From the "Talks too much" studios, let's do work.
College football job openings
Forget flipping Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Welcome to Black Cyber Monday. Yep, the college football regular season is over. For most fans that's a bad thing; for Auburn fans it actually allows us the chance to do something on Saturdays and not pretend like we're not bothered by the complete and total collapse that of a program that won it all 22 months ago.
There are four SEC coaching openings, and there are jobs to be had at N.C. State, Colorado, Cal and Purdue. Heck, those eight fan bases alone could melt the interwebs checking for names and hot lists and coaching big boards and whatnot. Yay. And boo.
So on this Black Cyber Monday, we offer the best of the black clouds. That's right, here are the best college football job openings out there at this moment (and depending on who goes where, there could be some trickle down after that):
1) Tennessee: The Vols are starved for success and if the right guy can come in and convince some of the draft-minded juniors to stay, big improvements could be made sooner rather than later. Plus, who ever gets the UT job has the comfortable knowledge that the entire athletic department needs you to succeed on a grand scale.
2) Auburn: The Tigers almost assuredly will have more talent on the 2013 roster than UT, and the fact that Auburn is willing to spend more than $11 million to buy out the current staff is 11-plus million hard and cold facts that the Tigers are willing to do anything to win. That said, if you are a hot-shot coaching name right now, it's hard to ignore the fact that Auburn just fired the guy that delivered the program's second national title 22 months after lifting the crystal ball into the desert air outside of Phoenix.
3) Arkansas: The wake of Bobby Petrino — and his haphazard recruiting, especially across the lines of scrimmage — were masked by the ineptitude of John L. Smith. (Seriously did you watch Friday's loss to LSU, where Smith kicked a field goal from inside the 2 down 17-10 late in the game? The lil' 5-at-10 — who is 5 mind you — looked at the TV and asked, "Huh, you gotta go for the TD, right?" Uh, yes son, you do.) That said, did Petrino elevate this job or can you win at Arkansas in the uber-competitive SEC West?
4) N.C. State: Would anyone have guessed that a team that beat FSU and lost to Tennessee would have identity issues? Of course not. Still, the Wolfpack have support and the chance to succeed. Heck, playing in the ACC gives anyone a puncher's chance at making the title game.
5) Colorado: Yes, the program is in shambles, but the state just passed the legalization of pot. And if you can't use that in recruiting some of the best high school football players in the country, well, then you're not trying. And that's coooool, man. We can dig it. Pass the pizza and let's chill.
More college football
So yes, there's still a ton of stuff to talk about with the conference title games on the horizon and the looming BCS match-ups — and we'll get to all that in due time. But there was so much college football hijinx this weekend, let's go over five more things to ponder.
— We'll break this down 12 ways to Saturday, but make no mistake: Alabama and Georgia are entering the Georgia Dome rolling. Each looked awfully impressive in trucking bitter rivals by a combined 91-10. (Way to go Georgia Tech, scoring 10 points an all.)
— Any questions ACC? Hustle on back and get ready for hoops.
— Say what you want, but Notre Dame deserves to be in the title game. That schedule was better than most of the power teams in the SEC and they survived it unblemished. Side note: Did you know this is Brian Kelly's third undefeated season with three different programs. Brian Kelly, underrated?
— The Fab 4 (plus 1) picks will never go before Thursday again. We made three rushed picks last week because of the Thanksgiving holiday, and re-issued five more on Friday afternoon here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/nov/21/5-10-gruden-rumors-fab-4-picks-college-hoops-dude-/. We went 0-3 on the Wednesday picks and 5-0 on the Friday picks. That carries us 47-21-2. We're OK with that even though we completely ignored one of our picking laws — "When a line looks too good to be true, it always is" — when we picked Mississippi State over Ole Miss.
— Among the late picks we got right were two of the teams that will miss the postseason and ended the season Saturday with wins in Ohio State and Miami. That got us thinking about the the future, and what if the BCS had a four-team playoff right now. Since the four-team playoff would be put together by a selection committee, who would be in it this year? Notre Dame, the Alabama-Georgia winner, Florida and Oregon? Yeah, the new playoff is not going to solve EVERYTHING, considering that field will have exactly one BCS conference champ in the mix. Oh, this is not defending the BCS mind you, considering there's a solid chance that one or more of the eclectic and listless group of a six-loss Georgia Tech team, a three-loss UCLA team or a five-loss Wisconsin team will be playing in BCS. The BCS is so cracked that there's a chance with a win in the MAC conference title game that Kent State could leap over Oklahoma into the BCS. And the fact that Kent State — which was routed by Kentucky early in the season — would be in the BCS is not even the most crazy of the crazy parts. No, it would better serve the Northern Illinois athletic program to lose the MAC title game and cash the shared BCS-revenue check than it would be to win the conference championship. BCS, where the 'C' is optional.
We'll get into the Power Poll on Tuesday. But there was so much from the extended NFL extra-ganza that we needed to discuss it Here's five:
— The Ravens prevailed 16-13 in overtime against the Chargers on Sunday because Ray Rice converted a fourth-and-29 on a swing pass with Baltimore down three in the final two minutes of regulation. Fourth-and-29? Where was Sal Sunseri on Sunday afternoon, and why did the Chargers allow him to call that defensive set? Seriously, that's the death blow for Norv Turner and the Chargers staff that has mastered the come-from-ahead loss.
