It looks like the biggest college football Sunday, well, until next week when the BCS bowls are announced. At issue today:
--Let the Miami speculation begin. Randy Shannon’s firing means a wide net will be cast. As Gregg Doyel pointed out, Miami pretty much has said player conduct isn’t an issue anymore. Miami fired a fine man who had recruited good players and good citizens.
Forget that, it’s time to find a football coach. Miami’s legacy is so deep that a rule has been named after it. Well, it doesn’t have an official name but next year points will be taken off the board for excessive celebration during a play. I’ve written about …
Anyway, to the speculation:
Miami needs a head coach. Miami needs an offensive coach. Miami needs a coach with quarterback experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean a former quarterback (Mark Richt?) but it does mean one who can coach (and recruit) quarterbacks.
My short list in no particular order:
Dana Hologorsen, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator – No, he’s not a head coach but he’s the reason the top three offensive players in the Big 12 play for Oklahoma State (Brandon Weeden, Kendall Hunter, Justin Blackmon).
Mike Leach, Key West resident-- He’s laying low in the Keys filing lawsuits until the next big thing comes along. If Miami wants to go 180 degrees from Shannon then this is their man. Note to Miami, though: Bring representation. This former lawyer is legally armed and dangerous.
Charlie Strong, Louisville - Defensive guy. Definitely not a quarterback guy. Strong, though, is known as a great recruiter who could get Miami back on track in a hurry. That pretty much goes for whoever Miami hires. We’re talking the ACC, here.
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech -- He’d come in a heartbeat. He loves Miami, knows how to recruit there. Tubs has two national championships rings from Miami. Is he too old though, 56, for Kirby Hocutt’s tastes?
Greg Schiano, Rutgers -- Here’s what you have to ask yourself – Has Rutgers dragged Schiano down? He led it to unprecedented heights but the Knights will miss their first bowl in five years this season. Or, are Miami’s resources just waiting to be tapped by an energetic former Hurricane assistant. Schiano has recruited South Florida for years.
Mark Richt, Georgia -- His name is automatic given his ties to the program (former quarterback) and success at Florida State and Georgia. But how does Richt go from the hot seat at Georgia to a hot candidate at Miami in just a few weeks?
Jon Gruden, TV analyst -- He'll be mentioned because he's always mentioned because he desperately wants back in and keeps throwing his name in the mix. Best to think of Gruden as a symbol. Miami would be wise to go after a guy with NFL ties.
Brent Venables, Oklahoma defensive coordinator -- This seems to be a great fit: Venables and Miami AD Kirby Hocutt were together at Kansas State. Venables is known as a good recruiter. The downside: Venables' defenses haven't been great lately although the talent seemingly has been there.
--West Virginia’s Bill Stewart is “seriously mulling” retirement according to a West Virginia pay website.
--Other issues today: Three-way ties in the Big Ten and Big 12 have to be settled for BCS berths.
Oklahoma is expected to slip past Oklahoma State (and Texas A&M) in the Big 12. Wisconsin is expected to grab the Rose Bowl berth ahead of Ohio State and Michigan State.
In Oklahoma’s case, it’s fitting that the final Big 12 game (in this configuration) could be OU and Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. It’s that rivalry (among others) that was altered when the Big 12 was formed.
Stanford is at least projected to be at No. 4 in the BCS standings as of Sunday morning. That means the Cardinal would be guaranteed a BCS bowl (if Oregon beats Oregon State), most likely in the Orange Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl.
TCU seemingly has clinched a Rose Bowl berth, at least, after destroying New Mexico. The Horned Frogs’ regular season is done. It’s difficult to project them falling out of the No. 3 spot in the BCS.