The coaching carousel is starting early

Published 1:54 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Rumors are exactly that—just rumors. But it’s always fun to explore a bunch of “what if” scenarios in the world of college football.

Heck, half the fun of this sport is speculation and rumors, and the rest is actually watching your favorite team play.

As the regular season winds down and the post-season approaching like a locomotive, the coaching carousel is just starting to pick up steam.

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There are a few high-profile job opportunities in the SEC that if they work out like some rumors have them, it will create a major shakeup in the conference.

For the past week, the rumors have been swirling that Chip Kelly will come to coach the Gators. The infamous Oregon, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers coach was expected to be a done deal by many. But now the word is he might be swinging back around to the west coach and take the head job at UCLA.

If I was Chip, I would much rather compete against Pac-12 teams rather than SEC teams. Those defenses over there are a little less hardnosed than the ones we have in the South. Look what he did to them when he coached at Oregon. His spread offenses were high-scoring and explosive, but the opposing defenses were often abysmal. Florida will be behind if Chip takes the Bruins job.

I guess they could always nab Dan Mullen at Mississippi State.

Tennessee is at a low point with former coach Butch Jones getting the axe a couple weeks ago. The rumors—or as they call them on the internet, the “Grumors”—were that former NFL coach and Monday Night Football analyst John Gruden would coach the Volunteers. Mixed signals and conflicting information has made this story a headache to follow, but in the end, I think it’s more of a fan’s daydream than anything. I don’t think he would do well, either. Gruden’s current job has him working five months out of the year and making serious dough doing it. I don’t think he’d leave that for 12-hour work days, recruiting and all the other things coaching a college team comes with.

Arkansas’ athletic program is in a flux with the athletic director losing his job recently. Coach Bret Bielema just lost to Miss. State on Saturday and will potentially miss a bowl game if he loses another this weekend. I’ve heard that if Auburn loses in the Iron Bowl, Tigers coach Gus Malzhan will hightail it to his homeland and coach the Razorbacks. Take that with a big grain of salt, but that’s the rumor.

So who would coach Auburn? Will Muschamp? He’s perfect for South Carolina. Mike Leach? Imagine the comedy he’d bring to a big time SEC program. Jimbo Fisher? Unlikely. But I have heard Fisher’s name tossed around as a major target for Texas A&M. Maybe he sees Miami on the rise and FSU on the downward slope. Who knows, but him leaving the Seminoles four years after a Natty would be shocking.

Don’t forget about Lane Kiffin, who is a candidate for any job at any time, in my opinion.

See, aren’t these rumors fun? Or maybe they’re giving you a heart attack. If that’s the case, you might need to take a break from college football for a little while.