— OK, everyone has debated the stupidity of the "automatic challenge, so no-challenge flag or everyone is grounded" penalty. We concur; it's asinine (and gang, asinine is a supremely underused word; it's insulting both in a street and intellectual way; in fact, we're flat asinine for not using asinine more often). That said, here's a rule we want changed today. In the modern world of super computers like the W.O.P.R used in "War Games" can we not figure out a way to get the teams playing on Thanksgiving a bye the preceding Sunday? The Texans, who have played roughly 10 quarters of tackle football in four days, are losing linebackers two at the time. In the age of safety and recovery time, you'd think teams that play on Thursday would not have to play the Sunday before, huh? Well, at least the league's not making a huge deal about safety and safety issues... wait a second.
— Is there a more under-respected 10-1 team in NFL history than your Atlanta Falcons? Is there a worse 10-1 team in NFL history than your Atlanta Falcons? Somehow the answer to each of those questions is "No."
— OK, let's throw this out there now: The Denver Broncos have won six in a row and are going to be a factor in the AFC playoffs. The New York Giants are the defending Super Bowl champs and reminded us why with an impressive whipping on Green Bay on Sunday night. Is there any way to overestimate the Manning saturation we'd be in store for if Peyton and the Broncos meet Eli and the Giants in the Super Bowl? Even Archie would be saying, "Dear Lord, not another story about this."
— Two days after the college football season ended, there could be a few NFL coaches available for some of the big-boy college football gigs. And while they may or may not know the day-to-day grind that is college football in general and SEC football in particular, they know football at the highest level. And if you think that a blah NFL coach can't turn around a big-time college program, ask USC if they'd like to have Pete Carroll back. Here are five NFL coaches that need to be lining up a new gig because their days are all-but numbered at their current places of employment:
Andy Reid, Philly
Rex Ryan, New York Jets
Norv Turner, San Diego
Romeo Crennel, Kansas City
Jason Garrett, Dallas
What say you Johnny Vols Fan, any of those names light your fire?
This and that
— College hoops has started, and is it us or did we underestimate Duke? Sweet buckets of 3-point buckets. And this week's ACC-Big Ten matchup could be pretty special starting with UNC-Indiana on Tuesday night. Ah, a Big Ten-ACC rivalry in hoops is just like it would be in football, except it would be entertaining and high-level play. So actually it would be nothing like an ACC-Big Ten football series. Nevermind.
— Want to know something that does not bode well for NASCAR? We got up this morning wondering who won Sunday's race before remembering that the season ended with their big "championship" the week before. That's less than good.
— OK, we'll ask one more NFL question: When did Monday Night Football become the step-child of the NFL schedule? Eagles-Panthers? Really? Guh-Ross. The only reason to watch is to see if Jon Gruden uses an orange highlighter, wears an Arkansas red tie or makes a War Eagles reference in his analysis.
— OK, one more college football item: Here is how ESPN formula ace Brad Edwards (who slap knows his stuff) projects the BCS bowl matchups:
Title game in Miami: Alabama-Notre Dame
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon-Kansas State
Wow, something tells us that the crowd at the title game may be a little bigger than the crowd at the Orange. Thoughts?
It was a sad weekend around the 5-at-10 compound. The worst Auburn football season of our lifetime had a big, fat stink bow put on it — and how Alabama minus-34 was not one of our picks is crazy talk.
And before we get to today's question, here's our thought process on firing Gene Chizik 22 months removed from a BCS title. It had to be done. Seriously, with your season sprinting down the drain — Auburn went winless in the SEC for the first time in more than 30 years — your team responds with a listless effort in a home embarrassment against Texas A&M. Then with the your job and possibly your career on the line, your team is either so indifferent to you as a coach or so poorly prepared — or some of each — that in the emotional tsunami that SEC rivalries, Georgia and Alabama put a combined 87-0 waxing on the Tigers.
That's unacceptable, regardless what happened 22 months ago, 22 days ago or 22 minutes ago. And, 99 percent of the time, we always ask, "Who are you going to get that's better," when people talk about firing coaches. In the regard to Auburn — and in a lot of ways Tennessee — it's not some much asking "Who would be better" as much as "It can't get any worse."
And in the arms race of the SEC, never has John Wooden's axiom of "You either get better or worse, you never stay the same" more true. Because as the rest of the conference is working and spending and doing whatever it can to be better, no team can afford to look around and say, "Well, maybe next year will be different." Crossing your fingers is not the act of a rational SEC AD — well at least not one that wants to be employed beyond the next coaching search.
OK, as always, feel free to go on free-style — MCA, get on the mic, my man — but here's a starting point. To make our weekend even more sullen, Larry Hagman — AKA J.R. Ewing — died on Friday. What's the Rushmore of TV characters known more as their character than as themselves? Hagman for sure, since every time we ever saw him, it was "Hey, that's J.R. Ewing," rather than "Hey, it's Larry Hagman."
Who else you got?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...