It’s little change from year to year. As the college football regular season winds down in late November, the coaching carousel starts to kick into high gear. Guys get fired, guys get hired. Some move up in status or conference level, some move out.
A month later, the pros get into the act. The NFL closes out its annual Week 17 and heads start to roll. It becomes all about play-for-pay X-and-O retreads being rolled out as the answer to some ailing organization’s woes, how that Sunday experience is so vital, so necessary.
Save for some against-the-grain shots by owners who are told “better,” it is pretty rare to see much crossover between the college and pro games despite each have an overlap at the same stage – the give-up, start-over one by so many of its participants.
In the waning hours of 2012, though, it is quite clear that is not the case this time around.
Oregon’s Chip Kelly has been rumored to be the hot coaching commodity among NFL execs in search of that next franchise savior just about all season. He’d been in the running for the Tampa Bay gig just about the same time a year ago before the Bucs settled on Rutgers’ Greg Schiano.
Monday night’s Chick-Fil-A Bowl is a match up of strength against strength: one of the nation's best offenses versus one of the top defenses when No. 14 Clemson and No. 9 LSU meet in Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia Dome.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think this year’s contest was a love affair instead of a football game. I understand that coaches feel like they have an obligation to be cordial and not provide any bulletin board material for their opponents. But Les Miles and Dabo Swinney have taken cordiality to a whole new level.
Here is how their love affair has transpired.
Dabo Swinney, the head coach of the orange and purple Tigers from Clemson oozed with adoration in regards to the LSU team and, specifically, their defense.
"Our coaches, our players and our fans always look forward to playing against the best programs in the nation, and LSU certainly fits that description," Swinney said last week. "We are going to have the opportunity to compete against a top 10 team that played for it all last year."
BCS National Championship News: Nick Saban Waking Up The Echoes By Challenging Legacy Of Irish's Leahy
In the crazy, kooky, ever-cosmic world that is college athletics, you’d have to figure there was some type of connection or link looming underneath the surface of the BCS title game set for Jan. 7 at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium.
Yeah, yeah, you got the obvious: No. 1 vs. No. 2, two powerhouses with football traditions to match any other, All-Americans aplenty on both sides. Basically, just what you’d expect – and want – with the likes of Notre Dame and Alabama.
The somewhat hidden gem to this matchup, though, is a West Virginia kid’s further infiltration into the ultimate hierarchy of greatness in the game’s coaching annals.
No, Nick Saban isn’t exactly new to big games or big things, but, still, he’s on the cusp of breaking down any barriers between himself and a true legacy – a true legacy with an Irish slant.
From 1946 through 1949, Frank Leahy won three national titles while running the post-war gridiron machine at Notre Dame. No coach has pulled the 3-for-4 championship effort ever since in a four-year span.
Saban has the opportunity to do just that if he can direct his Crimson Tide past the Manti Te’o-led Irish.
OK, with Weeks 1 and 2 out of the way, the college football bowl season starts to get a little more serious heading up to the BCS Championship Game on January 6.
But we’ll leave that meeting of No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium discussion for a later date.
Right now, let’s look at everything left from New Year’s Eve until then.
Music City Bowl – North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4): The Commodores are shooting for their first 9-win season since they pulled that feat under the direction of the great Dan McGugin in 1915. That seems to be about the same time Pack QB Mike Glennon started matriculating in Raleigh, N.C.
Sun Bowl – Southern California (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7): Remember way back when the Trojans were ranked No. 1 and Matt Barkley was the Heisman favorite? Me neither.
Liberty Bowl – Iowa State (6-6) vs. Tulsa (10-3): Kinda funny to think a Conference USA squad should beat one from the Big 12.
Did you hear the latest in college football? Some schools are talking about switching leagues. Can you believe it?
Even more amazing, one school – Boise State – is talking about switching back to the league it was switching from. Confusing? You betcha, but it’s not necessarily surprising.
With all the cash involved, and the seemingly never-ending collapse of the Big East – could someone just put a fork in the poor conference and we be done with it already? – it stands to reason that there may be, um, a little movement here or there.
Fortunately, with the bowl season in full swing now, we can focus our eyes onto the actual field these days. So, without further ado, let’s look at upcoming Week 2 of the non-playoff postseason: