SEC football coaching circus is more fun and crazier than Mississippi politics

Matt Luke is a very good choice to lead Ole Miss football program; Ross Bjork should have been fired

For many years NASCAR has had what it called its “silly season” (driver changes, team changes, crew changes). Politics can certainly have its silly season at any time. SEC football is not immune from having its own silly season of coaching changes. Former interim Ole Miss coach Matt Luke is the new head of the Rebel football program. That is a good thing and he deserves a shot. Luke played at Ole Miss as did his father and brother. He is a Rebel through and through and deserves the job. There is one report that if Luke got the job, it depended on the Rebels beating rival Mississippi State. If true, it is sad because Luke deserved the job and just one game, even against the Bulldogs, should not have been the determining factor. When Ole Miss AD Russ Bjork announced Luke was his pick, he said he had made a wide search and determined his best choice as a new head football coach was already in Oxford. Who is Bjork kidding? With all its problems with the NCAA Committee on Infractions, Ole Miss was not exactly the sexiest and most attractive football coaching job in the nation. A big problem in Oxford is too many Ole Miss fans are outraged with the NCAA penalties.  They are unrepentant and think the Rebels are victims. I don’t see how Bjork should survive as AD. The NCAA mess at Ole Miss took place on his watch. Add in the existing Rebel players that are considering transferring to other schools. The parents of one player told a national reporter that when their son was being recruited, they ask disgraced and former Coach Hugh Freeze how the NCAA investigation could impact the Rebel football program, and thus, their son’s future. They were not told the truth, but even more, the parents also asked Bjork the same question. They got the same bogus answer from Bjork they got from Freeze. Ole Miss is appealing the 2018 bowl ban, but if

Bjork is not held responsible for the NCAA charge of “lack of institutional control”, please explain why not. I suspect Bjork has so far managed not to be fired because Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter has enough problems dealing with Confederate statues, etc. Vitter apparently wants to avoid, as much as possible, the big mess surrounding the football program. Again, Luke was a good hire for the Rebels. Firing Bjork would be a good and deserved termination.

MSU fans very excited about new head coach Joe Moorhead; departed Dan Mullen was third choice for Florida Gators

Well, Dan Mullen, after years of reports that he would take another head coaching job, has finally departed Starkville and will be the new head coach of the Florida Gators. Was Mullen’s very large ego even bruised a little by the fact he was the third, or even later, choice of the Gators? Florida wanted Chip Kelly but he promptly turned down the Gators and went to UCLA. Scott Frost, head coach at 12-0 University of Central Florida and national AP coach of the year, wouldn’t even go to Gainesville for an interview. A former Nebraska quarterback, Frost instead took the head job with the Cornhuskers. But give Mullen credit. He and his wife Megan took a full page ad in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger thanking Bulldog fans. Mullen did leave the MSU program in a lot better condition than when he arrived in Starkville. While few tears were shed in Starkville over Mullen’s departure, Bulldogs are very excited and fired up about new coach Joe Moorhead, the former offensive coordinator at Penn State. However, like Luke at Ole Miss, only time will tell if Moorhead is the successful coach that Bulldog fans hope he will be. On a side note, MSU athletic director John Cohen is getting deserved and high marks for hiring someone with the credentials like Moorhead and doing it in a prompt fashion.

The real circus took place in Knoxville

Butch Jones was fired as Tennessee’s coach before the season was even over. From that point, the Vols’ search for a new coach was the biggest news nationally and one that drew a lot of laughs and ridicule. Tennessee first decided they were going to hire Jon Gruden. LOL The Vols didn’t even receive a nibble of interest from the current TV analyst and former Super Bowl winning coach. On back to back days I was traveling and listened to ESPNU and others sports programs on XM Radio. The sports world was laughing at Tennessee. Over the two days I was on the road, various sportscasters named at least 10 coaches, including State’s Dan Mullen, who turned down the UT job or showed no interest. One veteran and respected Knoxville sportswriter said Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm was going to take the job. Only minutes later, ESPNU reported that just a few hours before that report, Brohm had visited a recruit in Kentucky and told the prospect he was staying with the Boilermakers. The mess at UT got so bad the president of the school fired the athletic director. Alabama assistant and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt finally got the Tennessee job. Interestingly enough. only a week earlier several news reports said that Pruitt would be the next head coach at Mississippi State. For a short time, even Wikipedia listed Pruitt as the head football coach at Mississippi State.

Jimbo Fisher heads to Texas A&M and UL Monroe get $1.3 M

Jimbo Fisher had about worn out his welcome at Florida State and bolted to Texas A&M to replace the fired Kevin Sumlin. Fisher’s relationship with the powers that be at FSU had grown a little thin and he will also carry some baggage to College Station. Hurricane Irma caused the Seminoles’ game with Louisiana Monroe earlier in the season to be cancelled and the game was not rescheduled. When FSU finished what was going to be the end of the regular season, the Seminoles had a 5-6 record, one game short of bowl eligibility. FSU quickly decided to play UL Monroe. The Warhawks from north Louisiana were paid $1.3 million to play the game and FSU got its sixth win to play in a postseason bowl. As I’ve written before, it is ridiculous for a 6-6 team to get a bowl invite but at least UL Monroe received a nice pay day for being a FSU victim.

 

 

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