File this one under Silly Season Speculation, but I present it in the interest of keeping you, dear readers, fully informed. And that’s why I’m here! To serve! To bring every noteworthy nugget to you who Need To Know!
OK, where was I?
Oh, yeah. From the Rumor Central of ESPN.com’s Insiders comes this: “TTU job a stepping stone for Tuberville?” (Link requires registration.) And you’ll never guess where those presumed stones are said to lead.
For your edification, I present the item in its entirety:
“Will Tommy Tuberville retire at Texas Tech? Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman sure doesn’t think so. Tuberville has yet to sign his contract, and the buyout he has to pay if he were to break his contract isn’t high enough — in Bohls’ opinion, anyway.
“[Writes Bohls:] ‘Personally, I would have had Tuberville agree to a larger buyout. After all, he probably would be the Tennessee coach if he had waited a week instead of saying yes to Texas Tech.’
“Tuberville seems very happy to be at Tech and to be coaching again. But you do have to wonder, if he has success in Lubbock and a lucrative SEC job were to open up in the next couple of seasons, whether he’d be able to turn that offer down. Disgruntled LSU and Georgia fans might have to start paying the Red Raiders a little more attention.”
Well, now. That’s a mighty big leap from a mighty small item in Mr. Bohls’ column, but it does illustrate … something. We all know that Tuberville enjoys being courted — ask Ole Miss fans, or Auburn fans, or Arkansas fans — but it wasn’t long ago that Georgia could never been included in any discussion of a school that might soon be seeking a new coach.
But I should stipulate that any disgruntlement with Mark Richt has eased. Most UGA fans are excited about Todd Grantham as defensive coordinator — some weren’t happy with the search, but they’ll get over that if Grantham delivers — and they’ll get excited again on Signing Day. The heat on Miles, who infamously blew the Ole Miss game, is much higher than on Richt. (LSU fans are going nuts over Nick Saban winning big at Alabama.)
No, this isn’t your father’s SEC, or even your uncle’s. Phillip Fulmer was gone from Tennessee a year after playing for the conference title. Tuberville himself was out at Auburn two seasons after going 11-2. Things can happen quickly, sure. That said …
I don’t see any way Georgia is looking for a coach next December. LSU, maybe. Not UGA.
(P.S. I do think Mr. Bohls — nice guy, good writer — has it right when he says Tuberville would be sitting in Knoxville today if he’d waited a week. Which would mean Tuberville would have coached three different SEC schools, which I don’t think anyone has ever done. Though Bobby Petrino will give it a go.)