CBS Sports college football writer Dennis Dodd dropped by Tiki and Tierney on Monday to discuss a wild weekend in college football, as several big-name coaches were hired, fired, or some combination of the two.
We’ll start with Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who was almost hired at Tennessee before fan outcry nipped that in a bud. Vols fans didn’t think Schiano was a good fit for the program, in part because of his Penn State ties to Jerry Sandusky.
At this point, what should Tennessee do about its coaching vacancy?
“The job has become toxic now, so I’m not quite certain,” Dodd said. “I guess they’ll have to hire someone with Tennessee roots, but I don’t know what that looks like right now. I think the first thing that needs to happen is healing, somebody like a Peyton Manning – if not him himself – (to) come out and support (athletic director) John Currie and get the ball rolling. It’s interesting when things like this happen, people kind of run for the hills.”
Tennessee, which fired Butch Jones, went 4-8 this season. The eight losses were the most in program history.
Elsewhere in the SEC, Texas A&M parted ways with Kevin Sumlin and is reportedly interested in Jimbo Fisher, who guided Florida State to the national title in 2013.
Dodd doesn’t understand why Fisher would leave Tallahassee.
“He’s at a place where it’s easier to win a championship, and he’s near his son, who has a horrible illness, a blood disorder,” Dodd said. “I understand he got divorced from his wife, but I just keep coming back to he’s in Florida, where you can get players and compete for championships in the ACC every year. Now you go to A&M and maybe get more money, but you inherit that cement ceiling of Nick Saban that has gotten (several coaches fired). I’m not saying he’d be fired because he’d go to Texas A&M, but that’s something you’re going to have to get over.”
Fisher is reportedly interested in the job, but that could be because this season got away from him. Florida State lost quarterback Deondre Francois in a season-opening loss to Alabama and is 5-6 with one game to go.
“It may just be Jimbo being Jimbo,” Dodd said. “It just seems like Jimbo is never happy when it comes to stuff like this. I think it’s Jimbo’s decision. Whatever people are reporting right now, hey, it could change tomorrow. He could be totally uninterested or go get the job. I don’t know.”
Chip Kelly, meanwhile, is back in college football after a five-year hiatus. The 54-year-old is the new head coach at UCLA, which fired Jim Mora after six seasons.
The last time Kelly was in the Pac-12, he turned Oregon into a national power.
“I think he’ll do great,” Dodd said. “I think it’s great for him, I think it’s great for UCLA, I think it’s great for the Pac-12, and I think it’s great for college football because he can kid of recreate himself. UCLA hasn’t been aggressive like this in the past. They haven’t paid big money. They haven’t gone for it, as they have with Chip Kelly. Look, they are all in. They aren’t in the business of throwing money around, but now they’re on the hook for $12 million for Jim Mora, whatever they’re going to pay Chip, so it’s going to be about a $20-30 million turnaround for them to get in there. They are in the big time. They are competing for championships now.”
Mora led UCLA to back-to-back 10-3 seasons in 2013-14 but went 8-5, 4-8, and 6-6 over the last three years.
Kelly, who plans on improving those numbers sooner rather than later, signed a five-year, $23.3 million deal.
“He’s kind of the Dr. Frankenstein whose creation has come back to that,” Dodd said. “How he deals with that is going to be fascinating. He was an innovator in 2009 when he sprang this thing on the world – the spread offense and tempo and what he did with it. Aside from the military academies, everybody sort of uses some part of it now. If you look at Alabama now, they’re using a power-run spread, which is what Chip did at Oregon. So we’ll see how that goes. Other schools have taken it, refined it, made it better – it’ll be interesting to see.”