Over the summer I felt there were five coaches fighting for their coaching lives in the midst of a global pandemic. While I thought some had a better chance at surviving than others for a variety of reasons it was made clear Covid-19 wouldn’t save guys from losing their jobs. Two of those five on my preseason list are now unemployed including Will Muschamp at South Carolina (replaced by Shane Beamer), and Tom Herman at Texas (Replaced by Steve Sarkisian). Additionally, Auburn made the jump and cut ties with Gus Malzahn (replaced by Bryan Harsin).
Michigan fans are still pretty fed up with Jim Harbaugh. And they should be! But reports are circulating that despite being 49-22 overall in Ann Arbor with no appearances in the Big Ten title game or even a win over Ohio State, he could be getting an extension rather than the pink slip. That stems from belief that NFL teams could come calling for Harbaugh’s services. Michigan was 2-4 overall this season and missed out on another loss to the Buckeyes last month due to Covid-19 cases…or so they said.
Now if you want to feel bad for those guys, feel free. But keep in mind each had at least a $15 Million buyout. $15 mil take it to the house in the middle of a pandemic….yeah, I think I could figure out how to make that work.
Looking ahead, you have to think Harbaugh remains on thin ice in 2021. Especially as Ryan Day continues to build Ohio State into an annual college football playoff contender leaving ole Jimmy in the dust. Jeremy Pruitt’s clock is ticking a little faster over in Rocky Top country as well and he might just take his beloved athletic director, Phil Fulmer, down the mountain with him. (But that is another rant for another day)
UCLA’s Chip Kelly has the support of his AD despite another yawn fest of a season out west. Finally, Clay Helton’s seat is probably closer to room temperature again after he ran the Trojans to a 5-1 mark in 2020. USC fell to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, 31-24, and elected to decline any bowl invitation bid. Hard to blame them as they likely wouldn’t have secured a NY6 bowl game due to being ranked 13th prior to the game. Helton is already making some staff changes though and it helps when you secure a talent like Korey Foreman who officially announced his signing with the Trojans over the weekend.
Others who were let go so far includes Derek Mason at Vanderbilt, Kevin Sumlin at Arizona, and Lovie Smith at Illinois. Key contract extensions of note includes Mario Cristobal at Oregon and Jamey Chadwell at Coastal Carolina. Additionally, Scott Satterfield at Louisville and Billy Napier at Louisiana reaffirmed their commitments and intent to return in 2021. After rumors of a possible change, Virginia Tech appears to be sticking with Justin Fuente for now.
But tomorrow is Black Monday which means the coaching changes are far from over just yet.
There are reports that Urban Meyer could be returning to the sidelines in Jacksonville. That would set up a potential Ohio State connection down in the sunshine state with Justin Fields in the NFL draft. You can bet things are about to get interesting in the coaching carousel with impacts on both the NFL and college football markets.