Will Muschamp stands ready to become the highest paid assistant coach in college football, despite the fact his former employer just agreed to pay him over $6 million to not coach at their program. While Carolina obviously wants him to perform a different role, it's worth taking a step back and asking - is this guy as good as people think he is?
Well, Muschamp has led eight defenses as a college coach over the last eight years. And a quick look at his performance in those roles shows that he consistently puts up very good defenses, and regularly puts up great ones:
|Average Defensive Ranking:
|*Since there was no F/+ in 2006, we used S&P+
That's three top-10 defenses in an eight-year period, and a ranking that never fell out of the top third of college football. While obviously the Gamecocks don't want to pay almost $2 million a year for the 33rd-best defense in the nation, they'd certainly pay that money for this series of performances over an eight-year stretch. Certainly, they would've taken it this year, as it would've raised their F/+ rating from 52nd to 6th in the nation:
The numbers were closer in 2012 and 2013 - in the former year Florida's defense was second to the Gamecocks' 13th, and USC eeked out the Gators in 2013, coming in at 16th compared to Florida's 17th-place ranking. But still, it's clear that Muschamp provides the kind of consistency that, given this 2014 season, Lorenzo Ward has not provided at Carolina.
Perhaps Ward would rebound from this brutal season and put up numbers like Muschamp has posted over his past eight seasons. But if you want certainty at the defensive coordinator spot, it's incredibly hard to argue that Will Muschamp doesn't provide it for the Gamecocks. And given the offense it wasted this season, it's an investment USC's wisely considering making.