The Monday After: Jeff Brohm's the obvious choice at Louisville, but he's another costly move
Plus, a plea for fans when discussing the College Football Playoff Rankings
When the news broke Sunday morning that Louisville coach Bobby Petrino had been fired, there were two very different reactions. In Louisville, there was mostly relief. Roughly 180 miles north on I-65, however, there was fear -- fear that the man who just showed up to West Lafayette, Indiana, last year and had immediately revived a moribund program would soon be on his way out of town.
Jeff Brohm is the obvious choice for Louisville. He had been since before Louisville fired Petrino. Brohm, the Louisville native, the Louisville alum, and the former Louisville assistant, will be new athletic director Vince Tyra's first choice to replace Petrino. He'll likely be the second and third choice as well. It's an idea that makes too much sense, like when former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh returned to the Wolverines, or when former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost returned to the Cornhuskers.
Brohm returning to Louisville seems like fate, and in some eyes, an inevitability. But it might not be as simple or straightforward as it looks.
To describe the last few years in Louisville's athletic department as tumultuous would be accurate, but also a bit of an understatement. Rick Pitino, who won an NCAA title and went to three Final Fours, was fired amidst an NCAA scandal. Former athletic director Tom Jurich, who helped take Louisville from Conference USA to the ACC and helped create one of the strongest athletic departments in the country, soon followed. Then there was the school disassociating itself from a longtime booster and trustee "Papa" John Schnatter. Petrino's dismissal is the final step in completely overhauling the department, and Brohm -- along with new basketball coach Chris Mack -- will be seen as the coach to lead it into a new era.
But it won't be a cheap era. Louisville didn't just fire Petrino, it bought him out for $14 million. That is not an insignificant amount of money, and that price is one reason why some at the school bristled at the idea of firing him in the first place. Jurich received $4.5 million when he was bought out. The school has also spent money to renovate Cardinal Stadium. Now, after spending all that money to create the job opening, Louisville will have to pay more to get Brohm.
Brohm is currently making $3.8 million a year at Purdue, according to USA Today. That's slightly less than what Petrino had been making, so we know Louisville is willing to spend that kind of money on its football coach. The problem is that if Louisville wants to but Brohm out of his current deal, it would cost them an additional $4.4 million to do so before Dec. 5, 2018. The good news is that number drops to $3.3 million on Dec. 6, but even at the "discount," if Brohm signs a five-year deal worth roughly $4 million per year (which would be a family discount), the act of going from Petrino to Brohm will leave Louisville with a $37.3 million bill. And that doesn't even include the money for Brohm's assistants and money that must be paid to settle a loan as part of Brohm's contract.
That's a lot to spend for a school that's already spent a lot of money.
Still, you have to think it's a cost Louisville is willing to pay. No offense to other possible candidates out there, but I have a hard time believing the school decided to pay Petrino $14 million to go away so it could settle for Plan B or Plan C. That's just the price of doing business in amateur athletics these days.
Plea of the Week
The new College Football Playoff Rankings will come out Tuesday night, and they're likely going to look similar to last week's rankings, at least in the top 10. We're also going to hear the same arguments about resumes, who has beaten who, and who others have lost to. All of which is fine, but I'd like to make a simple plea to the college football world at large.
Let's try to spend a little less time with the who and spend a bit more time on the how.
One of the worst aspects of the old BCS system was that the computer models weren't allowed to account for margin of victory. Officials didn't want it to have an impact on the rankings because they feared it would lead to coaches running up the score on opponents. Sure, this could have easily been solved by capping the MOV in the computer formulas at a certain number, but I guess that didn't occur to anybody in power. Anyway, the reason this bothered me so much is that, out of any stats we have available to us, there might not be one that's a better indicator of how strong a team is, or of its future success than margin of victory.
So while who you played might have a lot more of an impact when deciding between at-large teams in the NCAA Tournament, it shouldn't be the first thing we look at while trying to choose four of 130 teams to play for a title.
Instead of yelling, "Alabama hasn't played anybody," how about yelling, "Alabama is 10-0 and has won each game by an average of 35.9 points per game?"
For what it's worth -- and it should be worth more! -- here are the point differential numbers for each of the top 10 teams in last week's rankings after Saturday. They've all played 10 games so far.
1. Alabama +359
2. Clemson +330
3. Notre Dame +158
4. Michigan +243
5. Georgia +212
6. Oklahoma +192
7. West Virginia +180
8. Washington State +155
9. Ohio State +186
10. LSU +100
This is what we mean when we say Alabama and Clemson are playing at a different level than everyone else.
