"A little housewarming gift."
Frank Ricard (Will Ferrell), Old School
'Tis the season of giving, and the Tenth Power is helping out the Big Guy (Santa, not Mark Mangino, though the confusion is understandable) find those perfect gifts for 10 new coaching hires. Technically they're housewarming gifts, but we're double gifting, which is downright deplorable, as kids with birthdays around Christmas can attest. But these are hard economic times, which, as Frank "The Tank" knows, means sometimes you have to re-gift a bread maker.
1. Gene Chizik, Auburn: Turner Gill's resume. No hire has wrought as much criticism as Chizik's. Was it racially motivated? We'll leave that rant to The Round Mound of Rebound, but if Chizik was coming off an 8-5 season that included a surprising conference title (a la Gill), he would have saved himself, and athletic director Jay Jacobs, a little face.
2. Lane Kiffin, Tennessee: A hug from Al Davis. There's still some 2Pac/Notorious B.I.G.-level beef going on between Kiffin and his former employer, Davis. Kiffin snatched up Raiders offensive line coach James Cregg to join him in Knoxville, which resulted in a rant from Kiffin's replacement in Oakland, Tom Cable. Jealous much? Kiffin, though, believes this was Davis playing puppetmaster, which would come as no surprise. Can't these two bury this beef along with Davis' Starter tracksuits?
3. