Mike Shanahan

Mike Gundy has the best odds to be Florida’s next coach


Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is done talking about the possibility of being the next head coach of the Florida Gators, but it is another coach form the state that is the betting favorite to land the job. Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State may be going through a rough season in Stillwater, but the coach of the Cowboys has the best odds to be named the next Gators coach according to Bovada.

Who else has odds right now?

Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain is next in line behind Gundy at 9/2. The coach of the Rams has shown an ability to build a strong team from scratch in the Mountain West Conference and his coaching pedigree is well respected out of the Nick Saban coaching tree. If McElwain is not the head coach at Florida in 2015, he may very well be at another program from a power conference.

Stoops and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen share 11/2 odds, followed by Rich Rodriguez (7/1), Mike Shanahan (7/1), Steve Spurrier (8/1), Hugh Freeze (8/1), Gary Patterson (12/1) and Gus Malzahn (12/1). Mullen and Freeze would be interesting possibilities, but how often do coaches switch jobs within the conference? It is not impossible, but it is somewhat rare. the same might be said of Malzahn at Auburn.

Rodriguez seems like a trendy pick, but would he be ready to jump back in the fire that comes with the Florida job after his time in Michigan? He seems to be in a really good spot at Arizona. Patterson has built something at TCU and now that the Horned Frogs are in a power conference, Patterson has a chance to compete for national titles right where he is now. And Shanahan? The rumors are he would be willing to take on a college job, but is Florida the best fit for him to try that experiment? Should Florida even give that a thought? Probably not. And Spurrier? That sure would be fun and a fitting way for the Gator legend on the field and sideline to wrap up his career. Who knows, but I think we have seen the last of Spurrier’s visor on the Gators sideline.

So who are you placing a bet on, or are you like me and betting on the field at this point?

Black Monday brings new round of rumors for college coaches


A pair of NFL jobs opened up in the first few hours of the annual Black Monday firing parade and, as expected, some of the names connected to the openings will cause some level of discomfort for college football programs.

With Leslie Frazier out in Minnesota, Doug Farrar of SportsIllustrated.com writes that “[t]he Vikings are said to prefer a college coach, perhaps to assist in future drafts.”  Specifically, Farrar mentions Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as possible replacements for Frazier in the Twin Cities.

The fact that Sumlin and Franklin are mentioned as possibilities for other jobs is far from surprising, although the latter’s name coming up in connection to an NFL job is, at minimum, eyebrow raising.

Sumlin agreed to a new contract late last month that would seemingly keep him off-limits to other college football programs.  The NFL, though, is another matter entirely — depending on the buyout language in his new deal, of course — and is the cause of the most concern around College Station when it comes to Sumlin and his long-term future with the Aggies.  Already over this coaching carousel cycle, Sumlin was tied to speculation regarding the open Houston Texans job.  If the Dallas Cowboys make a change at head coach, you can expect Sumlin’s name to come up there, too.

Over the past couple of months, Franklin has been mentioned as a contender for jobs at USC and Texas, and could still be in play for the latter as the Longhorns continue their search for Mack Brown‘s replacement.  The connection to an NFL job, however, has plowed new speculative ground when it comes to Franklin.

In the nation’s Capitol, the Washington Redskins finally and mercifully put the Mike Shanahan era down and is in search of a new coach.  ESPN‘s Adam Schefter tweeted shortly thereafter that the “Redskins inquired through [a] third party about David Shaw.”  Earlier this month, it was reported that Shaw was showing no interest in the NFL and would remain at Stanford.

With quarterback Robert Griffin III the (likely) future of the organization on the field, you can expect speculation to continue regarding Baylor’s Art Briles.  Briles helped turn RGIII into a Heisman winner and second-overall draft pick during their time together with the Bears, with the thought process being Redskins’ ownership will target Briles as a way to continue building around the second-year player.

Another area of concern for college football fans, specifically those in Happy Valley, is Cleveland.

Sunday night, the Browns were asinine decisive enough to cut ties with Rob Chudzinski after just one season.  Penn State’s Bill O’Brien has already been mentioned as a possibility, and for good reason.  Last year, O’Brien interviewed for the Browns’ vacancy and could’ve had the job had he been so inclined.  The Browns are expected to pursue O’Brien again this year — provided another NFL club doesn’t get to him first.

Over the weekend, it was reported that talks between O’Brien and the Texans had intensified to the point where the two sides are working on a contract.

Bill O’Brien again connected to NFL jobs


It appears that, for the second consecutive December/January, Penn State is going to have to sweat out rumors of its head coach heading to the professional ranks.

Citing pro and college source, CBS SportsJason La Confora reported Sunday morning that Nittany Lions head coach Bill O’Brienis ready to return to professional football.”  More to the point, La Confora reports, O’Brien — and/or his agent — has already been approached by the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings.

La Confora stated that O’Brien could also be in play with the Washington Redskins if Mike Shanahan and the organization decide to part ways at season’s end.

O’Brien’s contract was amended in late June to include a raise in the neighborhood of $1 million.  The buyout in his contract is made up of only his base salary multiplied by the years left on his contract, a figure that would total roughly $5 million.  Such a sum would be far from prohibitive for an NFL organization, if paying the buyout would actually come into play because of NCAA sanctions.

His buyout is less financially restrictive than in past years, and, furthermore, there could be litigation over his buyout as well, if the situation escalates, given the penalties the program faced.

Late last year, O’Brien interviewed for openings with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles before opting to remain in Happy Valley.

Saban to become one of highest-paid coaches in any U.S. sport


Money likely wasn’t an overriding factor for Nick Saban, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.

As you may have heard by now, Alabama announced Friday night that it had reached an agreement with Saban on a contract extension that ended rumors of a move to Austin.  While the financial particulars were not released, various reports pegged the deal to be worth between $7 and $7.5 million a year.

As Saban’s previous yearly salary of just over $5.5 million served as the high-water mark for college football coaches, he merely stretched the gap between himself and the second highest-paid college coach — Texas’ Mack Brown at just over $5.4 million in 2013 — with the extension.  The extension does, though, push him into the ranks of the highest-paid coach of any American sports team.

By way of al.com, and based on figures from Forbes.com, only New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton at $8 million annually would be clearly ahead of Saban’s reported future earnings.  If the new contract is at the high-end of the reports, Saban would equal the likes of NFL head coaches Bill Belichick (New England Patriots, and Saban’s former boss) and Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs).  If it’s at the low-end, Saban would equal the yearly earnings of three more NFL coaches — Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks), Jeff Fisher (St. Louis Rams)  and Mike Shanahan (Washington Redskins) — as well as an NBA coach — Doc Rivers (Los Angeles Clippers).

In a slight oversight on the website’s part, Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski also made in the neighborhood of $7.2 million in 2013 according to USAToday.com.

Regardless of whether he’s (tied for) the second highest-paid coach in all of American sports or (tied for) the fifth highest-paid coach or somewhere in between, Saban’s success at Alabama plus the speculation surrounding UT’s interest served to make the head coach an even richer man in what he says will be the last coaching job of his career.