porkins: Hah! I'm wearing a giant buckeye on my head! I'm not getting enough oxygen!
lakers: Hey, that's super...Well enough of all the chatter. We've got a packed show today so let's get started with our reactions to the new head coaches in 2008. The first guy we will be talking to you about is Houston Nutt of Ole Miss. What do you think of this guy porkins?
porkins: Nutt was a decent hire, but I'm not jumping out of my chair. The upside is that Ole Miss gets a veteran SEC guy who knows the ins and outs of the conference. He won 61% of his games while at Arkansas with 7 bowl appearances in 10 years. My problem is he only won 2 of those bowls, and a .610 winning percentage, while pretty good the tough SEC West, translates to only 8 wins a year or so...including bowls. If Ole Miss truly wants to get to the next level, Nutt will need to push beyond the limits of what he was able to do in Fayetteville.
lakers: I think this was a great hire for the Rebels. The Ed Orgeron hiring a few years ago was not a smart hire, but now they have it right with this hiring. He won't be able to come in and win this year I don't think, but in a few years Ole Miss is going to be a team to look out for in the SEC. Who's next Porkins.
porkins: June Jones, SMU. As I've been saying elsewhere, this was a great hire for both sides. SMU gets a coach who took over a Hawai'I program that had gone 5-31 with 18 straight losses prior to his arrival. He engineered the biggest turnaround in division 1-A history with a 9-win season in his first year.
lakers: I think this was a really good hire for the SMU program. June Jones was able to lead Hawaii to a BCS bowl game and could he do it at SMU? We will just have to wait and see. I do know that he is happy to be at a program where they are willing to spend the money necessary to win. Porkins I know you like this guy tell us more.
porkins: Jones' real skill is an ability to recruit kids that have been overlooked- and he'll every bit of that skill in the competitive Texas market. In SMU, he gets a program that, Unlike Hawai'I, is actually committed to winning. As you alluded to, they're spending already, building new facilities and really making an effort to come back from the NCAA's "death penalty". This move fits both coach and school very well.
lakers: Up next we got Mike Sherman of Texas what do you have for me on him porkins.
porkins: This one doesn't excite me. It's a big name and will get a lot of press, but I'm actually pretty surprised that A&M would go after another high profile guy after the Franchione debacle. Sherman has zippo experience as a head coach at the college level. I'll keep an open mind, but I have yet to see what made him such an attractive candidate. They hire him pretty quickly. We'll see if it pays off.
lakers: Right. To be honest I don't really know what to think of this hire. I know Mike Sherman was good in the NFL, but will that be able to translate into him being a good college coach? I do though like the hiring he made at the defensive coordinator position. Joe Kines was a very good hire. Next, we're moving east, Porkins.
porkins: That's right- on to Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech. This a guy with a stellar resume coming out of a service academy.
lakers: I don't like this hire. I know he did well at Navy, but there is a reason why he was there as long as he was and wasn't hired to a BCS school before now. I do not think his option offense is going to be good for Georgia Tech playing in the ACC. You can't just run all the time in the ACC and win games.
porkins: I'm going to disagree. Johnson has been extremely successful. Prior to his stint at Navy, he coached at 1-AA Georgia Southern, where he compiled an .861 winning percentage and won two National Championships. In fact, his worst finish there was a loss in the quarterfinals of the 1-AA tourney. Then on to Navy where he led a service academy to a 45-29 record. He oversaw Navy's defeat of Notre Dame- the first in more than four decades. He's the only Navy coach to go 6-0 in his first six seasons against Army, and the senior class of 2007 was the first in Navy history to win the Commander in Chief's Trophy for all four years of their tenure.
lakers: The big criticism of Johnson is his reliance on the triple option. Relying so heavily on the running game could mean trouble.
porkins: Good point. It's possible that ACC teams will successfully gear up to stop the run, but variants of the option helped Texas and Florida win National Championships. I think every great coach has a preferred system and Johnson has proven his can work in 1-A. I think it's a good hire. Tech needs to get back on its feet after a long spell of mediocrity.
lakers: Up next we have Rick Neuheisel of UCLA. Tell me about him porkins.
porkins: Well, it's tough for me the separate "Neuheisel the coach" from the guy who racked up 51 rules violations while at Colorado. I think he's got the talent to lead a program like UCLA, but his past indiscretions leave me uneasy. And it wasn't just his tenure in Boulder. When he coached at Washington., there were numerous accusations that he failed to control and monitor player behavior. There were allegations of criminal conduct and corruption that dogged the latter part of his Huskies career, which eventually ended with his firing over gambling violations. Bottom line- the guy has been involved in some bad stuff. Can he overcome his past and revive the Bruins?