Mustache of the Week
Mike Leach has never looked more like a Picasso painting.
Division Winners of the Week
No, it is not the Northwestern Wildcats, who made history by becoming the first team in college football history to win their division despite going winless in nonconference play. It's quite a feat, and one you should be proud of achieving. I mean, I know that for the sake of Chaos, I will be rooting for a 7-5 Northwestern team to beat Michigan or Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game to turn the world upside down, but you are not the Division Champion of the Week.
Those honors belong to UAB. The Blazers beat Southern Miss 26-23 in overtime on Saturday to clinch Conference USA's West Division. They're now 9-1 on the season and 7-0 in conference play, winning their league games by an average of 23.3 points (there's MOV again!). Bill Clark and the Blazers have done this in only the second season back for the program after being shuttered for six months (which cost them two full seasons) and with a roster full of transfers from around the country. It's one of the most remarkable jobs any coach or program has ever pulled off.
Stat of the Week
Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 48-47 on Saturday in the latest example of why Bedlam is called Bedlam. It was the fifth time the Sooners have won a game in which they allowed at least 45 points over the last three seasons. No other team in the country has won a game more than once while allowing that many points in the same time span. That statistic tells you everything you need to know about Oklahoma's offense ... and its defense.
Rough Ride of the Week
Speaking of Oklahoma's defense, this is what it can sometimes look like.
Play Design of the Week
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the future of football. It's the latest innovation in offense. The defense can not tackle you if you tackle yourselves. It's an unbeatable plan.
Hot Seat of the Week
With Petrino being fired, there's an opening on the Hot Seat of the Week, and USC's Clay Helton is ready to settle into the throne. With USC losing to California 15-14 late Saturday night, the Trojans are now 5-5 on the season, have lost three of their last four games and have been eliminated from Pac-12 South consideration. And believe me, it's almost harder not to win the Pac-12 South this season than win it.
While some may look at this situation and think it's premature to put Helton on the hot seat considering he'd gone 21-6 in his first full seasons at USC, including 15-3 in the Pac-12 with a conference title last season, the situation feels somewhat similar to what happened at Florida last offseason. Jim McElwain won two SEC East titles in his first two seasons with the Gators yet didn't even get to finish the third before being shown the door. It's not just results on the field that are slipping but in recruiting as well. The Trojans managed to finish with the No. 10 class in the country after Helton took over for Sarkisian, and finished in the top five nationally in both the 2017 and 2018 class in Helton's first two seasons.
As of right now, however, USC's class is ranked No. 28 in the country by 247Sports' Composite rankings, fourth in the Pac-12. So when you've imported top classes and aren't getting the results to go with it, and then you're recruiting results start to slip, the natives begin to grow restless.
If the Trojans lose to UCLA next weekend, they'll be 5-6, and I wouldn't be shocked if there's an interim coach on the sideline for the game against Notre Dame a week later.
Randy Edsall Bonus of the Week
AP Voter of the Week
The original plan was to give this week's award to everybody who decided they'd rather have a 6-4 Northwestern or a 6-4 Mississippi State on their ballots this week than a one or two-loss Group of Five team, but I'm tired of yelling at people for ignoring excellence to reward mediocrity. Thankfully Jim Alexander of The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California provided me with better fodder for the week.
Alexander turned in his ballot this week with Ohio State ranked at No. 4, ahead of No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 Michigan. Now, if you want to rank the Buckeyes ahead of teams like Oklahoma, Washington State and West Virginia, I won't argue with you. It's a reasonable opinion to have, even if I do not necessarily agree. But what in the world has Ohio State done during the 2018 season to warrant being ranked ahead of either Georgia or Michigan right now?
The Buckeyes' best win on the season is a 27-26 win on the road against a 7-3 Penn State. Georgia has beaten a 7-3 Florida by 19 and a 7-3 Kentucky on the road by 17. Michigan has beaten the same Penn State team that Ohio State did but at home and by 35 points. It also beat Michigan State on the road like Ohio State just did.
Now let's compare losses. Let's see, Georgia's lone loss was on the road to 8-2 LSU by 20 points. Not pretty, but it's nothing shameful. Michigan's only loss came during the first week of the season when it lost to an undefeated Notre Dame by a touchdown in South Bend, Indiana. Ohio State's loss was a 49-20 loss on the road to a 5-5 Purdue team that just lost by 31 points to a 5-5 Minnesota team.
Yeah, I'm going to need you to provide greater detail on this one, Jim.
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
- Notre Dame
Until the next Monday After!
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