College Football Coaches Hit The Unemployment Line

Several college football coaches will be seeking new positions as of today. Gene Chizik is out at Auburn (as I had guessed he would be) and Frank Spaziani is out at BC (as I suggested he would be) and Tom O’Brien is out at NC State despite the Wolfpack being bowl eligible with a 7-5 record and being the only ACC team to beat Florida State this year. I certainly did not have Tom O’Brien on my list of coaches on a hot seat. But that is how emotions run among collegiate football fans and athletic directors; they just know that with the right coach, good old Alma Mater can be the best in the land. Along those lines, consider this next item…

About a month ago, I suggested that Mack Brown might be on a hot seat at Texas despite a decade of very successful seasons there including a national championship. I concluded by saying that Texas was already bowl eligible at the time of my writing and that they would get a nice invitation to a game of some significance and that ought to placate any folks with hormonal rushes in Austin. That was before Thursday night when Texas lost to TCU by a TD. Late that night, I got an e-mail from a Texas alum (both undergrad and grad school) who was clearly unhappy with his football team. Here are some excerpts from his communiqué:

    “You let [Mack Brown] off the hook when you had the chance to tell everyone that all he is doing is living on reputation.”

    “Texas is no longer the big dog in the conference; now it is just one of the pack. Do you realize that in the last two games against [Oklahoma], that Texas lost 118-38. That [expletive] sucks.”

    “[Mack Brown] is overrated as a recruiter. If he was as good as he is supposed to be, RG3 would have gone to Texas and not Baylor. Since when does a top-flight QB from Texas want to go to Baylor instead of UT?”

    “Texas will go to a bowl game. But the Liberty Bowl is not the tradition of UT football and that is where we will continue to go if Mack Brown continues as the coach.”

As I said, emotions run high among alums when it comes to college football. With one game still to play (at Kansas State next week), Texas’ record is 8-3 and their losses have been to West Virginia (by a field goal), a blow-out loss to Oklahoma and Thursday’s loss to TCU. That is not a national championship performance, but it is also not one that would normally rain down the wrath of the football gods on a coach.

By the way, since I mentioned that Texas/TCU game on Thanksgiving night, let me share with you a great observation by the late and great humorist/newspaper columnist, Erma Bombeck:

“Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare, but are consumed in 12 minutes. Halftimes take 12 minutes. This is not a coincidence.”

Continuing for just a moment on college football coaching matters, the drumbeat continues to try to get Jon Gruden to take the job at Tennessee. The last time Tennessee had that job open – after Lane Kiffin took off for USC – the best they could do was to give the job to Derek Dooley who had been putting the pieces together for the football program and athletic department down at La Tech. It is not as if they did not conduct a serious search for a coach with a prime résumé back then. Ergo, can someone explain to me what has changed in the past couple of years that might make a top-shelf coaching prospect want to take up residence in Knoxville?

Stan Musial turned 92 last week. When people discuss “the greats of the game”, Musial’s name is too often absent from the conversation. Consider some of these achievements:

    From 1943 to 1963, [excluding 1945 when he was in the military], Musial was selected for the NL All-Star team every season.

    His career batting average was .331

    His career OPS was .976.

    In 22 seasons, he played in an average of 132 games per season.

    In 22 seasons, he committed 142 errors (an average of 6.5 per season).

Those numbers should have Stan Musial in the conversation when the topic is “the greats of the game”.

After Matt Ryan threw 5 INTs against the Cards but the Falcons still won that game, I wondered about the last time that had happened. Someone left a comment on that rant saying that Bart Starr had done that once for the Packers back in their hey-day. I also got a note from a reader in Houston who is a sports encyclopedia and who has access to the Elias Sports Bureau. Here is his response:

“The Falcons on Sunday became only the second NFL team in the past 40 years to win a game in which it trailed by at least 13 points and ended up committing at least five more turnovers than its opponent. Atlanta defeated the Cardinals, 23-19, overcoming both a 13-0 deficit and a minus-five turnover margin. The only other team in the past four decades to fashion a win of that kind was the 1998 Bears, who did so in a 31-27 victory over the Lions at Soldier Field.”

With regard to Jack Taylor – the Grinnell basketball player who scored 138 points in a game last week – I have only two comments to make:

    1. In a game where he took 108 shots, Taylor had ZERO assists.

    2. Has the opposing coach ever heard of a box-and-one or a triangle-and-two defense?

Finally, Danica Patrick and her husband of about 7 years are heading for a divorce. Would it be inappropriate to say that their relationship hit a wall?

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Doug  On November 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Several comments in one.

    I think Texas fans are as upset about the TCU game as they are about Mack Brown. This game should have been against Texas A&M. This a tradition lost to the SEC expansion. Another reason to hate them. Gene Chizik is another, but now he is gone. Hey, NC State is looking for a new coach!

    Stan Musial made two errors not in the stats. He played all those years in the smallest MLB media market of his day and happened to have Ted Williams and Joe Dimaggio and Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle playing at the same time as his career was peaking.

    Taylor will never be the most famous Grinnell grad. Robert Noyce and Herbie Hancock are both Grinnell grads. Uh, maybe some do not know that Noyce invented the computer chip and was the founder of Intel.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 27, 2012 at 12:59 am


      I do not know how “Texas fans” feel about Mack Brown; all I know is the acrimonious e-mail that I got from one alum. I do have to agree with my angry Texas friend that the tradition of Texas football does not include things like the Liberty Bowl or the Famous Idaho Potato bowl.

      Stan Musial playing in St. Louis for his career did not help his exposure; that is for certain. Nonetheless, people today need to include him in their reminiscences about the greats of the game.

      You are absolutely correct. Jack Taylor will never be as famous as either Noyce or Hancock.

      • Doug  On November 27, 2012 at 6:42 am

        One of my cycling partners is a Texas grad. He went on for about 20 miles Sunday about the Longhorns no longer playing A&M on Thanksgiving. Then losing to TCU, a team they consider far beneath them in football. I am sure he will get started with another rant when the bowl pairings are announced.

  • Doug  On November 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Oh, an error in your post. “Mike Ryan” should be “Matt Ryan.”

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 27, 2012 at 12:59 am


      Thank you. I will go and correct it.

  • Rich  On November 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    The fans in Brooklyn knew how great Musial was, especially in Ebbetts’ Field. That’s why they nicknamed him ‘The Man’.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 27, 2012 at 1:00 am


      There are loads of baseball fans today who never think about Musial and his career. And that is a shame because he was a great player.

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