Now that the college football season is over but for the 763 bowl games to be played (who isn’t looking forward to seeing the Bubba’s Tire & Ice Cream Parlor Bowl, featuring the Central Alabama School of Piano-tuners vs. Erie State Slackers?), I have a few thoughts that have been rummaging around in my head.
First, there are too many bowl games around. When schools with 5-7 records are getting into bowls as a reward for a season well played, then we need to scale back the bowls. I’m not happy when 6-6 teams go bowling. If up to me, I’d scale it back so teams that at least won their conference divisions make a bowl game.
Second, is Tom Herman going to be the next Charlie Strong? “Of course he is,” you say. “He just took Charlie Strong’s place as coach at UT.”
I know that. But I remember back to Strong’s hiring. He had been a coordinator on a championship team (at Florida under Urban Meyer), then went to a good but not great non-Power Five team, Louisville. There, he took Louisville to winning records and resounding bowl victories. Then he came to Texas, where he was going to bring back the wins. Yet he never finished a season in Austin with more wins than losses.
Now comes Herman. Like Strong, he was a coordinator on a national championship team (Ohio State under Urban Meyer), who was then hired to take over a good program in Houston. He took that good program and transformed it into a great program. If you want to get into more similarities, both Louisville and Houston have team colors of red and white, but I think that’s taking the comparison too far.
Now, Herman is being tasked with making Texas football relevant again. For the sake of Texas and the Big 12, I hope Herman starts cranking out 12-win seasons on a regular basis. I hope that people begin to compare Texas to Alabama, and eventually, comparing Alabama to Texas. But I’m not sure.
No matter the school, hiring a new head coach is such a gamble. Texas replaced Mack Brown with Strong and now replaces Strong with Herman. There are rumblings that Texas A&M wants to get rid of its head coach, and that SMU’s coach, who just signed a contract extension after going 5-7, is holding out to take over the Aggie program. Baylor just hired Matt Rhule. Each of these hires and potential hires carry with them the understanding that each football program is about to see greater days ahead.
But did Charlie Strong? Did Baylor between Grant Teaff and Art Briles? Did A&M between R.C. Slocum and Johnny Football? Texas and Baylor may have great success with their new coaches. But only time will tell.
I’m also curious — why hasn’t a Big 12 school hired the head coach from North Dakota State? Every time the Bison have played a Big 12 school, they’ve come away with a win. I think someone should be putting this guy on the short list of future coaches in the Big 12.
Finally, does the Big 12 have a death wish or something? The league comes into the season with the hype of finally living up to the name and adding at least two teams, only to say, “Never mind.” Oklahoma’s president David Boren kicks the whole thing off with statements that the conference needs to expand, that the Big 12 is disadvantaged. He leads the charge, only to change his mind at the last minute. Is Oklahoma positioning itself for an eventual escape to the Big 10 or the SEC?
If I’m Mack Rhoades, I’m putting together a plan for Baylor’s next move, talking to commissioners and presidents from other leagues. I’m positioning Baylor for the breakup of the conference in the next five to 10 years.
I would hate for Baylor to be relegated to asking for membership in the American Athletic or Mountain West conferences. I’d be telling SEC, Big 10, even ACC conference movers and shakers, that Baylor can bring a lot to the table. I’m also hoping that Rhule gets Baylor football back on track real quick to make BU more appealing.
Okay. Thanks for letting me get this off my mind. Now I can consider more important things, like pondering a possible correlation between the NFL messing with the extra point and the drop in TV ratings.