Earlier today, the Sporting News came out with a list of ten candidates that would likely be in the mix for the South Carolina Gamecocks as they look to replace Steve Spurrier. Some of them are names we've heard before (Herman, Fuente, Smart, etc.), while others are names we haven't heard much about (Satterfield, Brohm, Bisaccia). Here's my take on the list:
- The frontrunner, I think (and I could be wrong), is Tom Herman. He has all of the boxes checked: a strong recruiter, a young, up-and-comer, and someone who will breathe life into the program. He'll get this team playing at a high level, and while that may or may not equal immediate change in wins/losses, it's a good pick. Justin Fuente would be a good fit as well as he's very similar to Herman in the way I mentioned above. I'm leaning away from Kirby Smart, because I think Ray Tanner's looking for something else (although I think he'd do well here, and there's still a strong chance he does come), but my bets are on Herman.
- If they can't get one of those three, then the mid-tier candidates could be in play. I probably wouldn't mind RichRod, but I don't know if the situation is right. Charlie Strong, I think, may have bought himself a little more time in Austin, and even if he were to be available, I'm not sure the athletic department would pursue him despite his ties to the program. Shawn Elliott would probably be considered, but only if he is somehow able to win the final three. Jeff Brohm might be a fringe candidate due to his work at Western Kentucky, home to a incredibly high-powered offense and a program that might win the Conference USA title.
- All the others may not be a realistic scenario. Scott Satterfield has done a terrific job helping the program transition from FCS to FBS, but the time isn't right, I think. Rich Bisaccia is only being brought up because he's a former Gamecocks assistant but shouldn't be looked at as a serious candidate. As for Mark Dantonio, his tenure at Michigan State has been remarkable, but, as the article said, he'll likely end his career in East Lansing.
One of the takeaways in this is that there are a large amount of vacant coaching positions that will either promote from within (like Minnesota did) or look on the outside. In my mind, the teams that could really stand to drive up the bidding process (if need be) are Maryland, Miami (Fla.), South Carolina and Southern Cal. If it comes down to numbers, those programs have the resources, boosters, and overall money to outspend anyone they wish - with Southern Cal probably having the most money at their disposal. A wildcard in this is Georgia, if they dismiss Mark Richt, as rumor has it that the boosters are looking for a new face in Athens. The Bulldogs are certainly in a position to swipe a hot name away from the Gamecocks if Richt does not return next year.
What do you think? What's your viewpoint?