This archived article was written by: KC Smurthwaite
Is that the Turkey burning? Nope, it’s your local college’s head football coach. It’s that time of the year again when some coaches avoid the office in fear of a looming voicemail, or a note from the University president. Mike Stoops (University of Arizona), Mike Locksley (University of New Mexico), Joe Paterno (Penn State) and Bob Toledo (yup, you guessed it University of Toledo) all have gotten that phone call. Now the question is who is next? Smurf Turf looks into the crystal ball and gives his forecast of the college football coaching scenery for some of the major schools.
Ohio State University- Speculation on this job started before the season even began. The NCAA for major rule violations booted Jim Tressel weeks before the season when the University and football team were under investigation. Interim head coach Luke Fickell is doing a fine job considering all the cleanup work he had to deal with. Even with the janitorial work Fickell is doing, he has a small chance at the head coaching gig for next season. The boys from Columbus are 6-4, with Penn State and Michigan looming. The next head coach for the Buckeyes will be Urban Meyer. Why? Ohio State is his alma mater, and it helps that he has said, “it’s one of his dream jobs.” Granted earlier last week Meyer said, “ I am comfortable working for ESPN.” Well when Ohio State calls that comfort zone might change locations to Columbus, Ohio. Other possible candidates: Jon Gruden, Mike Gundy and Bo Pelini.
Oregon State University- I swear Mike Riley has nine coaching lives, it seems as though every other season has him on the hot seat. I am pretty sure Riley has a frequent customer for Hot Seat Inc. Riley is 71-62 over his eleven seasons at the helm in Corvallis. But Riley is 7-15 the past two seasons, which includes an embarrassing loss to Sacramento State. His teams have a history of being hot and cold , but as of right now the future is brim. Quick can you name an Oregon State player that’s name is not James Rodgers? The pink slip is coming. The next head coach? Bronco Mendenhall. Yup, I said it. BYU will have an opening. Bronco graduated from Oregon State and would jump at the bit (like anybody else) to coach their alma mater. Don’t worry BYU fans, LaVell might come back. Other possible candidates: Rich Brooks (Oregon State Grad), Dan Hawkins and Norm Chow.
University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA)- Head coach Rick Neuheisel’s 20-27 record over the past four seasons is going to get him a call from the President sooner rather than later. His teams have never been competitive, nor have they had stability at the quarterback position (9 quarterbacks have started for the Bruins the past 4 seasons). With some of the nations best football talent in your backyard (and USC), you should be able to at least come out with a few winning seasons. The next Bruin head coach will be: Chris Petersen. Petersen was considered one of the favorites for the job four years ago. Petersen will also be losing a large crop of seniors from this years Boise State team, the time to leave Boise is now. Petersen’s alma mater is UC-Davis, so he knows California. Other possible candidates: Brent Venables, Kirby Smart and Mike Bellotti.
Penn State- For those of you who don’t know what happened at Penn State…. type in Joe Paterno on Google. JoePa is out, and Tom Bradley is in as the interim head coach. Bradley is an excellent candidate as a permanent replacement. He has been linked to several head coaching jobs over the past few years, but has yet to land one. If Paterno had retired at the end of this season, Bradley would have gotten the job. Under the current circumstances I imagine the Penn State athletic department wants a fresh start. So it wouldn’t be shocking to see a whole new coaching staff next year. The next Penn State Coach will be: Al Golden. Golden who is currently in a rebuilding process at Miami will be courted heavily by his alma mater. Golden who made Temple into a good football program (yes, I said Temple), will be able to re-shape the Nittany Lion image and also bring youth into the football program. It will take a lot for Golden to leave Miami, but in the end he will go. Other possible candidates: Nick Saban (Penn State grad), Greg Schiano and Jim Caldwell.
Even if these coaches win out, they will most likely be canned. But in sports, anything can happen. Just look at Dabo Swinney (Clemson), and Mark Richt (Georgia) both at the start of the season were one loss away from being unemployed but turned it around and both are at the top of their respective conferences. But the Smurf can guarantee at least one of these fore mentioned coaches will be at home for thanksgiving…burning the turkey.