WHAT A DAY
Possibly the craziest day I can remember in the SEC! But now that the national sports media can finally delete their “Dan Mullen needs to leave Starkville”.doc file that they open every November I’m starting to look forwards to the future. I’ve compiled a list of the 15 guys (in order) that I would start calling if I were John Cohen. Who has a legit chance of being the Mississippi State coach next season. Who doesn’t? Who do you think their next hire is?
1. Scott Frost- Would be the first guy I called but doubt there is any interest there. He wouldn’t even meet with Florida. If somehow Cohen could get Frost to Starkville that could possibly be the biggest hire in what has already been a wild coaching carousel.
2. Mike Leach- Possibly my favorite coach in college football. I have found my smile again just thinking about the possibility. Leach is easily the most entertaining coach, he is a guy that will have Mississippi State in headlines every weekend even if it just comes from one of his epic quotes. But his ability to keep me laughing isn’t the only reason I would love to have him in Starkville, you are guaranteed to score points in buckets in a Mike Leach offense. Earlier this year Leach was quoted saying “This is a great time to be in the SEC, everybody’s got the same offense. Run right, run left, play action. And they tease themselves and say we threw it four more times a game this year than we did last year”. Well, Mike Leach, here is your chance to change that! And imagine the basketball like football game we would have next Thanksgiving!
3. Lane Kiffin- Kiffin brings baggage but the guy is an offensive genius and will recruit his ass off! My only concern is that he would use State as a stepping stone. But, with Mullen, we were spoiled having the same guy on the sidelines for nine years. That isn’t the normal. If coaches are having success at State other teams are going to come knocking. If we hire Kiffin and he gives us four successful years before moving on, I’m happy with that.
4. Kevin Sumlin- Good recruiter, good coach. I think he’ll flourish more if he’s somewhere more low key than College Station. I haven’t ever figured out why things didn’t work for him at A&M, but I don’t think it’s because they man can’t coach. He is familiarity with the SEC is one reason I have him as high on my list as I do.
5. Kyle Whittingham- Utah is to the PAC-12 what Mississippi State is the SEC. A middle of the pack team that every few years can have a special season. But Whittingham has spent his entire career out West, no doubt he is a good coach, I question how he would transform to coaching in the southeast.
6. Brent Venables- I’m not sure I like the idea of hiring a defensive coordinator to be our head coach, but if we did Venables would be that guy! State has always prided itself in playing good aggressive defense. Venables has made a living off doing just that.
7. Charlie Strong- Maybe a little too high on my list but I think Charlie Strong is a good coach regardless of what his win-loss record was at Texas. It never seemed like it was going to work there, even before he coached his first game. Looking at what he accomplished at Louisville and the year they’re having at South Florida makes me believe he is still worthy of coaching a Power 5 program, just maybe not one with the pressure that a job like Texas brings.
8. Bill Clark- There is not anyone in college football that has done a more remarkable job than Bill Clark has at UAB. Not just this year but anytime in recent memory. SMU was given the death penalty in 1987 where, for two years, they didn’t field a football team. They resumed playing in 1989 and went winless the next three seasons. It took them 20 years before they would win 8 games in a season. UAB essentially gave themselves the death penalty after the 2014 season. They did not field a team in 2015 or 2016. Enter 2017 and Bill Clark has them bowl eligible, not just bowl eligible but they have an 8-4 record. He should be an unanimous coach of the year! If State can hire the coach of the year from the previous season fans should be excited and I would be just as excited for Bill Clark.
9. Mike MacIntrye- Last season MacIntrye had Colorado on the brinks of playing in the college football playoffs. His record, 40-59, as a head coach will raise some eyebrows but not when you look at the programs he inherited. He took over a San Jose State team that won only 2 games the previous season, in his third year they would win 10 games and finish inside the top 25. At Colorado he took over a program that went 1-11 the previous year, in his fourth year they won 10 games and played for a PAC-12 championship.
10. Kliff Kingsbury- Kingsbury is someone that when he walks into a living room you just want to play for. He’s young, good looking and charismatic. He’s someone that grew up listening to hip-hop and can relate to kids that he is recruiting. I’ve always been somewhat against the Air Raid offense in the SEC, I believe you have to have a certain type of defense for it to work. The good news is that we have that defense and that from last year to this season Kingsbury Texas Tech defense greatly improved. Two weeks ago it seemed as if Texas Tech would move on from Kingsbury but with a win over Texas this weekend their AD came out and said that Kingsbury would return for the 2018 season. It would be hard to pull Kingsbury from his alma mater but if Cohen gets enough “no’s” then he should at least give him a call.
Rounding out my top 15 candidates is 11. Frank Wilson 12. Jeff Brohm 13. Jeremy Pruitt 14. Mike Norvell 15. Chad Morris