If you've ever contemplated shelling out the $10/month required to join Wahoos247 or CavsCorner, now is the time to take that plunge.
Out of respect for the paywalled content that Jamie Oakes and Brad Franklin provide, I won't share the details they have unearthed. That being said, here are some things you should know...
1) Virginia has been planning for this opening for at least a year.
The search began after the Boise State game, and really got revved up after the 7th loss (against Louisville on Nov. 14th). No matter how much you hate Jon Oliver and Craig Littlepage, they weren't caught flat-footed.
|This man is ready to do the right thing, dammit.|
2) The coaching carousel is spinning like a top.
Here is where things stand with the Power 5 openings as of 3:00 PM on Monday, November 30, and how the comings and goings affect the UVA search. In alphabetical order:
- Georgia -- Fired Mark Richt. How it affects Virginia: Richt is probably the tippy-top option on the board for the Hoos, but Richt might decide to retire to focus on his ministry or accept a job in the Georgia athletic administration. However, a quote from his press conference today has me very excited, and doesn't sound like a guy who is ready to ride off into the sunset or take some posh job in the front office.
"If and when I coach again, I'm looking forward to coaching again. I miss coaching quarterbacks, I miss calling plays."
- Illinois -- Removed the "interim" tag from head coach Bill Cubit. How it affects Virginia: All good. It just takes a potential competitor out of the market.
- Iowa State -- Hired Matt Campbell (Toledo). How it affects Virginia: Bad news. Campbell was possibly one of our top targets. Kudos to ISU for moving swiftly and landing a good young coach!
- Maryland -- Who the hell knows what the Terps are doing? It sounds like they're trying to zero in on D.J. Durkin (Michigan DC) after flirtations with Dan Mullen (Mississippi State) and a few other bigger names (Mark Richt?) How it affects Virginia: They're a big competitor, and it would be good to see them tap out early and essentially wave the white flag by hiring Durkin, a guy who is/was not relevant to UVA's search.
- Miami -- Butch Motherfucking Davis will not go away. Their fans and boosters are obsessed with the stupid idea of bringing back the swagger of the "U." Whatever. If they're smart, they'll go with Mario Cristobal or throw some money at Greg Schiano or try to attract Mark Richt... but they're clearly not smart. Miami and Butch (MFing) Davis deserve each other. How it affects Virginia: Unless they start thinking Richt or Schiano, they aren't bothering us at all.
- Minnesota -- Removed the "interim" tag from head coach Tracy Claeys. Seems like a really good dude, and I'm happy for him. How it affects Virginia: Same as Illinois, it eliminates a potential competitor.
- Missouri -- Mizzou is said to be reeling in Matt Rhule (Temple). How it affects Virginia: DAMMIT! Rhule was one of the guys I really, really liked for our job. But until Rhule-to-Mizzou is officially announced, I think we have to believe that Rhule is available.
- Rutgers -- Fired Kyle Flood, and are rumored to be in hot pursuit of Schiano... though I doubt he wants to return to the Scarlet Knights. How it affects Virginia: Well, if they're a competitor for Schiano, that's fine. Virginia is the better job. If we want him, we just have to come close to matching Rutgers' offer, but we'll probably need to move quickly in doing so. So this might speed up our process a little bit.
- South Carolina -- They wanted Tom Herman. Swing and a miss! Their #2 is/was Kirby Smart (Alabama DC), who is now probably headed to Georgia. Strike two! Not sure where the Gamecocks go from here. If I were running their search, I'd pursue Mark Hudspeth (Louisiana-Lafayette), Sonny Dykes (California), or Geoff Collins (Florida DC). How it affects Virginia: South Carolina is a wildcard. It's clearly viewed as a challenging job, one they might have some trouble filling with an SEC-caliber coach.
- Syracuse -- Fired Scott Shafer. Are said to be coming [somewhat] hard after Mike Sanford Jr. (Notre Dame OC). How it affects Virginia: It sounds like Sanford is one of UVA's top candidates, though probably a fallback option if we miss out on the guys at the top of our board. Syracuse could steal our safety net, essentially.
- UCF -- Not a Power 5 job, but in that neighborhood. I list them here because it sounds like they've hired Dino Babers (Bowling Green). How it affects Virginia: Babers was one of our options. He comes equipped with the Art Briles blueprints, and might have been a great get for UVA. Now we'll never know.
- USC -- Surprisingly surrendered by removing the "interim" tag from head coach Clay Helton. I can't believe they tapped out so weakly... they didn't put up any sort of a fight in the coaching carousel. How it affects Virginia: It doesn't. If anything, it's a nice halting of the domino effect that could have complicated matters for the Hoos.
- Virginia Tech -- Hired Justin Fuente (Memphis). Despite a weirdly forced union between Fuente and retained defensive coordinator Bud Foster, I can't say anything bad about this hire. Nice job by the Hokies. Really, really nice job. Jerks. How it affects Virginia: The gauntlet is thrown. Fuente was one of the top candidates out there, and they're paying him $3.5mil per season. We have to at least match that, while hoping for some personality conflicts between Fuente and Foster to help give us the edge in-state.
|He's not bringing Paxton Lynch with him, right? Okay, just checking.|
3) So who, exactly, are our candidates?
Names to focus on right now are:
-- Mark Richt (formerly Georgia)
-- Dan Mullen (Mississippi State)
-- Greg Schaino (formerly Rutgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
-- Mike Sanford Jr. (Notre Dame OC)
-- Matt Rhule (Temple)
-- Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma OC)
-- Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma OC)
-- Jeff Brohm (Western Kentucky)
-- Mike Bloomgren (Stanford OC)
|Yeah, Mullen might actually be a candidate for us. Truly!|
4) What else is out there?
-- Troy Calhoun (Air Force)
-- Matt Wells (Utah State)
-- Ken Niumatololo (Navy)
-- Al Golden (formerly Miami)
-- Pep Hamilton (formerly Stanford and Indianapolis Colts OC)
-- Mike Pettine (Cleveland Browns)
-- Bob Stitt (Montana)
|Matt Wells should have more suitors, and should|
be a person of interest in the Virginia search.
5) Are we in a good spot?
Right now, I think we absolutely are. Like I said, fewer chairs than butts to fill them. Georgia, Maryland, Miami, Mizzou, Rutgers, South Carolina, and Syracuse have hires to make, and even if we get our coach dead last, we'll have a quality candidate to fill our job.
Meanwhile, if we get real traction with Richt or find enough money for Mullen, we won't just have hit a home run, we will have blasted a 500-foot grand slam.
6) Can you predict who lands where?
You know I can!
Georgia -- Kirby Smart
Maryland -- D.J. Durkin
Miami -- Butch Davis
Missouri -- Matt Rhule
Rutgers -- Greg Schiano
South Carolina -- Jeff Brohm
Syracuse -- Mike Sanford Jr.
Virginia -- Mark Richt
Mark Richt would be a dream come true for Virginia Football.
Talk about instant credibility. Talk about repairing all damage done since 2000 with a snap of the finger. Wow.
Richt would come in, eager to deliver a giant FU to Georgia and the entire college football world. He'd build his own offense, call his own plays, and save us major $$ on an offensive coordinator hire, so we could reinvest that money in the DC (Jeremy Pruitt!) and other top assistants (who would be instantly attracted to this interesting situation brewing at UVA).
We'd see Tech's cute little Fuente hire and the shotgun wedding with Pud Foster, and raise them one MARK FUCKING RICHT.
I'm allowing myself to dream big here, Hoofans.