With Joe Paterno out, Penn State will commence a search for a new head football coach since Lyndon Johnson was sitting in the White House.
The name that’s come up most often, even before the whole sordid tale became public knowledge, is Urban Meyer. The former Florida head coach released a non-statement statement Thursday addressing the speculation, saying that he is “very happy with my role at ESPN” and has “no plans to return to coaching” before adding the qualifier “at this time.”
Some of the individuals charged with setting gambling lines, however, see it as only a matter of time before Meyer’s in Happy Valley.
Bodog.com has released their odds for who will be head coach of the Nittany Lions in 2012 and, in what’s not even remotely a mild shock, Meyer is the current favorite at 2/1. The man right behind Meyer is far from a shock, either; Miami’s Al Golden — a former player of and coach for Paterno — has long been rumored to be one of a handful of likely heirs to Paterno’s Happy Valley kingdom and is currently listed by Bodog at 9-2.
Next up on the list, though, is somewhat of shocker — Mike London is listed at 5/1. The current Virginia head coach has no direct connection to Penn State — given how far back this scandal reaches, maybe that’s exactly what the football program and the university needs — having played in college at Richmond, with coaching stops at his alma mater, William & Mary, Boston College and UVA at the collegiate level and a one-year stint in the NFL with the Houston Texas.
Houston’s Kevin Sumlin and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald are right on London’s heels at 11/2 and 6/1, respectively. Like London, Sumlin has no direct connection to the Nittany Lions, although he has played and coached in the Big Ten. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, has been mentioned consistently when the conversation turned in the past to replacing Paterno. While he recently signed a contract extension with the Wildcats that could keep him in Evanston through the 2020 season, a contract in this day and age is anything but unbreakable.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, even more so than London, is where Greg Schiano falls in the eyes of this group of line setters. The Rutgers head coach was a member of Paterno’s staff in the early to mid-nineties and, like Golden and Fitzgerald, is always a name that comes up in connection to the opening at Penn State. Despite that, Schiano is listed at 25/1, below even the interim head coach who most view as having almost no chance of being named the full-time coach.
Anyway, and for those interested, below is the complete list of Bodog.com odds, including the obligatory appearance of the “This Guy” candidate.
Urban Meyer 2/1
Al Golden 9/2
Mike London 5/1
Kevin Sumlin 11/2
Pat Fitzgerald 6/1
Dan Mullen 8/1
Kirk Ferentz 8/1
Tom Bradley 10/1
Chris Petersen 10/1
Greg Schiano 25/1
Jon Gruden 50/1