The regular season is over, the bowl season is still a few days from truly getting into the thick of things and the recruiting period hasn't truly heated up just yet. Coaches have been fired, hired and made some careers have been ended as the season has come to a close. Bowl bids have been doled out and everyone has got a bead on what they'll be getting from their prospective bowl swag.
There have been plenty of events taking place away from the football field and ITB is here to continue our delightful reign as judge, jury and executioner as we sit here in our white wig and lay down weekly installments of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Turner Gill finally gets his shot at a BCS team. For two seasons in a row Turner Gill had to be wondering whether he would ever truly get his shot in a big time conference. He was passed over for the Nebraska in 2007, his dream job, in favor of fellow Husker Bo Pelini. Last season amid a firestorm of racial undertones and geographic specticism Gill was stiff armed by Auburn in favor of Gene Chizik.
Gill has a stout resume, he's a guy that took the worst FBS program in the nation and turned them into the 2008 MAC Champions after leading them from the abyss. True he has a losing record at Buffalo but the job he's done was evidence of Gill being able to work the plan in a remote location without any college football tradition.
Now he's the leader in Lawrence at Kansas; an athletic department that isn't cash strapped and most importantly is back in the heart of Turner Gill's former recruiting hot beds. He's got access to Chicago, St. Louis, Oklahoma, Arkansas and North Texas; all places where players can be found easier than Buffalo, NY. Gill has a chip on his shoulder and competing against Nebraska will keep him energized in his efforts as he looks to build on the success of Mark Mangino.
Florida State and Jimbo Fisher also netted a great hire in Mark Stoops, the defensive coordinator from Arizona. Stoops enters with serious fanfare having been tremendously successful not only as the coordinator at Arizona with far less talent but also for his player development and recruiting prowess. On the trail he's a young, vibrant guy; the complete opposite of Mickey Andrews and we can see the Jimbo Fisher "youth movement" taking its effect as Stoops hits campus.
Mark Ingram winning the Heisman. The sophomore was a breath of fresh air, not only in his genuine emotion that he allowed to flow during his acceptance speech but in his breaking of the stranglehold on the award. The running back was the first non-quarterback to win the award since Reggie Bush in 2005 and only the second non-quarterback of the decade. Although I was rooting hard for Ndamukong Suh the fact that Colt McCoy didn't win was enough to cast this as a good for week's events.
Ingram's emotions were raw, they were true and they seemed to bring the Heisman trophy from the publicity parade that it has been and back into our living rooms as the greatest college football award that can be given to an individual.
Urban Meyer's empire. Coach Meyer is seeing the Gator's empire crumble. First it was simply the loss of offensive coordinator Dan Mullen to Mississippi State but now add Charlie Strong to that list. Charlie Strong is a bright spot for the man who was the brains behind Florida's stout defense. The Gators are seriously experiencing a brain drain as they are getting pillaged by all accounts.
To add insult to the injury of losing Strong to Louisville is the departure of strong Gators recruiter Billy Gonzalez. Gonzalez was the wide receivers coach as well as the Gators recruiting coordinator. Keep an eye on these losses as Gonzalez was the key to Gator recruit Chris Martin.
Tennessee Hostess recruiting violation story. Plenty has been written on both sides as the sparks are flying after George Vescey's original article on the situationhit newstands last week. Personally, for me, this was a situation that didn't raise much of a red flag to me. In the words of Denzel Washington as Alonzo in Training Day:
"It's not what you know, it's what you can prove"
Unless the Vols were absolutely moronic, idiotic, careless and down right stupid there wouldn't be much for them to prove. If these "hostesses" love Tennessee as much as they claim to the last thing they're going to have is evidence or signs that points to Kiffin, the football program or the Athletic Department and their involvement in this ordeal. Notice, this isn't me condoning the actions, rather I find it annoying that people are freaking out over what can, and most likely will, be framed as a developing friendship in which the girls crossed the unknowingly.
(Photo HT: The Angry T)
In other words its a non-story that became a story but now will go away. Here's how it will be label as the non-story. The kids met the girls during summer camp. They used facebook, myspace, twitter, text messages or phone calls and stayed in touch from the summer camp through their football season. The girls decided to take a road trip to see the kids play and thus it is an unknowing, secondary violation. Curtain drops, lights come on, nothing more to see here.
The Cincinnati-Brian Kelly-Notre Dame situation. Regardless of what Irish fans or Brian Kelly have to say there is clearly and obviously a disconnect and level of betrayal to be witnessed through the reactions of the Bearcats. Sure Cincinnati knows that Notre Dame is a better job, that the Irish have more tradition, more resources and a higher ceiling. I'm not here to debate that. What shows me there was a disconnect was the players reactions.
They appear sold on Kelly not leaving. This isn't a reaction that was knee jerk or one of irrationality. These were seniors who fully expected Kelly to be there for the biggest games of their lives and then when delivered the news that he was leaving they weren't rash or crass. It was clear that they weren't happy about the news; delivered to them during their football banquet of all places.
No this was a mishandling of the event. Not on Notre Dame's part but rather on the part of Brian Kelly. Sure, things change in regards to his ability to coach the bowl game or his being enticed by the Notre Dame job but in the end those kids have to be the first to know. This is a fundamental problem that I've had; lying to the media and fans is 100% acceptable but lying to the kids is not.
Here is ITB's current and definitive stance on coaching changes and the ONE and ONLY thing they must always keep in mind.
Kids understand levels of coaching, they know when something is a great opportunity. While they may not agree with it being a "better job" they understand that it has more overall prestige than Cincinnati. They aren't stupid. Don't mislead or lie to players who have poured out blood, sweat and tears for your shot at a promotion. Don't mislead players that have torn ACLs, broken arms and legs and gotten concussions that you've parlayed into a new five year deal. You don't owe the fans or the media jack but those kids finance your career advancement with their summers, thanksgivings, weekends, christmas vacations. You owe them.