College coaching vacancies are filling up fast.
Georgia gets Kirby Smart. Miami gets Mark Richt and USC upgrades Clay Helton. DJ Durken, left his defensive coordinator post at Michigan to go to Maryland. Justin Fuente replaces Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and it looks like South Carolina is zeroing in on Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.
There are still a handful of coaching positions to be filled, but the landscape of the college scene is changing in a big way. For Richt, it’s a chance to return to his alma mater and help rebuild a program that has fallen on hard times. Smart has the task of duplicating Richt’s success at Georgia and win an SEC title and a national championship. The others are given the task of making football relevant on campus again.
Richt’s departure at Georgia and his subsequent move to the ACC is a coup for the university. He is arguably now the third best coach in the conference by name recognition alone with Jimbo Fisher and Dabo Swinney. If Richt can turn in the numbers in terms of wins and post season invites in South Florida as he did playing in Athens in the SEC, then the Hurricanes program will move onward and upward quickly.
Smart’s job may not be that easy. Regardless of the situation in Georgia – with alumni and fans growing weary of the Bulldogs falling short of SEC titles and national championship runs, Richt was highly successful with the program, only second to Vince Dooley. Smart has to come out of the gate and win, and compete for the SEC East title, a conference title and a national title. If he cannot deliver any of that in three years, with the growth of Florida and Tennessee in the division, this is nothing more than a lateral move that went nowhere.
Yes, the pressure is on Smart and his staff even before the 2016 season starts.
SEC OR BUST
What if Florida beats Alabama? Would the College Football Playoff committee take a two-loss SEC champion in the Gators as part for the four teams vying for a national title?
Would they still take Alabama, despite the loss?
This week of conference title games has more meaning than ever, with Clemson playing a very game North Carolina team in the ACC Title contest and Michigan State and Iowa locking it up over in the Big 10. The only team sitting pretty this week is Oklahoma, who could get knocked out by virtue of not playing in a conference title game. We shall see if the Sooners, by virtue of playing in the Big 12, can only sit and wait for the dominoes to fall.
DYKES GETTING CONSIDERATION
Sonny Dykes seems to be the hot name remaining on the board for teams looking for a head coach. Despite the fact South Carolina appears ready to give Will Muschamp another chance, Dykes, who is the head coach at California, is on their Gamecock’s radar.
Word is he is also under consideration at Virginia and Missouri
Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports confirmed this on Thursday.
Dykes is in his third season at Cal. After going 1-11 his first year, the Golden Bears improved to 5-7 last year and 7-5 this year, earning their first bowl bid since 2011. His coaching record is 35-38 overall, which makes me, and Forde, wonder why he is in demand from big name programs.
Air Force’s Troy Calhoun is also a candidate at Virginia and Missouri according to Forde. Since Dykes has already been offered a new deal at Cal, and he is still mulling it over, he may very well just stay put.