Thursday, November 13, 2008
Behind The Scoreboard
Coaches have many bosses
There probably isn’t a football soul left in the SEC area who hasn’t heard of the latest high profile coach to fall victim to the coaching carousel. A few years ago, it was the pro ranks who announced the firings of their head coaches before the season ended. Now, for whatever reasons, this premise has taken hold at the collegiate level and mentors in the college ranks find themselves on the list of the most endangered species.
Coaches working the sidelines in the present day of collegiate football find themselves answering to a multitude of bosses. First they have to constantly win fan approval, over and over. Secondly, they have to please the ruling hierarchy at the school. And then, for what it is worth, they have to be cognizant of what the communication medium thinks and reports.
Coach Phillip Fulmer was given his pink slip by the Volunteers last week after almost 17 years at the helm. He has amassed a record of 150-51, which is highly ranked among coaches who are still on the job. He also has one national title to his credit. Fulmer is probably still wondering what his bosses meant when they prefaced his firing with “plans to go in another direction.”
They did hold out a carrot of sorts, intimating that he could probably be kept on in some other capacity. What Fulmer will do after 32 years of being associated with the same program is unclear. But, in terms (and years) of Joe Paterno, he still has a lot of football left in his blood.
The Vols and Fulmer won’t be there at the end, but the SEC will figure prominently in the BCS picture for the third consecutive season. And the lead-up games are still providing entertaining fireworks – for instance, Alabama and LSU, re-energized tradition fueled with a little bitterness. Some of the LSU fans were bent on the Tigers (defending national champions) giving Nick Saban his come-uppance for ditching them for the NFL some years ago. Unless you didn’t turn on the tube at all during the weekend, you know how this turned out. The Tide is still unbeaten and still number one. They will play for the SEC title.
Another unbeaten fell over the weekend. The Nittany Lions and Grandpa Joe are no longer undefeated. Penn State was derailed by Iowa and it just might be enough to rub the Lions from the BCS spotlight. But the Texas Tech Red Raiders are very much alive and living large after moving up to number two.
Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how these Red Raiders would match up against a raging Tide?
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