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Time To Stop The Doom-N-Gloom Talk: No SEC School Is Facing A “Gotta Get It Right” Hire

Instant, mass communication has changed everything.  Absolutely everything.  Our world is now filled with people who have shorter attention spans, less patience, and an overall greater sense of entitlement.  We are so focused on our own immediate gratification that anything requiring more than one or two clicks on a laptop or smartphone is just too darn much work.

That kind of thinking makes every decision appear to be bigger than it actually is.  There is no tomorrow, only now.  Right now.  As in this very frickin’ instant now.

Which is probably why I continue to read stories stating that:

 

*  Arkansas has to hire the right coach now or else the Razorbacks will spend eternity as second-class SEC citizens.

*  Kentucky has to hire the right coach now or else its football program is doomed forever.

*  Tennessee has to hire the right coach now or else it will be stumble through irrelevance for decades.

*  Auburn must fire Gene Chizik and hire the right coach now or else the football program may never recover.

 

Bull.

Bull on all four.  It may feel that way to a fan.  It may make for a nice column for a writer.  But it’s bull.

College football is cyclical.  In the mid-to-late 1990s, no one would have dreamed that Steve Spurrier and Phillip Fulmer wouldn’t finish their careers at Florida and Tennessee, respectively, awash in success and glory.  Things changed.

Nick Saban is the current king of the college football world.  But let him lose to Auburn on Saturday (unlikely) or Georgia in the SEC Championship Game (not as unlikely) and suddenly people in the Yellowhammer State will start questioning him… just as the governor of Alabama questioned Bama’s play-selection toward the end of the Tide’s loss to Texas A&M two weeks ago.

Teams go up, teams go down.  Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Texas.  Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida State.  Alabama, LSU, Tennessee.

There’s not a single team in the SEC that a) must make a move right now or b) must make the right hire now or face certain annihilation.

Need proof?  Let’s take a look at Alabama since the Crimson Tide is thriving at the moment.  Bama had six different men lead its football program between 2000 and 2007.

Let that sink in for a bit.

Mike DuBose led the Tide from 1997 through 2000.  Then Dennis Franchione did so in 2001 and 2002.  Then came Mike Price who never even coached a game before blowing up in scandal.  Mike Shula stepped in from 2003 through 2006.  Joe Kines served as an interim coach at the end of Shula’s tenure for one game.  And then finally, mercifully for Tide fans, Saban arrived in 2007.

That’s six coaches over the course of eight seasons.  During that span there was a 3-8 season in 2000, a 4-9 record in 2003, and a 6-6 mark in 2004.  Throw in various NCAA sanctions and some vacated wins and — if the naysayers had been correct — Alabama would have been done forever, destined to toil in mediocrity until judgement day.

But then… Saban.

Since 2008, Alabama has gone 58-7 overall, collected two BCS titles and currently controls its own destiny in its race for title #3 in a five-season span.

DuBose wasn’t a “gotta get it right hire.”  Franchione wasn’t an “or else” hire.  Ditto Price and Shula.

Look, I get it that everyone wants to win and win now.  Fine.  You should.  But the idea that one more bad hire or one more bad season will finish off your favorite program?  Please.  This isn’t English soccer where teams are relegated down a division if they don’t finish high enough up on the standings table.

Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee are going to have make some important decisions over the next few weeks.  There’s no debating that.

But if any or all of them make what turn out to be bad moves this time around, it won’t prevent some Saban type from popping up three or four years down the road.  No one wants to wait for that, of course.  But to suggest stadiums will be shuttered and programs banished to the gridiron wilderness due to a single bad hire in 2012 is ridiculous.  It makes of for good copy and plenty of pageviews, to be sure.  But it’s ridiculous.

Just go ask an Alabama fan who was distraught and panicky upon the hiring of DuBose, Franchione, Price or Shula.  Then came Saban.

