As the college football season winds down, nearly 20 FBS teams are either currently shopping for or have filled their head coaching positions for next season. Unfortunately for the University of Tennessee, they are among the list.
After over 35 years with only two head coaches, Tennessee is looking for it's fourth in the last four years. During this time, a proud program has slipped to second tier status—not only in the national rankings but within their own conference.
While I readily admit, I am not privy to all the inside workings of the UT Athletic Department, I do know some things based on common sense. For instance, I know the following candidates will not be hired to fill the UT vacancy:
1) Jon Gruden - Dream on, Vol fans.
Yes, UT likely has explored the possibility of hiring young Gruden. The Internet chat sites and some supposedly well informed reporters have said it will happen.
All that chatter has been great for Gruden. Who can choose about any college opening he wants. Unfortunately, he can also pick about any pro opening and they want him, too. Not to mention that ESPN may even sweeten the pot to keep him where he is.
Jon Gruden is first, a professional football coach. Even in his retirement, he chooses to make his living analyzing pro football.
Sure, UT could change his mind. But, the cost would be more than any college has ever paid any coach by far. Not to mention, he would insist on full control and a super highly compensated staff.
Even if UT agreed to all of those demands, there still is no reason to believe Gruden would not get the itch to move back up to the NFL in three or four years.
If there were some sort of guarantee Jon Gruden would want to become a Vol for life, maybe this would happen. But there isn't, so it wont.
2) Bobby Petrino - Are you kidding me?
This is a desperation move that UT will not make. Dave Hart just as well sell his soul to the devil if he hires Petrino.
Bobby Petrino is a heck of a good football coach and he knows how to win. But, simply put, he should be in jail right now.
Not for cheating on his family with the little 25 year old honey—who was also engaged to be married.
Not for the lies to the Arkansas AD when he got caught. Not for the lies to the Atlanta Falcons Arthur Blanc and his cowardly exit from there.
Not for the lies to the Louisville AD when he talked to Auburn about going there. Nor for all his other follies.
Petrino should be in jail for using University of Arkansas funds to create a job for his mistress—this was nothing short of stealing from his employer. And I think there are laws against that.
Some UT fans may be desperate enough to sell their soul to the devil for two or three years of rebuilding and winning. But Hart likely wants to keep his job—and his credibility—for many years. Marrying up with Bobby Petrino isn't a good long term move in that respect.
3, 4 and 5) The Stoops Brothers - Newp!
One just hired on to coach Kentucky. Of the other two, only Bob would be of interest to UT. He may use supposed interest from UT as leverage for a raise but neither are coming to Knoxville.
6) Jimbo Fisher - Another dream, Vol fans.
Unless you are willing to pay an unproven long-term coach—which he is—super big time money to leave his dream job.
Also, Florida State is a good coaching gig. They like Fisher, too and are likely to match any offer UT would make. Fisher is going to stay with Florida State.
That's six names you can mark off the list.
There are still some great candidates out there, though. I believe Dave Hart knows whats at stake and will find the right fit for the Vols long-term.