By Kaleb Page
It’s approaching that time of the year. Now when you hear that phrase most may think of Christmas or the holiday season. In the college football world that means the college football coaching carousel is approaching. This week two teams that joined the coaching market jumped out of the carousel ride early.
Nebraska after many tension filled season with Bo Pelini fired the coach even after posting another 9-3 season. Over his tenure Pelini went 67-27 and for what some would say brought some consistency to the Nebraska program. Another thing that could be said with the firing of Pelini is that the fan base at Nebraska could be making unrealistic expectations, but at powerhouse programs expectations can exceed reality.
With that said ESPN reports showed that early Thursday Nebraska hired Mike Riley from Oregon State to take over the team. A coach of 14 years at Oregon State he was known for his loyalty and being calm, this might have been the reason to hire Riley to just have an opposite view-point from that of Pelini. Only time will tell how consistent Riley is in comparison to how Pelini was at Nebraska.
For the time it had Will Muschamp as a coach, Florida just could never seem to hit its stride. Offensively every year it seemed to be lacking something. It might have been due to the fact that switches at coordinator on offense over the years didn’t lend to the offense at Florida being cohesive and full of continuity. The defense was not the problem though during his tenure with there being plenty of NFL talent on the defensive side, including this final season. A specialty of Muschamp’s that might land him a job as a defensive coordinator at Texas A&M or Auburn.
The same Thursday as the Nebraska hire, Florida hired from Colorado State Jim McElwain a former offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2008-11 the lead to two championship runs. This season at Colorado State saw McElwain take his team to a 10-2 record and recognition from the Mountain West conference as the best coach. From the buzz around the college football scene it sure looks like Florida made the right hire in McElwain.
Now there is pressure from these schools and schools that probably will join in the coaching carousel soon to make the home run hire. To get that “it” guy who can transcend not only the conference but also the national scene to bring all the glory to that perspective school is more important than ever now. Maybe it was the pressure that caused Florida and Nebraska to make the leap for their guy right now. Possibly it was just because they did their homework and said this is the right fit in all ways. For one school in particular this better be the best hire they have had in a long time.
The University of Michigan was one of the more premiere jobs in the country back in the early to mid-2000s. However after multiple years of complete failure in the eyes of any Michigan fans’ standards under Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke; the job saw its luster fade away. With the vacancy created after the firing of Hoke this past weekend, the task at hand to find a new coach might be the most important one in Michigan history. As I heard SVP and Russillo today talk about the coaching hires, they brought up a very interesting point that is very important to realize.
In the college football coaching arena there are only a handful of guys you can look at and say those guys are “it.” Coaches that are consistent and no matter the scenario or team they can bring you a level of excellency not matched by any coach out there. That is why Michigan better get this right and better hit the walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth for the win to make not only a statement, but to show they mean business again.
Whether it is Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, Dan Mullen or even Greg Schiano the man picked for the job better be the big splash needed to bring the Michigan of old back to the scene. The fans need it, the Big Ten conference needs it and even college football needs a stronger showing from Michigan. For the new athletic director at Michigan the choice better be a great one and better be that “it” guy.