A couple of weeks into the hiring season and Jimmy Sexton is having a heck of a year.
Sexton is the mega-agent located in Memphis who basically controls the coaching market. Last week, he convinced Texas that its defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was headed out of town -- somewhere, quickly. Texas is used to this sort of thing as d-coordinators in recent years have been treating the position as if it were a one-night stand.
Anyway, Texas bit and figured out a way to keep Muschamp. It named him coach-in-waiting, upped his assistant coach's salary to $900,000 beginning Jan. 1 and solved two problems at once. It keeps its talented d-coordinator and has a new head coach when the time comes. Of course if Muschamp doesn't work out over the long haul, gets a better offer elsewhere or Brown stays around longer than anticipated, then everybody washes their hands and moves on.
Texas pays off Muschamp and goes looking for someone else or Muschamp buys out of his contract.
Sexton's latest coup was getting Tennessee to hire Lane Kiffin, another one of his clients. Kiffin is a West Coast guy, a USC guy, a Pac-10 guy. Yet, to the best of anyone's knowledge Kiffin hadn't interviewed at Washington, a West Coast team and Pac-10 opponent of his former employer, USC.
Kiffin also has an ally in Syracuse AD Daryl Gross, a former USC associated AD. Once again, there was no evidence there were ever any serious talks between the two. So the question for Tennessee is -- what's the rush? The only winless team in the country didn't rush to get Kiffin. The worst team in the Big East wasn't exactly breaking down his door.
Kiffin could have still been there next week while UT talked to, say, Mike Leach or made progress with Cincinnati's Brian Kelly. Kelly still hasn't said he flat-out isn't interested in Tennessee. Maybe he's hoping that Kelly is revealed as a tax cheat or something.
Or maybe he's not young enough or inexperienced enough for Tennessee's tastes. Kiffin is all of 33 and has been a head coach for exactly 20 games, none as a college coach. Without those 20 games in Oakland, though, Kiffin wouldn't be locked up in Knoxville making more than he made with the Raiders. Funny how failure works sometimes.
Again, bravo Jimmy. You cashed in on a 37-year-old defensive coordinator who might fail as a coach-in-waiting. You also found work for a 33-year-old out-of-work coach who can't wait to coach.• A couple of outlets have reported that a group of Texas boosters have spent $7,000 for a plane that will tow the score of the Texas-Oklahoma game ("45-35") behind it Saturday above T. Boone Pickens Stadium. They better watch it. There's a fine line between campaigning and getting on people's nerves.
• Cincinnati clinched the Big East on Friday with West Virginia's loss to Pittsburgh. That fills three of the 10 BCS bowl slots. Utah (at-large) and Penn State (Big Ten) are the others.
• By losing to Arkansas, LSU finished with five losses. That ties for the third-most by a team that won a national championship the previous year.
• Their interest was first reported here. Now both Chip Kelly and Mike Locksley are in the interview process at Syracuse. Locksley, the Illinois offensive coordinator, reportedly interviewed at the school earlier this week. Kelly, the Oregon o-coordinator, will interview next week.
• Jerry Palm gave me permission to run this detailed breakdown of Texas and Oklahoma from his website.
Here's a mathematical primer on the race. Texas currently leads Oklahoma by .06 in the computers. If the lead on Sunday is:
.05, OU would need to expand its lead over Texas in the Harris poll by 44 points or by 24 points in the coaches poll (or, in each of these cases, some mathematically equivalent combination) to pass Texas.
.04, OU would need to expand its lead over Texas in the Harris poll by 15 points or by 8 points in the coaches poll to pass Texas.
.03, Texas would need to reduce Oklahoma's lead in the Harris poll by 14 points or by 8 points in the coaches poll (to stay ahead of OU.
.02, Texas would need to pass Oklahoma and lead by 22 points in the Harris poll or reduce Oklahoma's lead by 23 points in the coaches poll to stay ahead of OU.
.01, Texas would need to pass Oklahoma and lead by 50 points in the Harris poll or reduce Oklahoma's lead by 38 points in the coaches poll to stay ahead of OU.
If Texas and Oklahoma are tied in the computers, Texas would need to pass Oklahoma and lead by 79 points in the Harris poll or by 11 points in the coaches poll to stay ahead of OU.
I don't think Oklahoma can pass Texas in the computers.