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The Feed Pail: Coaching carousel chaos

College football’s annual coaching searches are always crazy, but 2017 is really outdoing itself.

Nov 26, 2017; Knoxville, TN, USA; University of Tennesse freshman Morgan Morton waves a Tennessee Vol flag that reads "RIP" and "#Grumors" outside of Neyland Stadium during a gathering of Tennessee Volunteers fans as they react to the possible hiring of Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano for the Volunteers head coaching position. Mandatory Credit: Calvin Mattheis/Knoxville News Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Welcome back to the Feed Pail, where we usually find choice South Carolina tidbits from around the web and share them back here with you. However, in light of what has been an absolutely insane coaching carousel this season — especially in regard to the SEC — let’s take a look around at all the chaos (and perhaps indulge in a bit of schadenfreude).


The Gators are the clear winner so far, bringing Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen back home to Gainesville. While they publicly swung and missed on former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who is returning to the college ranks to lead UCLA instead, Mullen is a safe, solid pick. Under his watch, the Bulldogs reached a No. 1 ranking and had a legitimate Heisman contender in quarterback Dak Prescott, things that were previously unthinkable in Starkville. Throw in Mullen’s personal history with Florida — he was its offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer — and he just might be the cure for what ails the Gators.

Dan Mullen knows what it takes to win at he has to deliver - Ryan Young, SEC Country

Aaaand the pressure’s already on.

So no, nobody knows for sure how this will play out. But it’s certainly intriguing. Mullen probably reached his ceiling at Mississippi State, getting that program about as far as it could reasonably be expected to go. With the resources, recruiting pull and history of the Gators, who’s to say he can’t get Florida to its full potential as well?

In Dan Mullen, Florida gets nice consolation prize after losing out on Chip Kelly - Des Bieler, Washington Post

The Post suggests the Gators may actually be better off for missing on Kelly.

In fact, Mullen may well turn out to have been the better hire, given his track record in the ultra-competitive SEC. That includes a productive stint as Florida’s offensive coordinator before an impressive, nine-year run as head coach at Mississippi State.

The HBC himself was also pleased with the move, posting a message of support.


Hooo, boy. Where to even start with this one? Long story somewhat short: Early on Sunday, reports surfaced that Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was a done deal to coach the Volunteers. The Tennessee faithful — which included not just fans, but former players and eventually state politicians — politely said, “No thank you.” The reason for this was not just sour grapes because the Jon Gruden rumors had yet again been proven false; rather, Schiano was an assistant coach under Joe Paterno during Jerry Sandusky’s tenure at Penn State, making this a rather controversial move. At the end of the day, the university bowed under the pressure and elected to not go through with hiring Schiano, so we’ll just have to see what comes next in what has already been a bonkers search process.

The real reason Greg Schiano was a bad fit at Tennessee - Chris Korman, USA Today

This is a different take on events, which focuses less on Schiano’s involvement with the Penn State child molestation scandal and more on the foibles of his football career, especially in the NFL.

But what we already know about him makes it seem unlikely that he’d ever be the sort of coach you’re truly proud of; if he treated millionaire pros so poorly, how is he going to be with college kids over whom he has total control? And how is he ever going to recruit elite players if his program is run anything like the Buccaneers?

As Tennessee again finds itself engulfed in flames, Lane Kiffin waits by his phone - Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports

This was surprisingly not as tongue-in-cheek as I had expected. Could the hated prodigal son return to Knoxville?

There weren't going to be enough home-run hires to go around. Some Power Five or another was going to be left hanging. Tennessee continues to be that school.


Amazingly, with Kiffin, Tennessee would know exactly it is getting. Quirky, cocky and tweet-obsessed beats national political firestorm any day.

Oh yeah, and Kiffin is a proven winner as a college coach. As Lane himself likes to point out, his career winning percentage (.642) is similar to that of Brian Kelly at Notre Dame (.677).

Oh, and The Rock on Tennessee’s campus currently looks like this:

Texas A&M

The Aggies made it official and moved on from Kevin Sumlin, who never could recapture the magic after Heisman winner Johnny Manziel left despite hauling in impressive recruiting classes. Sumlin’s teams were infamous for their hot starts and lousy finishes, and the Aggies finally got tired of that routine.

Search Firm: Where does Texas A&M go after firing Kevin Sumlin? - Adam Rittenberg, ABC News

This is a pretty good breakdown that examines multiple options and also evaluates the Texas A&M job on a whole. The Aggies are in an interesting place — they’re stuck competing against teams like Alabama and Auburn in the SEC West, but their access to Texas talent could be quite a draw for candidates.

Jimbo Fisher is ‘still our coach,’ FSU official says - Jim Henry, Tallahassee Democrat

And here’s where it gets juicy: Rumors have been swirling around Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, with ESPN reporting (via an unnamed source) that Fisher has already been offered a lucrative deal by the Aggies. The Seminoles, of course, have denied this, and so did the man himself.

"I ain't talking about jobs, I ain't getting into all of that," said Fisher, who last season was heavily connected to the opening at LSU, where he previously served as an offensive coordinator from 2000-06.

We’ll see about that.

In addition to the above schools, Arkansas and now Mississippi State are also on the market, but are much lower profile and will thus face tougher sledding. The crazy hasn’t cranked up for those jobs yet, but stay tuned.