College Coaching Carousel: Florida
Hello to all of you degenerate college football fans who have nothing better to do at work in the middle of the week than sit around and read about conspiracy theories and what ifs regarding America's most sacred institution. The impending football coaching carousel - the most closely aligned institution to free agency in college athletics - is just a few short months from beginning in earnest. However, we all know the behind the scenes jockeying and back channel contact has already begun.
There are some very high profile jobs that are de-facto already on the market - Michigan and Florida (yeah I know some bullshit jobs like Buffalo and SMU are open already but really who wants to read about those?), which will garner much attention and MULTI million dollar contracts with the hope that these once feared programs will return to prominence under their new, overpriced leaders. With two athletic directors who could very well lose their current posts (Dave Brandon and Jeremy Foley) with another bad hire, they're sure to pull out all the stops to not only win on the field but also to "win the press conference."
But for now, let's just focus on one...
There is ZERO chance they go the super successful coordinator route like with Muschamp, so you can count the likes of Kirby Smart and Jeremy Pruitt out. I think the general consensus is that Florida will (and most certainly should) back the dump truck up for Dan Mullen. Why not? The guy has built a winner in Starkville, a place known for, well nothing really. He's charismatic, he knows the program and and the politics at UF, but is he willing to leave a place where he has ascended into an unknown stratosphere in a matter of months for the pressure cooker that is Gainesville? I'm not so sure.
Additionally, I do not see Charlie Strong, who could also be on the short list, leaving Texas after one year considering what steps he has taken to instill discipline into the Longhorn program.
So where does that leave us? Foley is certainly looking to make a splash and wants someone who knows how to build a winner and ignite a fan base. This is certainly a longshot, but I think there is one man with enough bravado and on-field chops to win the press conference and take the SEC East by storm. And that man is James Franklin. (Disclaimer: I know Clay and Coach Franklin have a close relationship, and this has not been discussed with him so there is no insider information here, just pure speculation.)
I think this move makes too much sense for both parties involved. James Franklin knows the SEC is the premiere conference in the country and that the East is weak right now. He is the anti-Muschamp and the anti-Richt. With his ability to recruit and create excitement, as well as put a winning product on the field, he would be a perfect fit. I know Franklin is getting $4.5 million a year in Happy Valley, but wouldn't anyone rather make that in sunny Florida? (Not to mention theres no state income tax and on $4.5 million that's a boatload of money.) With the type of competitor that he is I have no doubt he would listen if Florida came calling. What super motivated type-A coach would rather be playing @ Rutgers or Maryland in November when you could be playing in the likes of Death Valley, Bryant-Denny, Jordan-Hare, Neyland, and let's not forget the annual tussle with Georgia at the World's Largest Cocktail Party.
If Florida comes calling Franklin should listen, and there's no doubt about it Florida faithful. Foley. Should. Make. The. Call.