Why B1G teams should think twice about making coaching moves
Now is not the time.
For basement feeder/middle-of-the-pack B1G teams that aren’t crazy about their coaching situations, maybe they should think twice about making a move.
That means you, Indiana. That means you, Illinois. That means you, Purdue. That means you…Rutgers? Well, maybe that move needs to be made.
But with the news of Missouri coach Gary Pinkel’s retirement on Friday, one more solid Power Five job opened up. Add that to the ever-growing list of schools looking for openings. If you’re keeping track, that’s…
That doesn’t include Central Florida, which may as well be a Power Five job given the facilities and recruiting hotbed included. That also doesn’t include possible openings at Georgia and Texas, among the others that will likely open up because of the Bret Bielemas of the world.
The first week of December is going to be a feeding frenzy unlike any we’ve ever seen before in college football. The money and names that are going to surface will create a significant shift that will keep us plenty entertained during those three weeks without football.
You can bet that with every new opening, Illinois and Maryland are feeling a little more heat about their respective situations. Obviously both are different. I included Illinois in the “schools that don’t have to make a move” category because Illinois could easily shed Bill Cubit’s interim tag. The university could get a cheap option to provide some stability during a time of turmoil. Minnesota did it with Tracy Claeys, which was the best move for an athletic director-less university to make.
In the age of $30 million coaching salaries, there’s nothing wrong with taking a short-term, economical approach to a hire. If Claeys is struggling in his second year, the university would have a cheap buyout and would get to pick a better time to hire a long-term coach.
It isn’t probably the trendy approach Illinois fans want to hear, especially if the program can’t notch that sixth win, but it might be the right one.
Indiana could be in a similar boat. While I said all year that Kevin Wilson was in a bowl-or-bust fifth year in Bloomington, he is still under contract for two more years. If Fred Glass feels like he wouldn’t be able to land an upgrade in the current coaching climate, it would make sense for him to hold off on making a move.
Nobody is holding their breath on the Hoosiers to churn out an eight-win season. Even if IU did make a change at the end of this year, it would still be the weakest of the B1G openings. That isn’t changing anytime soon. Instead of paying a two-year buyout and trying to find a diamond in the rough candidate to maybe get six wins, IU can hold tight.
Purdue fans are likely going to have to, as well. Purdue AD Morgan Burke came out in support of Darrell Hazell’s future in West Lafayette on Thursday. Why did he do that midseason? A big part of that was for recruiting purposes. The other, of course, was because he’s paying attention to the college football landscape. He knows that this is possibly the worst year ever for a Power Five team to look for a replacement.
It isn’t easy to be patient. Indiana and Purdue fans are rightfully sick of looking around their stadiums and seeing subpar football and far too many empty seats. Sometimes another season of that seems like it’s too much to bear. Nobody will argue that.
The reality is, there could be could be countless more of those if a desperate hire is made. It isn’t as black and white as, “our team is bad, let’s fire the coach.” Had the coaching carousel had been relatively quiet during the season, it could be justified.
But it hasn’t been. Not at all.
If the likes of Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and Rutgers do end up making a coaching change come December, they should all brace themselves. They could be stuck behind a long line of hungry college football powers.
And they might not leave many leftovers.