 


6 comments
Usn8retVol
Usn8retVol

Just a note to the folks at MrSEC, I am new to most boards, but I have to tell you the comments on this one are top shelf. None of the usual BS I have been reading on some Tennessee message boards (and BTWi am a die-hard Vol Fan living in West Georgia). I have found a home to get my SEC news! Thanks!

j_scott_o
j_scott_o

This is an EXCELLENT article!  This is what I always argue on boards.  Fans are always about the "here & now", which is fine, but, it isn't the end all.  Like you said in the article, teams and conferences are cyclical.  Saban is an example I use in my arguments all the time for both Bama & LSU.  LSU was struggling just like Bama until Saban came along.  LSU just got lucky that they got Miles after Saban bolted for the NFL.

 

Another example is the Big12.  In the 90s, the Big8 was dominated by Nebraska, Colorado, and KSU...with Nebraska being the most dominant...3 championships...and was owning every SEC team it played in bowl games.  In the SWC, A&M was the force.  Oklahoma and Texas won some games, but, they were very mediocre teams.  Nebraska had a legendary coach in Osborne, as did A&M with Slocum.  Then, the Big12 was formed.  Both A&M and Nebraska were predicted to be the powers for years to come in the South and North, respectively.  Then, something happened, Osborne retired, Slocum had a couple bad seasons and was fired (stupid), while at the same time Oklahoma and Texas made great hires in Stoops and Brown, respectively.  So great were those hires that they are still there, over 10 years later.  Both schools have won a national title.  This hurt the recruiting of both Nebraska, and even more so, A&M.  Nebraska jumped thru 2 coaches (Solich, Callahan) before finding their man in Pelini.  They still aren't back to their glory days, but, they are on the verge of winning the B1G in their 2nd year in that conference.  Likewise, A&M made two horrible hires for them with Franchione & Sherman.  It now looks like A&M found their man in Sumlin.  But, both had a decade or more of mediocrity b/c of the hires while their main rivals basked in glory.

 

What is also amusing is every year you hear both the OU & tu fanbases screaming for change...get new coaches, our coaches are horrible.  I beleive they have become spoiled.  They forget how it was prior to Stoops & Brown.  My guess is, in the next few years, when each does make a change, if it isn't the right coach they may struggle for a few years.  But, it is in no way a gloom and doom forever situation.

 

It is cyclical.

buddha22
buddha22

@j_scott_o You lost me with the OU won some games in the SWC...well, maybe non-conference.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

"Our world is now filled with people who have shorter attention spans, less patience, and an overall greater sense of entitlement. "

 

Respectfully I would have added, "the belief in their own infalibility on topics for which they have no expertise." Sorry, but blog postings (and I am guilty of this all the time) tend to be made as a reaction to immediate events rather than as part of a reflective thought process.

 

Two years ago, after the UF-Alabama game, every Gator web site was awash with tales of woe. At the time, UF had the best atheletic facilities, overall in the SEC, one of its best recruiting classes in history was around the corner, and here we are today. Texas was the undisputed power in the state in the recent past, Ohio State was in decline and Natre Dame was "never going to live up to its storied legacy."

 

One headline posted yesterday said "Texas A&M is the hottest program in college football today." The word "today" was the smartest part of that headline. Tomorrow it will be.....

bvkv09
bvkv09

apparently Arkansas has offered Jon Gruden their open HC position. I didn't want to post a link to another site, but it is out there for any interested. It was reported by a Arkansas TV station.

mikec1000000
mikec1000000

Nick Saban is a great football mind, but he had a little help with the table being set when he arrived at UofA. Although Shula had issues with execution on the field, he recruited well and gave his successor a nice stable of athletes to orchestrate. A similar scenerio could be stated for the next hire at UT. As far as on the field execution, the Vols have made strides in certain areas of the game under Dooley, but have not met expectations. His major mistake was the change from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Sunseri is not a bad coach, but that type of overhaul on defense is difficult for NFL teams to manage in a single season. It's even harder for an NCAA team. It was not good timing considering the team was just starting to gel under Dooley. With Dooley gone and a new hire to come, UT has some talented young men. I'm not saying someone will have the same quick success that Saban did, but a good football guy can come into Knoxville and get that group of guys together quickly.



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