Hello Followers. Hope you are doing great.
As for me, well, I don’t think I’ve ever felt better following an Apple Cup. I mean with all of the stuff that has hit the west side over the past few days, it almost feels as if we won the game! Or, at the very least, it has been AWESOME that virtually nobody is talking about the fact that we lost. So, let’s keep it that way, shall we?
Of course what everyone IS talking about on the Westside is the current vacant coaching job at the University of Washington. So, if you’re interested in a few thoughts on that, read on.
First of all, a few words about coach Sark. To begin, I think Sark is a really good football coach. To be sure, his record was less than stellar for “Husky Standards.” At the same time, I don’t think folks are giving him enough credit for his leadership (and ruthlessness) in letting go of Holt and several other members of his staff in favor of Wilcox, Tosh, and company. As I noted last Friday, in just two short years, the Huskies moved from being a complete “meh” 7-6 type outfit, to the best 8-4 team in the country. And given the fact that they are five years removed from 0-12, well, that’s a huge accomplishment.
While Sark proved his mettle at Washington—at least in my book—our performance last Saturday was pretty also noteworthy. I mean, were it not for an ill-fated INT by Halliday (who I thought was SPECTACULAR on the previous drive), the Dawgs may have finished 7-5 once again. And when you consider that Oregon and Stanford are now firmly entrenched among the Nation’s elite, well, the North has gotten even that much tougher with our sudden resurgence (and did anyone else see how good Oregon State looked in the Civil War?). So, while USC was certainly Sark’s dream job, the fact of the matter is that he has much more job security taking the job at SC than staying at UW. I mean, when you think about the loss of Price, ASJ, and Sankey plus the fact that the Dawgs have a 4-5 home-road split next year, and you can see why the table is set for them to hover around .500 in conference once again (the Dawgs should win at least 8 games next year—especially since they have 4 out-of-conference cupcakes). And if that had happened, I think his seat would have become really, really warm.
And truly, Sark’s situation at Washington stood in stark contrast to Mora’s situation at UCLA. I mean, while Husky nation felt that Sark underachieved, the fan base at UCLA generally view Mora as an overachiever, if not an outright hero. Moreover, while Sark was facing the loss of key personnel on offense, Mora’s 2014 UCLA team appears LOADED with talent across the lines and skill positions. In fact, with home games next year against Oregon, Stanford, and USC, the Bruins may be a darkhorse Final Four contender next year—especially if Hudley returns.
So, while I can understand why Husky fans must be devastated by Mora’s decision to stay (LOL), the fact of the matter is that guys like Mora know what a dog-eat-dog business college football has become. And so, if you find yourself in a winning situation—in a beautiful location like Westwood no less—you DO NOT LEAVE, especially if there is any question about your ability to win elsewhere. And frankly, Washington’s situation is much more cloudy than any of the other “elite” schools in the conference (e.g., UCLA, USC, Oregon, Stanford, and ASU).
So, the question for the Dawgs moving forward is “where to go from here?” Personally, I think they need to hire an established winner—one that has already shown himself to be able to win championships. A few candidates that come to mind:
Kyle Whittingham. You have to wonder if he’s run his course in Utah. But, boy can he coach. Off hand, I’m not sure that there is an active coach who has beaten both Shaw and Saban. And when you factor in that he is a part of Urban Meyer’s coaching tree? He would be a terrific get.
Mike MacIntyre. Was a hair short of winning FIVE games in his first season at Colorado with that awful roster. Won 11 games last year at SJSU and played Stanford really tough at home that year. The guy can flat out coach. And, the move would ensure that Colorado would remain a doormat–which is important for a conference where there aren't enough lay-ups.
Gary Pinkel. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Three Big 12 North Titles, One SEC East title (and maybe a championship), and two different #1 rankings while at Mizzou. When you factor in the Don James and Washington ties, what else do you want? I mean, Mora doesn’t have that resume.
James Franklin. Wanna recruit with Sark and Mora in LA? Well, hiring a great, up-and-coming African American coach would be a good start. As importantly, Vanderbilt is known nationally as “The Harvard of the South.” So, if Woodward and company are truly interested in the “student athlete,” then Franklin is a really good start.
My choice for the Huskies? Doug Nussmeier. To be sure, he’s young, has strong Washington-Idaho roots, and has been groomed under Nick Saban for the past couple of years. At the same time, the guy is effectively another Sark. And as Washington tries to catch the big boys while WSU and Oregon State have become legitimate threats to the upper Division, going with inexperience could be a short-term (3-5 year) disaster for the Puppies.
And when you think about it that way, what else could the Cougars hope for heading into the 2013 holiday season?
All for now. Go Cougs.