Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 27, 2012

OH GOOD GRIEF: Coaching carousel under way in college football

By Ed Greif
Sports editor

CROSSVILLE — The coaching carousel continues in college football, as there are at least nine major colleges looking for head football coaches for 2013.

After Saturday's games, Colorado, North Carolina State, Auburn, Boston College and Purdue fired their head coaches, joining California, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky in searching for new leaders.

Tom O'Brien was let go at NC State, who posted a 40-35 record, including a kickoff classic loss to Tennesesee, while Danny Hope was dismissed by Purdue after going 22-27, and Jon Embree is out at Colorado, after going 4-21 after two seasons. Auburn fired Gene Chizik, just two years removed from winning the national championship. I guess winning is everything these days.

Local eyes are going to be focused on what happens at Tennessee. Several names were mentioned on the talk shows Sunday, including Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Gary Patterson (TCU), Jon Gruden (NFL analyst), former UT coach  Phillip Fulmer, Bobby Petrino (formerly of Arkansas), Al Golden (Miami), Kippy Brown (former UT assistant), Jim Mora Jr. (UCLA) and Jimbo Fisher (Florida State).

The News Sentinel had these names on a list — Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Butch Jones (Cincinnati), Kirby Smart (Alabama assistant coach) and Charlie Strong (Louisville).

Another report says Stoops and Fisher are not interested in the UT job, but some of those ousted coaches could resurface at other schools for a chance to redeem themselves.

Remember, money talks, and with so many schools looking for coaches, a bidding war may occur.

Duke coach and former UT assistant David Cutcliffe removed his name from consideration at Tennessee, when his contract was extended several more years.

Fulmer was a popular coach, after winning the national championship in 1998, but fell on hard times and was let go after the 2008 season.

Remember what happened when UT hired Lane Kiffin? He bolted after one year to USC. He and his coaching staff have put Tennessee on probation, which was extended a couple of more years. I think Tennessee fans are going to be disappointed, because Gruden will not be hired at UT, but is going to wind up in the NFL next season or remain at ESPN as an analyst. He is asking too much money for a job which will take several years to rebuild. Look what happened to Alabama. It has taken Nick Saban several years to rebuild a Crimson Tide program which was placed on probation several years ago.

It is going to take a Saban-like coach to rebuild the Volunteer program to reach the promised land — a BCS championship.

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College bowl season is just around the corner; however, there are six conference championships and several other games this weekend to finalize the bowl match-ups.

Conference championships include Kent State vs. Northern Illinois (MAC), Florida State vs. Georgia Tech (ACC), UCLA vs. Stanford (Pac-12), Alabama-Georgia (SEC), Nebraska vs. Wisconsin (Big 10) and UCF vs. Tulsa (Conference USA).

There are some other "biggies" to determine bowls and at-large spots in the BCS bowls.

Games like Baylor vs. Oklahoma State, Louisville vs. Rutgers, MTSU vs. Arkansas State, Kansas State vs. Oklahoma and Texas vs. Oklahoma State are critical to the bowl lineups. The bowl committees will take a hard look to get the best match-ups and to see that no team makes a back-to-back appearance in any one bowl.

Currently, there are 74 bowl eligible teams (six or more wins), with UConn and Pittsburgh needing wins over Cincinnati and USF, respectively, to become bowl eligible. Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible because of NCAA sanctions, while Miami took themselves out of the bowl picture for self-imposed sanctions due to minor infractions.

Notre Dame awaits the winner of SEC championship game to see who they will face in the BCS title game in January.

Five SEC teams — Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas and Auburn — did not qualify for bowls this year. Four of the five are looking for new coaches. Mississippi upset Mississippi State to become the ninth SEC team to be bowl eligible.

The Poinsettia Bowl will have BYU vs. San Diego St., while Louisiana-Lafayette is going to the New Orleans Bowl, SMU to the Hawaii Bowl, Air Force to the Armed Services Bowl and Utah State to the Idaho Potato Bowl.

All of the bowl matchups will be released Sunday.

After all is said and done, the regular season officially ends next week with the Army-Navy game. Throw out the regular books when those two meet, as that game is for pride and for tradition.

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Does anyone have a picture of former Jet Paul Mlils? According to Jet coach Will Foster, a photo is needed for the lobby of the gymnasium, so his picture can join all of the Jets and Lady Jets who scored 1,000 or more points in their careers. If you have one, leave it at the front desk of the school.

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Lady Moc senior Kayla Christopher became the 25th member of the Lady Mocs’ 1,000-Point Club last Friday with eight points and was two of four from beyond the arc to move to fourth place all-time on the UTC women’s basketball all-time three-pointers made list with 171, surpassing Miranda Warfield for the spot. She had a season-high five assists on the day and recorded two steals in her team's 68-59 victory over Portland State in the St. Mary's Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic.

She tallied 27 points, making 10 of 14 from the field and seven of 10 from three-point line, and hauled down two rebounds with two assists and two in steals in UT-Chattanooga's 70-67 loss to the Gaels of Saint Mary's, CA. The seven shots beyond the arc are a career best, giving her 178 on the. She named to the All-Tournament team.

The Lady Mocs host Wofford Thursday night.

Christopher has a number of relatives in the Cumberland County area.

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I am still disappointed at the elementary varsity coaches for not submitting scores on a timely basis. I've said enough about this until I'm blue in the face.

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(Ed Greif is the Chronicle sports editor and his column appears periodically.)