College football coaching carousel keeps spinning

Hard Rock Stadium before the Miami Hurricanes vs. Notre Dame on November 11, 2017. Phasornc / Wikipedia

The end of the 2021 college football season means not only bowl dreams for winning teams, but exhilarating emotions in the midst of abrupt reality on campuses across the country.

27 college football teams have changed head coaches in the past ten days, with some notable programs (it’s okay, Oregon) left without a boss for now. At least 12 other institutions have decided to extend or keep coaches. In an attempt to maintain relevance, for example, the state of Michigan awarded second-year coach Mel Tucker a 10-year, $ 95 million contract.

We won’t have enough room here to analyze all of this action, but we can take a look at some of the most publicized moves. With so much emotion in the air, let’s take a look at the ever-tumultuous landscape of college football through ‘change’.

“Time can change me / But I cannot retrace time” Changes, David Bowie

One of the most interesting twists and turns on this year’s ride is the change that didn’t happen.

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The University of Michigan hailed Jim Harbaugh as its returning savior in 2015. Six years later, the program has reached nothing but mediocrity – a combined record of 3-9 against the Spartans and Buckeyes, a record 1. -4 in bowl games and a 2-13 score against the top ten AP teams.

In 2020, the quakes turned into disaster as the Wolverines went to 2-4 with the last three games canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Instead of walking away, however, Harbaugh suffered an unprecedented pay cut and leveled the ax himself. He let the old guard go to bring in some new players: defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, safety coach Ron Bellamy, defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale and running backs coach Mike Hart.

At the start of this season, Harbaugh had never beaten Ohio State, and Michigan had never reached a Big Ten Championship game. After Blue lost a big blow to Michigan State on October 30, Jim Harbaugh’s header looked ripe for fall. And then, November 27 arrived.

Vying for a ticket to the Big Ten Championship, Michigan did something they had never done against Ohio State under Harbaugh: they won. There was a prime-time goal that the team had rarely posted during the coach’s tenure. And it didn’t happen with a click, according to Wolverines Wire.

The team trained daily for Ohio State. Coaches have installed “Beat Ohio State” signs in the locker rooms. They did an “Ohio beat” exercise in training. And then they hit a college football playoff ticket – a semi-final encounter with Georgia.

It remains to be seen if Harbaugh can keep that momentum going, but in just one game the coach has gone from prodigal son to conquering hero.

“The future is in the air, we can feel it everywhere, blowing with the wind of change” Winds of change, The Scorpions

Phil Knight funded the University of Oregon to the tune of $ 1 billion. The name and influence of the Nike co-founder is displayed throughout the institution, most recently with the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerated Scientific Impact. The couple shelled out $ 500 million to ensure that the collaborative, cutting-edge effort to address societal challenges would be built on the banks of the Willamette River.

Some of the biggest beneficiaries of this philanthropy are the Duck football team, easily recognizable in different shades of neon, green, yellow, white and black. The Nike brand forged the national reach of Oregon’s recruiting, and Knight’s dollars expanded Autzen Stadium, the team’s home to Eugene. Knight even hired Mario Cristobal in 2017 and helped with staff increases that ensured continuity.

Under Cristobal’s leadership, the Ducks replaced USC as the West’s most dominant scout. Five stars arrived from the home state, Utah, California and Hawaii. This led to a Knight-approved 10-year, $ 85 million extension offer, according to The Oregonian. The first year would pay over $ 7 million and increase with each subsequent year. However, the biggest contract ever offered to a football coach Duck was not enough to buy Cristobal’s heart.

Cristobal is a Miami native, playing on the offensive line for two Canes National Championship teams and serving as a University of Miami assistant under Butch Davis from 2004 to 2006. He also earns nearly $ 8 million a year, a thank you for moving back home.

Cristobal went 35-13 to the W, leading the team to three Pac-12 North titles, two Pac-12 championships and a 2020 Rose Bowl victory. The coach won’t hesitate to hire assistants and bring together a new force of nature to uproot the Florida swamp, rich in talent.

Meanwhile, the Ducks have already lost three ESPN 300 rookies after Cristobal announced his departure on Monday. Fans are in shock and the Knights are thrown out for the second time since Chip Kelly split town for the NFL.

“You better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a rock, because times are changing” Times are changing ‘, Bob Dylan

After Bob Stoops abruptly retired in June 2017, leaving behind state-of-the-art upgrades and an unused, brand-new, statesman-sized office, no one could have predicted how he would return as as interim emergency head coach. four years later.

Coach hand-picked replacement Lincoln Riley, then 33, led Oklahoma to even higher heights. The Sooners would win the Big 12 Championship every season under Riley until this year’s loss to hard-core rival Oklahoma State. They have made three college football playoff appearances in five years, going 55-10 in that streak.

Just a week ago, however, Riley opted for generational money in Southern California over a prairie inheritance. He’ll likely infuse the Trojans with offensive creativity with the best rookies for the first time in Pasadena since Pete Carroll. It’s sort of a logical coincidence that one of Carroll’s contemporaries helped right the Sooners ship.

“Who can say that some fresh new ideas don’t improve the team? Stoops said on the Fox Big Ten Championship pre-game show, a tee shot as his former heir walked away.

OU wasted no time reacting, hiring Clemson’s defensive coordinator Brent Venables a few days later. Venables is considered a leading defensive spirit – a radical departure from Riley’s offensive magic. In the Big-12 go-go, going against the grain for a defensive advantage amid endless shootouts might be an answer.

This is Venables’s first head coaching position and a homecoming (a theme he now seems in varsity play), having served on Bob Stoops’ staff from 1999 to 2011. Venables has been a hot name in coaching circles for a while, and it follows a familiar pattern: Stoops and Riley were newbies too.

As recruiting season begins and Bowl Season quickly approaches, there is a belief born out of an almost perpetual cycle of hope, euphoria, contentment, and grief. In turn in a tilting whirlpool, the rooms change, but the places remain the same.

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