Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 11/27/16
It’s now official. Charlie Strong is out at Texas, Tom Herman is in with the Longhorns, and LSU has decided Ed Orgeron is their man after supposedly having a handshake agreement with Herman.
If you’re thinking the Texas and LSU jobs being filled signals a fast finish to the high end coaching carousel, forget about it. I’m expecting two very big jobs to come open, and at least a few others at only a slightly lesser caliber.
The big gig that I suspect is going to open up is at Notre Dame. Kelly said yesterday that he wants to be back at South Bend. Fighting Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick has repeatedly stated that Kelly’s job is safe.
I’m not so sure. Not only did Notre Dame just suffer through an absolutely terrible football season, the program has also had some embarrassing off the field issues, and the fan base is unhappy. I think it all depends on how many of those dissatisfied fans are big time boosters. That always matters.
Regardless, I think Notre Dame should be looking elsewhere, and I’m sold on PJ Fleck, who has done a sensational job at Western Michigan. I think Fleck has the outgoing personality that’s a great fit for the program and I sure am not turning up my nose because his only head coaching experience is in the MAC. This guy is a rising superstar in the coaching fraternity.
If Notre Dame decides to stay put with Kelly or look elsewhere, then Oregon should be phoning Fleck. I just don’t see any way that Mark Helfrich is returning to coach the Ducks in 2017. The upset last week at Utah seemed to temporarily placate some of the fan base. But yesterday’s Civil War defeat to Oregon State should be the clincher. I think Helfrich has to be gone after that loss.
By the way, for anyone who thinks I’m being callous calling for firings, please stop it. Today’s big time college coaches have golden parachutes that are pretty amazing, so it’s not like anyone’s livelihood is about be compromised.
Okay Saturday thanks to the college football. I dropped about one unit in hoops, but went 4-1 with the gridiron stuff, losing only UNLV in what was a stunningly awful performance by the Rebels. Good day overall, and on to Sunday.
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Today’s free play is on a Sunday college basketball game.
721 BALL STATE at 722 VALPARAISO
Take: VALPARAISO -10
I was very impressed with the Crusaders in a win here in Las Vegas earlier this week against BYU. Valpo beat BYU at the Cougars pace and even though that game was on a neutral court, I would almost have called it a home/neutral for BYU as they have a big following in Las Vegas.
There’s a revenge motive here for Valpo and actually the circumstances are similar to last season. The Crusaders were heading back to Indiana after a two-game trip to face Oregon and Oregon State, and they got ambushed by the Cardinals.
Ball State has had some trouble in the early going. The Cardinals are losing the turnover battles by a substantial margin, and they simply aren’t going to stay with Valpo if the Crusaders get a handful of extra possessions. The home team doesn’t figure to take this for granted after last year’s result, and I think the Crusaders have too many weapons for this to stay close for 40 minutes. I’ll go ahead and give the points with Valparaiso.