lakers: I think he has the potential to do it. Neuheisel is going to bring this UCLA program back up and in a few years will be competing with the Trojans for the best in the PAC 10. I thought this was a really good hire for them and it will work out for them now and down the road.
porkins: Let's hope you're right. Next is one of my favorites, Bo Pelini of Nebraska. Excellent hire by Doctor Tom in his return to Lincoln.
lakers: This was a suprise hire to me. I was fully expecting Tom Osborne to hire Buffalo Head Coach and former Nebraska QB Turner Gill. I do though, like this hire better though. Pelini who is the former LSU Defensive Coordinaor is going to come in and build up the Nebraska defense, and is going to get the Huskers back into Big 12 contention.
porkins: I couldn't agree more. Look, the Huskers had the ninth ranked offense in the nation last year, racking up 33.4 points per game. They were getting it done on that side of the ball. The problem was the defense, ranked 112th out of 119 1-A teams. When you give up 30 or more points in 8 out 12 games, you're not putting yourselves in a position to win. Pelini is a real solution. When he was a defensive coordinator in Lincoln, he took a defense ranked 55th and had them at 11th after one year. His defenses at Oklahoma and LSU were also amazing. The guy can flat out get it done. The days of giving up 30+ are over, as are losing records. The Big 12 North had better watch out for the Blackshirts.
lakers: Next we have Bobby Petrino of Arkansas, who replaces Houston Nutt. You're up porkins.
porkins: Petrino can coach, but overall I don't like the hire. It sneds to wrong message. A big part of college football is teaching these kids, and I don't think rewarding a guy like Petrino with yet another lucrative deal teaches the right lesson. He's from college to the NFL and back again a total of 5 times. He abandoned a Louisville program after maintaining the success enjoyed by former Cardinals coach John L. Smith. When Petrino left Louisville, the word is he dumped a whole lot of problems in the lap of his successor, Steve Kragthorpe.
lakers: I used to really like Bobby Petrino, until he quit on the Falcons with three games left in the season and came to Fayetteville. I think he should have at least finished off the season instead of just leaving the way he did. But you can't deny what he brings to the table for Arkansas. He is going to be able to build a big time offense, and get Arkansas into contention for more than just the SEC title.
porkins: Well as I said, the guy can coach. My question is, where's his next stop? I can only assume he'll jump ship again and leave the Razorbacks hanging. But let's shift gears. I have a guy who's on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to loyalty: Bill Stewart of West Virginia. The question in Morgantown is does he have the coaching talent to keep Rich Rodriguez's program running strong?
lakers: Bill Stewart inhereited a fortune by getting the Head Coaching job at West Virginia. He held an 8-25 record at VMI, which is not good at all. It's not everyday that you see a guy with that bad of a record at a DII school get the reigns to a big time DI program like West Virginia. He did make a move in the right direction with a Fiesta Bowl win. He has the backing of the players but will that translate into success?
porkins: I'm not overly optimistic. Being popular is one thing, but winning at the highest level takes a lot of ability. Stewart needs to prove himself before I buy this as a good hire.
lakers: Well, last but certainly not least, let's talk about Rich Rodriguez. We just mentioned him in relation to his former job at WVU, but he has now taken over at Michigan.
porkins: This is a great strategic hire for the Wolverines, but it's a long-term investment. Rodriguez has to revamp the team, and that's not going to happen right away.
lakers: That's right. This is going to take some time to work, and I really hope that Michigan has the patience. Because this season will likely be a tough one for the maize and blue. He has to change the offense to the spread and he really doesn't have a QB to run that. If they would have gotten Terrelle Pryor it would have been a much better season for Michigan. But that didn't happen, but this hiring will work out in the long run, but just not this season.
porkins: Exactly. It'll take a few years for Rodriguez to get the proper kind of recruits into Ann Arbor, but once he does, the rest of the Big Ten is going to have some serious adjustments to make. And because Michigan is such an elite program, I have little doubt that we'll be seeing a huge bounce-back year in the relatively near future.
lakers: Thank you all for joining us on this first edition of College Gameday. This is lakers and porkins signing off, tune in next week for our special Conference Preview SEC style. Goodbye everyone.
porkins: Goodbye folks. Have a great week and remember that college football season is right around the corner.