Wednesday, October 19, 2016

College Football: Why Tom Herman might *not* be so willing to leave Houston.

In the wake of the Big X XII Conference' decision to not expand to 12 teams the pundits are already declaring University of Houston head coach Tom Herman to be out the door.

To quote Mr. Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend".

As a caveat, I also think it's likely that Herman leaves for greener pastures after this season. I think some big school is going to offer him so much money he'll over look all of the problems he's going to have to overcome.  But, when it comes down to it, there are only two programs (as of now) who have job openings that I would consider marked upgrades from UH and each opportunity comes with a ton of warts.

But first there are Herman's own words: He's stated a fondness for staying at UH over marginal Power 5 jobs. "Why be a small fish in a big pond" etc. etc.  The fact is schools like Purdue can probably just sit this one out. It doesn't hurt to ask, but there are other coaches who I think are better fits for your programs.

With that in mind let's look at the Power 5 openings that could or will be, or are available.

Texas: I think we can all agree that Charlie Strong is going to be out of there at the end of the year. The loss to OU sealed his fate. While most everyone agrees that Herman would take this there are some compelling reasons why he might think twice.  For one, the Culture and Atmosphere at the 40 acres is a "cesspool" to quote Kirk Herbstreit.  While UT-Austin fans are angry over that it's partially because Mr. Herbstreit is right.  Red McCombs and the other boosters that are currently running things are running them into the ground.  Yes, UT-Austin has money, resources, facilities and recruiting advantages that are 2nd to none. In fact, when they're right I think they are a top 5 job. Right now though I'd stay far away until a strong AD comes in and straightens out the ship.

LSU: First off, and I'm sorry to break this to you Tiger fans, LSU is NOT a "top 5 job". I realize that you constantly fool yourself by saying this but it's not true.  Is being the head man in Baton Rogue a Top 10 job? Probably, but the school is currently lower on money than Sears and the situation is getting worse every day. Add to this the fact that AD Alluva is a garbage fire and you have a situation that could be untenable long-term.  The history of LSU has been good runs, followed trips to long, dark places. They could be on the edge of that precipice right now.

Mississippi State: Simple: No, just no. I don't see any way Herman takes a job at the school in the SEC West with the smallest budget, worst facilities, and hopes of only competing for a title once every 4 or 5 years. The Bulldog's best bet is to try and keep Dan Mullen.

Notre Dame: Not near the job it was in the past nor will it ever be in the future.  I think we're seeing the slow decline of ND football in it's infancy, as the program will continue to slip away from being the National Power it's always been, and will eventually join a Power 4 conference and become a middling conference player, being forced to "give up" all of it's "traditional rivalry" games that it's used to pad it's record with for years now. It wouldn't hurt them to try and woo David Shaw however. I think he could do some good there.

Oregon: When a school like Oregon starts to lose it, it can go away fast and it's often very difficult to get back.  Yes, they have tons of Nike money and facilities that are unmatched in the Nation, but they lack a natural recruiting base and there will always be the specter of USC hanging over their shoulder. This is another school that I think is travelling to a deep, dark place and it will take more than neon uniforms to dig them back out of it again.  By the by: I think they should take a long, hard look at PJ Fleck.

I could easily envision a situation where Herman decides to hang around UH for a while, build the team into a Group of 5 power, and then head back home to USC when they finally pull the plug on Son of Love Coach.  He's from that area and whether you like them or not, the House of Troy is a top 5 job.

Still, Herman could end up at one of these other schools and he could be successful there, but I'm not sure he's going to have the natural advantages he has in Houston at any of them other than UT-Austin, but I'm worried the well in Austin is just too poisoned.  Other than there, I'm not all that certain the path to the CFP is easier anywhere else than it is at Houston.  Just quit losing that one curious game every season.

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