Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pinkel Could Wind Up In Line for Carousel

The Tigers have been good. Almost too good. Maybe too good for their own good.

Good enough to enter the discussion as a dark horse to play for the national championship. So good, their quarterback is throwing his name into the Heisman Trophy candidacy discussion. So good, their head coach is having his name bandied about as a nominee for national coach of the year awards.


One bad part to all these good vibes is the consequences of such good actions. Several prominent programs could be looking for new head coaches this off-season: Nebraska, Texas A&M, Auburn (should Tommy Tuberville take the Aggies' job), Iowa and Michigan all could be jockeying for position on this season's college football coaching carousel, a ride that gets started earlier and earlier every season.

This forecast is coming far, far, in advance: think looking 12-days ahead for weather on an upcoming vacation. The forecast, nonetheless, is not without a bit of foreboding context. Callahan is all but out at Nebraska, and Monday's report of Dennis Franchione's contract being bought out by the Aggies has spelled out the end of his tenure in College Station. Lloyd Carr has been on the brink of retirement for seemingly 5 seasons, now, and Kirk Ferentz is treading on thin ice in Iowa City.

*Cue carousel music*

Let's say the Tigers do the unimaginable and run the table the rest of the season. A Big 12 Championship is going to put Coach Gary Pinkel's name in many a pundit's column for all these revolving spots. Offensive coordinator Dave Christensen also could be performing his way into a job interview or two. It's difficult to imagine Coach Pinkel fleeing to Lincoln after the mass exodus of Husker recruits this fall changing their minds and deciding on Columbia, but it isn't inconcievable to think Christensen could be a candidate for the position. Aggieland is seeking a big name (think Tuberville), but should Auburn need a new head coach, would Coach Pinkel think about heading for a pay raise in the SEC?

What about Ann Arbor? This could be Lloyd Carr's swan song as the Wolverines' head coach, and Big Blue could throw big green at Gary Pinkel to lead their program. The Hawkeyes could, too.

Just some food for thought.

Food that doesn't sound so good.

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