First, let's point you to today's Midweek hub, where we've got the usual suspects: Bill Connelly's Numerical and Heisman Watch, the final regular-season BlogPoll, and... well, that's it for the usual weekly offerings. Things appear to have drifted into the aether as the season went on.
But that's okay, because a lot of great one-offs hit the front page this week. Bill breaks down the Alabama-Notre Dame tilt, Andy Staples calls Alabama overrated while leaning on my favorite argument (the SEC schedule is manipulative), Steven Godfrey explains why Louisiana Tech isn't going bowling AND opines on Cincinnati being left at the curb by the realignment bus, and Samuel Chi joins the "get off Northern Illinois' jock" train. We've also got Jon Bois making fun of people who try to give up on their team, Spencer Hall taking a video trip to Ohio State-Michigan to experience ALL THE HATE, and Martin Rickman and Mark Ennis chatting about realignment in the wake of Louisville's decampment for the ACC.
Thing is, there's not enough room in the hub to contain all the important content generated by the circus merry-go-round launched by three high-profile SEC coaching vacancies, so in addition to the hub, you get bullets!
- Things got underway last week when Kentucky hired Florida State DC Mark Stoops.
- Idaho snatched up Paul Petrino to replace Robb Akey as the Vandals embark on their lonely journey in the FBS independent wilderness.
- North Carolina State hijacked Dave Doeren from Northern Illinois before the BCS bids were even announced. OC Rod Carey will take over in DeKalb, and not in an interim basis; he's been given the job outright.
- Then everything went off the rails yesterday. The chatter started with major suspicion that Mike Gundy, dissatisfied with his level of control at Oklahoma State, was going to Tennessee. Or to Arkansas, and the Arkansas Democrat actually reported that as a done deal at one point before backing away. Shortly after that retraction, Yahoo's Pat Forde dropped the bomb: Bret Bielema left Wisconsin to take over in Fayetteville. At the mothership, Spencer Hall weighs in on the hire.
- About twelve nanoseconds later, reports hit that Gus Malzahn was announced as the new boss at Auburn. What with Spencer being busy with the Fayetteville Follies, Bill Connelly drew the straw on breaking down Auburn's decision. Gustav appears to be targeting failed Southern Mississippi coach Ellis Johnson as his DC.
- That was followed by a minor move in comparison; Boston College will now be running the dive, as they've swiped Steve Addazio from Temple.
- And then, Purdue did, then didn't, and now has hired Kent State's Darrell Hazell, meaning both top-25 teams in the MAC are losing their leaders.
Meanwhile, things continue to shake at other schools which still haven't pulled the trigger yet -- as well as the schools suddenly looking for a coach when they weren't expecting to be.
- Tennessee is a great job. However, they seem to be having some difficulty filling it. They swung at Mike Gundy and missed when Gundy and OSU leadership apparently managed to come to an accomodation of sorts. They then took a cut at Charlie Strong, who parlayed the interest into an extension and will remain at Louisville. Next up? Larry Fedora, and that would be a huge blow to North Carolina especially considering their land-grant rival just hired the hottest candidate on the market.
- In a stunner in southern Florida, FIU suddenly and unexpectedly dismissed Mario Cristobal. They appear to be targeting Butch Davis, and god that can't end well, can it?
- South Florida's looking to replace Skip Holtz, and presumably Chris Cosh is not a candidate. Willie Taggart, however, is. Houston Nutt has also been linked.
- Butch Jones, who'd already apparently taken a pass on the Purdue job, seemed all set to go to Colorado to replace Jon Embree. Then all of a sudden the Wisconsin job was open, and hang on there a minute. Apparently Paul Chryst is not a candidate to return to Madison, meaning we won't get the spectacle of Pitt trotting out its eighth head coach in three years. We also won't get Mark Mangino in Colorado, which is probably a good thing because you don't want him falling down a mountain and starting an avalanche. The Buffs also shunned Bobby Petrino.
- We've still got openings to deal with at California, Southern Miss, UTEP, and Western Michigan, along with the newly-vacated seats at Arkansas State, Kent State, and Temple. Oddly, there's very little chatter about these jobs; Cal had some play with various candidates who are now off the board because they're listed above.
- The Big 12 is the only conference which is still capable of going into the 2013 season without any freshman coaches. Take that, everyone else.
- Finally, under the radar was the news that Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore, who won three straight FCS titles and, you know, beat Michigan in Ann Arbor, was stepping down. That decision was made before the season, and somehow miraculously kept quiet so as not to create distractions for the Mountaineers.
Oh, and in basketball news, the WAC has added a team -- Chicago State -- which a few years ago bailed out of what is now the Summit League because they couldn't even outperform UMKC. The jokes write themselves, I guess.
And of course we can't let this week expire without recognizing the passing of one of the all-time great college coaches, Rick Majerus. Always a joy to listen to (even if he could occasionally be pretty crude), Majerus took three different teams to the NCAA tournament (Ball State, Utah, and Saint Louis), and also coached at Marquette during a rebuilding phase after Al McGuire had moved on. He led Utah to their greatest success since their Jack Gardner era, playing in an NCAA Championship Game and losing to Kentucky. In between the Utah and Saint Louis jobs, he did a turn as a wildly entertaining television analyst. His passing is a huge loss for all of college sports, and he'll be greatly missed.Looking for Fiesta Bowl Tickets?