Pop quiz: why is this song thematically appropriate? Answer at the bottom of the post.
NAMES FOR THE NAME GOD!* Derek Dooley! Brady Hoke! Todd Graham! Steve Spurrier! Houston Nutt, the undead zombie version! Jim Grobe, why not!
OK, deep breaths. One at a time:
1. Dooley: First off, LOLZ on the out-of-office autoreply that ended up reported as news half-a-dozen places. I'm with Jay: 12-12 at La. Tech, no matter how good your connections, doesn't get you the Auburn job.
2. Hoke: You would think if anyone would be willing to recommend Hoke, it would be a Ball St. fan who's just watched him take a previously moribund Cardinal team and turn it into an offensively-snazzy MAC juggernaut that somehow managed to even snag a little bit of BCS buzz, right? Ball St./Kentucky blog Over the Pylon, we'd love to hear your thoughts ...
I love Coach Hoke, and he's had a fantastic run the last two years at BSU. But the fact remains that this is a head coach with an under-.500 winning percentage. The only way he gets the Auburn job is if they're turned down by several others and they are looking to save some coin.Oh. Not "Auburn will be making a great move" or "Hoke's proven what he can do and he's ready for the next step"? Um ... well then. (As for me: co-sign.)
3. Graham: Prefer him from a football standpoint to Hoke or Dooley since the resurrection job at Rice is a pretty mean feat 1-11 to 7-5 in a single season while converting the team out of the option is Turner Gill territory. But for a guy who got his start at Tulsa's defensive coordinator, holy hell was his defense porous this year. Malzahn's mad scientist offense can explain away some the scoring (quick scores = more possessions for both teams), but 5.9 yards a play against one of the worst schedules in D-I? From an allegedly defense-first coach? Not sure about that, and I'm even less sure I want to hire a guy who squeezed a raise out of Rice while simultaneously negotiating his new job at Tulsa. That was one of the all-time college coaching douchebag maneuvers, and unless Auburn is absolutely desperate--like, throw giant bags of money at Houston Nutt desperate--I'd rather not have any part of him.
4. Spurrier: Come on. Everybody knows he's got two, three seasons left in him at the absolute most. It makes zero sense for him to take on the rebuilding job at Auburn either from his perspective or Auburn's. Spurrier is many, many things, but one thing he's not is this dumb.
5. Zombie Nutt: Die, Jimmy Sexton, die! (Note that the link above is ganking the info from Phillip Marshall, so I suppose we can't dismiss it out of hand. Though that's what I'm going to do anyway.)
6. Grobe: First, he's the oldest non-Spurrier candidate in the bunch, second, his offense this season was just as bad (if not worse) than Auburn's, and third, his breakthrough season was built on turnover lightning bolts and the nation's best kicker, a recipe that's not going to be repeatable at Auburn. He's a great coach--that Wake freaking Forest finished 7-5 in what's widely regarded as a "down" year is amazing--but he's not what Auburn needs.
While we're throwing names around all willy-nilly like this, I've got one I haven't seen anywhere else (that I know of) and should have mentioned already: Mike Gundy. We all know his gender and how young he is, of course, but what we don't know is how much he can really earn at Oklahoma St. when T. Boone Pickens is feeling the financial crunch. Last week he signed a new deal--seven years, $15.7 million--that "no constraints" Auburn should be able to blow out of the water. Sure, he's a Big 12 guy through and through and wouldn't have any reason to leave a Cowboy team on the rise other than the ca$h ... but we are talking about a lot of ca$h here, and even if he'd have to compete with Saban that might seem a more appealing proposition than butting heads with both Stoops and Brown. Auburn's ceiling? Still higher than Okie St.'s. Sure, it's less than 50-50 Auburn could get him even if we offered, but I'd sure as hell rather ring him up and see before we hire, well, any of the guys listed above. (Why? No. 7 offense in the country and steady improvement to a 2008 season in which the Pokes' only losses were to Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. Yes please.)
Not a name for the name god. If the JCCW can assure nothing else in these dark time, we can at least assure you that there is no way on God's green earth that Auburn and Bobby Petrino will spend a collective $8.75 million to get him to Auburn.
And while he's not OUT-out the way Petrino is, it's not looking good on the Leach front, as Graham Harrell, the pirate captain's personal canary in the coaching coal mine, now says Leach is going to stay in Lubbock. Man oh man, do I hope Auburn doesn't regret snubbing this guy. I can't say I'm confident we won't.
Remember, it could always be worse. We could be San Diego St. fans, watching our team court Dennis Franchione. Or we could be Mississippi St. fans, watching the likes of Wesley Carroll desert us for a third-stringer's signaling job. It could always be worse.
Protest. One happened yesterday; even if I'm not that angry at Fail Jacobs and the Powers that Be and wouldn't have participated, I'm glad to see it. Tubby deserves it, and the kids probably needed the fresh air.
BlAUgosphere. At Track'Em, Acid Reign apparently either still has a game-tape of the 1999 Auburn-LSU cigar game or he's some sort of Rain Man-style savant who specializes in Auburn football; either way, his "Tuberville's Greatest Games" series promises to kick a lot of ass. Also at Track'Em, PowerOfDixieland is absolutely on the money when he discusses what Auburn should really be looking for in a head coach (judging by this criterion: Paul Johnson, definitely). If you want more gibbering from me about the coaching search but condensed into a neutral fan-friendly form, I took a bit of time to answer some questions asked by my buddies at the Razorback Expats. And remember the West Virginia game? J.M. wishes he didn't.
Urban Meyer, responsible voter. He's the only SEC coach who had Ole Miss above Georgia in the final coaches' vote, as they ought to be ordered. Kudos. And for anyone who thought Big 10 and Big 12-raised Les Miles might not take too kindly to the SEC: he voted with more pro-SEC bias--Gerogia and Ole Miss back-to-back at 13 and 14, FTW!--than anyone.
If you grew up as a sports fan during the 1980's, you're going to click this link. Billy Ripken, coming clean about the baseball card. You know the one. Go ahead, click over. I'll be here all day.
Quiz answer: "Take on Me" appeared on a-ha's 1985 album "Hunting High and Low." Which is what Auburn--and, I guess, Auburn's country mouse beat reporters--are doing.
*Stolen, sort of, from a meme appearing in the comment threads here.