I MARRIED A TOTAL BITCH, BUT WHAT CAN I DO NOW? SHE ALREADY HASN’T SLEPT WITH ME FOR A WEEK BECAUSE I TOLD HER VEGAN THANKSGIVING WAS STUPID AND WASN’T HAPPENING!”

But instead he just ignored the comment you made, which he agreed with, and tried to do what all husbands who have total bitches for wives do — ignore the conflict and avoid thinking about it to the best of their ability. Also, drink…heavily.

I can almost guarantee that this woman is too good looking for your brother and he just puts up with her total bitchiness because she’s better looking than the nice women he could have married. So he didn’t outkick his coverage here at all, he just married a cunt.

Aren’t Honeybaked Hams already cooked? (I say this because I’m 38 and have never been involved in the preparation of any food in my life. I honestly, and I’m not even making this up, have never boiled water in my life. Seriously, if you can’t cook it with a microwave or put it on a sandwich directly from the refrigerator I’ve never done it.) I’d probably just buy an already cooked ham, because otherwise you’re going to have a huge fight over this and your poor brother isn’t going to have sex again until July 4th.

Also, can we stop with adults with special diets making a big deal about their fucking special diets? These people drive me insane. If your diet is so special that it has to influence what everyone else eats, just bring your own goddamn nuts and berries and eat them outside on the deck in the cold with the squirrels.

Let the rest of us just live in peace.

Mark writes:

“Honest question. Lebron James and Michael Bennett both claimed to be victims of racial incidents.  Bennett’s claim has been 100% proven to be false and Lebron’s claim, which was backed by zero evidence and has literally disappeared from the conversation, seems to be false as well.  In both cases these alleged incidents happened right before both James and Bennett became vocal about race issues in this country.  It seems obvious that both assumed if they could claim they were victims of racial injustice their voice would be much more powerful.  Instead, like the women who claim rape and it turns out nothing happened, all they have done is hurt the cause of actual victims. 

My question for you is at what point will the reality break for people that while yes, there are racial issues in this country, there are far more hucksters like James and Bennett who would rather make things seem far worse and they will be called out for their lies?  The mainstream media (which is no longer mainstream by any means) seems to explode these stories when they break but then fall silent when the lies are exposed.  How long do you think it will be before the pendulum swings back to sanity?”

My concern is it might never get back to sanity because the media is incentivized to create division because it’s good for ratings. And every year the media audiences for news stories get smaller and more specialized. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago in my piece about the first amendment, the media no longer has to appeal to reasonable people in the middle part of the political spectrum, everyone in the “mainstream” media is seeking to appeal to a particular niche, which isn’t interested in the truth, they’re interested in their world view being confirmed.

Now, I will say that the failures of what I’m calling the “mainstream” media — I’m putting it in quotation marks because the definition of mainstream is somewhat arbitrary — has led to the rise of sites like Outkick, which are now producing massive audiences by simply being rational. My goal is to speak to the vast majority of the people that are in the middle part of our country, the radical moderates.

Look at our numbers on radio, which are reflective of the massive growth we are seeing everywhere.

Do you know how incredible it is for a national radio show with nearly 300 affiliates in all 50 states to be up over 30% for men 25-54 and up nearly 23% for adults 25-54? Not to mention the streaming time spent listening to be up 78% and for our podcast downloads to have surged into the millions?

That reflects that there’s a huge nationwide audience responding to what I’m saying. And I think it’s you guys out there spreading the word about the show too because it’s not like we have some massive network marketing machine behind us. So that makes me believe there is still a huge desire for facts in the era of feelings.

Having said that, we’re still small compared to the ESPN’s of the world, who are out there spreading misinformation and division on a massive scale.

Michael Bennett, for sure, and LeBron James’s staff, based on the evidence so far, made up racial crimes against them to curry attention and favor from the media. And when both of those stories fell apart the “mainstream” media didn’t cover them at all.

Which is just a total failure of objectivity.

And the thing I think about is this — what if I hadn’t founded Outkick six years ago? There wouldn’t be a single person with a substantial audience out here pointing out these lies in the world of sports. Who would have covered the fake Mizzou protest and pointed out its absurdity and lies? Who would have covered the Ryan Lochte fake controversy and the Peyton Manning made up sexual assault or ridiculed ESPN for turning into MSESPN? I honestly don’t think anyone would have.

Which is terrifying and amazing to me.

At least in politics there are two different sides of the equation constantly fighting with each other over the issues. The sports media is a total rig job where the far left wing position gets reinforced over and over again and without me I’m not sure anyone would even exist to point out all the lies or request objectivity.

Maybe the end result here is just that Outkick and me become massive on a scale I can’t even foresee. We’re reaching millions of people every week and I used to dream of reaching a hundred. So maybe that’s the end result, eventually we’re reaching tens of millions and one of the biggest media voices out there.

But right now I often feel like the last sane person left in sports media.

I’m like Jon Snow unsheathing his sword to face the oncoming hordes every single day.

Brandon writes:

“Went 3/4 on a $15 parlay for $500 last night with only loss being Buffalo. Why do bad things happen to good people? What is the ultimate analogy for missing out on a parlay by 1 pick and feeling like “you lost $500.”

I am still sick to my stomach from last night’s ending in Ball State-Buffalo.

If you didn’t watch, Buffalo missed a 29 yard field goal and an extra point to avoid covering and then, inexplicably, had the ball up 40-24 with 2:39 left and the ball on Ball State’s 14 yard line. It looks like Buffalo might get stopped on three downs and then have to kick a field goal.

Because Ball State still has two timeouts left and surely they’re going to use them, right?

So on second down Buffalo breaks a run to inside the three yard line and has a first and goal with just less than two minutes left. On that play Ball State has a guy injured and they stop the clock to treat him which is supposed to mandate a timeout be used.

But the refs give him a couple of minutes to get off the field AND THEN DON’T FORCE THE TIMEOUT TO BE CALLED.

So then Buffalo takes three straight knees to end the game without scoring and covering and Ball State doesn’t call either of its final timeouts.

I swear to God the Buffalo coach should have to answer for this.

That’s the only question he should be asked in the post-game. Same thing with Ball State’s coach, it’s a two score game, how do you not use your timeouts?

It’s like they both had money on Ball State to cover.

At a bare minimum shouldn’t Buffalo’s coach have let his shitty field goal kicker get a live game rep to practice?

I am still furious about this game.

As for the parlay question, it’s frustrating, but I think it’s more frustrating to lose a parlay like this at the beginning of the parlay and then have every other part of the ticket hit.

Hopefully we have a good gambling weekend to make up for this absurdity.

Thanks for supporting Outkick and hope you guys have fantastic weekends.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.