It’s not even fully the end of college football season yet, and the coaching shuffle has already jumped the freaking shark, y’all.
To kick things off, we have a flurry of foolery at Tennessee, where the Volunteers hired and then un-hired Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano all within a matter of hours.
After years and years of piddling success in the SEC, Vols fans decided NOT TODAY, and unloaded a wave of righteous fury in the direction of athletic director John Currie.
To be fair, Schiano was an…uninspired option for UT, to say the least. It was completely valid to not like the hire. What wasn’t valid, though? The rumor-fueled storm that rained down false allegations that Schiano was involved with the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal, from his years spent in Happy Valley.
And the rumors weren’t limited to social media. Some daring UT fan went so far as to paint this shocking statement on the Rock on Tennessee’s campus:
Goodness, check out The Rock on Tennessee’s campus pic.twitter.com/R9EwVGVGkh
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) November 26, 2017
The UT athletic department and Schiano himself swiftly and vehemently denied these claims:
— SB Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) November 27, 2017
In response to media reports from earlier today:
I never saw any abuse, nor had reason to suspect any abuse, during my time at Penn State.
— Greg Schiano (@OSUCoachSchiano) July 12, 2016
When all was said and done, though, UT rescinded their offer to Schiano and was forced to continue their coaching search elsewhere. But even without the baseless allegations, Vols Nation made it loud and clear on social media – be they fans, former players or even elected officials – that they would not stand for this coaching selection malpractice in Knoxville:
I’m just going to say this if we hire Greg Schiano as our next head coach my options will be open to which college program I will Be donating my TIME and MONEY to. (No disrespect to GS) but if UT leaders don’t take football serious then I will find the program that will!!!
— Albert Haynesworth (@haynesworthiii) November 26, 2017
— Rep. Jason Zachary (@JasonZacharyTN) November 26, 2017
@UTKnoxville if you hire him, the backlash will be insurmountable and devastating to the University and the state.
— Jeremy Faison (@JeremyFaison4TN) November 26, 2017
And the STATE, though, you guys. The whole state!
Basilio caller says, “If Currie is on a plane with Schiano I hope it crashes.”
Another caller, “Currie needs to go work for Al Qaeda. He’s a suicide bomber.”
— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) November 26, 2017
Seriously, though? These fans are out of control.
You would have thought it ended there with the shenanigans, but we were just getting started. After Schiano, Tennessee went after Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy.
Fans got really excited about the possibility of the mullet in Knoxville, but ultimately, Gundy was like “nah,” and elected to stay in Stillwater:
— Mike Gundy (@CoachGundy) November 29, 2017
And with that, ESPN analyst Stan Verrett brought up a very interesting point: the more UT swings and misses on coaches, the more they may likely overpay when they have to settle on a lesser candidate:
man, tennessee has an issue. its now public that they offered gundy 7 million a year, and their 5th or sixth choice for a head coach is going to know they have that kind of cash to spend, and fewer options with each rejection.
— stan verrett (@stanverrett) November 29, 2017
Because things couldn’t have been any more absurd, Lane Kiffin was dragged back into this, for some reason:
I don’t want him. He doesn’t want to be back here either. Kiffin is not the answer. I promise. See our convo. No. Thanks. Lane. pic.twitter.com/HLjYDQ13s4
— Erik Ainge (@ErikAinge3) November 29, 2017
But the best part? Everyone getting them jokes off about the entire situation:
They know who Tennessee hired. https://t.co/fpxIURuaUN
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) November 29, 2017
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 30, 2017
When Kiffin is firing off tweets at your expense, you’ve really done something special, Tennessee fans.
New Tennessee football coach Kim Jong Un https://t.co/E7WUjKEYms
— Charlie Burris (@Charlie_Burris) November 29, 2017
Live look in at University of Tennessee football pic.twitter.com/9sWQx5Miux
— JTROD_sports (@SEC_jtrod) November 27, 2017
— Daniel Stockton (@VandyGold) November 29, 2017
But wait! There’s MORE. On Wednesday, sports radio host Jimmy Hyams reported that Tennessee had found a coach after all:
Tennessee will soon announce the hiring of Purdue coach Jeff Brohm after going 6-6 this year. Brohm was 30-10 at Western Kentucky. Buyout is $5 million, drops to $4 million Dec 5. Still owes Purdue about $750k for leaving WKY.
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) November 29, 2017
Less than two hours later, Bruce Feldman came through and essentially squashed that:
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 29, 2017
So here we are, a few days removed from Schiano’s un-hiring and (at the time of writing this, anyway), Tennessee still doesn’t have any takers for the job.
It’s an interesting situation because on one hand, Vols Nation had every right to raise hell about the Schiano hire. They had every right to make their voices heard that they would not continue to pay for a mediocre product, given the once-rich history of the football program. More fan bases need to own their power like that, and demand better.
But using rumors of involvement in the Penn State scandal to achieve that? Why, though? It was completely unnecessary – and incredibly hurtful, let’s be real – to use that as the scapegoat reason, when the real reason was enough.
Tennessee may find that it struggles to land a big-name coach in the wake of the fans’ rebellion, which would only further embarrass the program and its fans.
But UT isn’t the only program for which the coaching carousel is rapidly turning. Out west, the Arizona State Sun Devils are trying to replace Todd Graham, who was relieved of duty over the weekend.
With the exception of Chip Kelly (nabbed by UCLA) and Dan Mullen (snagged by Florida), Arizona State had limitless options with whom to begin their search. And so, after much thought and deliberation, the Sun Devils set their sights on…Herm Edwards.
Herm Edwards? HERM EDWARDS?! WHAT IN THE ACTUAL?!
ESPN analyst Herm Edwards will be interviewing for the Arizona State head coaching job this weekend, he confirmed.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 28, 2017
Don’t get me wrong – Edwards is a brilliant motivational speaker and really developed a talent for being an on-air personality for ESPN. But as a head coach…I don’t know, man. He amassed a 56-78 record as an NFL head coach with the New York Jets (2001-2005) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2006-2008). Not great, to say the least.
Furthermore, he hasn’t coached in nearly a decade! Why should Edwards be the guy? Seriously, why though? He doesn’t resonate with current high school-aged students as a coach. What’s the upside? What’s the strategy, here? Was no one else considered a viable option that ASU resorted to reaching out to a retired coach?
Twitter was very confused by this, to say the least:
Arizona State coughed up a $12 million buyout to hire a guy who hasn’t coached in nearly a decade. Makes Tennessee’s admin look competent.
— Max Meyer (@TheMaxMeyer) November 30, 2017
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 28, 2017
But let’s do it, Herm Edwards at Arizona State would be fun as hell. For me. A neutral observer who loves accidental fires. pic.twitter.com/8WijTVtf6s
— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) November 28, 2017
Things I did not expect to read today:
“Eli Manning benched for Geno Smith.”
“Herm Edwards leading candidate for vacant Arizona State HC job.”
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) November 28, 2017
And per the latest reports as of Wednesday night, it looks like ASU is actually doing this, you guys. They’re actually going to give the program to Edwards.
I have endless questions for everyone involved.