Posted 12/10/2012 at 06:08 PM
Coaching changes dominate the headlines this time of the year but there are a couple of big fish that could jump to the NFL that could really shake things up. Chip Kelly is certainly a hot property after flirting with the Tampa Bay position last season and Nick Saban will be brought up often for a second NFL stint, particularly in Cleveland if a move is made for the Browns. While several high profile college coaches have failed in the NFL shift, Greg Schiano has had an encouraging first season and Saban’s first stint was not a disaster, going 15-17 in two years and like his good friend Bill Belichick was, he may be more prepared the second time around.
Bret Bielema moving to Arkansas was a surprise but it seems he sought to get out of the shadow of Barry Alvarez. Despite his great record Bielema had a hard time endearing himself to Badger fans and Alvarez will now have a chance to show him up again with a Rose Bowl win. Gene Chizik was fired just two years removed from a national title and his former offensive coordinator will take over as Gus Malzahn bolts Arkansas State after just one year to return to Auburn. One of the more surprising firings was Mario Cristobal at Florida International as he was a candidate for several bigger jobs last season before staying loyal to the Panthers.
So far 14 head coaches have been fired and it is clear that the job description has changed. No longer is it about recruiting players and building a program of your type of players. The responsibility is now to win with someone else’s players. Of the 14 head coaches that have been fired so far only two (Jeff Tedford and Bill Cubit) were at the position for more than six years and nine of the 14 were at their schools for four years or less, not even being able to see the results of an entire recruiting class through graduation. Being able to win with someone else’s players is a quick way to make a big jump up in prestige and pay. Dave Doeren is an excellent example with two strong years at Northern Illinois (with mostly players recruited by Minnesota Head Coach Jerry Kill) turning into a big payday at NC State. Sonny Dykes is another example moving to California after three successful years playing mainly with players the recently fired former Tennessee Head Coach Derek Dooley recruited. Darren Hazell, Willie Taggert, Steve Addazio, and Butch Jones are other examples of coaches that turned short term success with someone else’s recruits into a big jump to a bigger job. Keep an eye on some of the programs that recently fired its coach, if they have success next year is it a result of the new coach and the new attitude or did it just take a little more time for the old coach’s plan to pay off?
In the NFL Arizona lost 58-0 last week in one of the worst losses in NFL history. Even with that big hit the Cardinals have a better point differential than four AFC teams and Arizona has not won a game since September. Three teams have a winning record despite a negative point differential (Colts, Cowboys, Vikings) and two have a losing record with a positive point differential (Buccaneers & Chargers). While the top teams in the AFC have done their part the middle and bottom of the league is a mess. The Jets, Browns, and Chargers would be 8th, 9th, and 10th in the playoff picture despite mostly awful results this season. In the NFC none of the top 10 teams have a losing record. Right now the first four picks in the 2013 NFL Draft would all belong to the AFC. We’re also entering a postseason picture where the top seed in each conference won’t likely be the favorite to reach the Super Bowl. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…