With eyes toward the end of the calendar year, here is your Five for Friday (the 13th)…
1. We could be about to witness the biggest domino effect in college football history. This is the time of year when coaches begin to switch jobs to replace their fired predecessors. We call this a domino effect, and this year’s could be historic in nature.
When Alabama could be the second domino to fall, you know it’s about to get ridiculous. Texas’ meeting with Mack Brown could light a fuse that could blow up the entire landscape of college football. If Nick Saban is his replacement, as we have seen in multiple source reports, it could be only the beginning.
2. If the coaching world starts spinning off its axis, no one will be safe. Don’t make the mistake of thinking money or momentum or family comfort or recruiting will keep a coach anywhere. With the most prestigious jobs in the country in play, no status quo is guaranteed to remain.
That’s certainly the case at Clemson. Dabo Swinney, Chad Morris, and Brent Venables could all be involved in these conversations for different jobs—and not just the ones at the tips of our tongues right now. Once the dominoes start to fall and the tentacles of the searches begin to extend across the fruited plain, some of the best coaches in America could end up changing zip codes.
Personally, I think it would take a no-doubter to lure Swinney from Clemson. Being an Alabama grad, that job would seem to fulfill that requirement—maybe (more on that in a moment). Still, Swinney’s unfinished business and his family’s affinity for the Clemson area might cause him to be patient.
Morris has proven to be curious but not jumpy, much more willing to listen than to actually make the leap into a head coaching position. The Texas offensive coordinator spot might be worth watching should Morris become a candidate there. It would take a hefty salary to lure him away from Clemson, but it could happen—especially for a high-profile spot closer to his Texas roots.
Venables is a bit tougher to read because of his relative newness to the community. Frankly, I just don’t have a great feel for his relationship with Clemson. But I don’t see him bolting for another coordinator gig. It would take a solid head coaching opportunity to lure him away.
3. Clemson needs to enjoy this position. The Tigers are on the rise, yet all three of its biggest names have stayed virtually away from the rumor mill. Morris’ name comes up in conjunction with other jobs, but rarely is that information credible. Swinney hasn’t even entertained other opportunities yet.
Meanwhile, both coaches in the national championship game—Gus Malzahn and Jimbo Fisher—have been mentioned as serious candidates for Texas and Alabama, respectively. This could be a major distraction during preparation for a massive game for both programs.
It’s a blessing for Clemson that, while the program’s stature has risen, rumors about its coaches have been virtually nonexistent. In fact, only Alabama has lured any coach from the Tigers since Swinney took over. It’s not like that everywhere.
4. ACC basketball is already underway. On Sunday, conference play began with Virginia Tech’s 61-60 overtime win at Miami. The Hokies appear to have their volume scorer a la Erick Green in Jarell Eddie, who took the game over late. The Hurricanes will be an enigma all year, capable of winning or losing any night, just because of extreme youth.
It continued on Thursday with Maryland’s 88-80 victory at Boston College. Dez Wells went off for the Terrapins, dropping 33 points on the Eagles to lead the win. I have no idea what’s up with Boston College. This was supposed to be a surging team with a chance to play meaningful March games this season. Instead, nothing has gone right during a 3-7 start. Admittedly, the schedule has been brutal, but Steve Donahue should be doing better than this.
5. A former Clemson stud showed out in the NBA last night. November was an atrocious month for Washington Wizards forward Trevor Booker. In 16 games, Booker received the dreaded “DNP-Coach’s Decision” eight times. This is an almost sure sign a guy isn’t in the good graces of the current staff.
But Booker has surged in December, playing double-digit minutes in all three games. He had a double-double on Monday against Denver, scoring 12 points and pulling down 12 rebounds in 33 minutes. It might take an injury or two, but after seeing evidence to the contrary this season, it’s nice to see that the Wizards may have use for Booker after all.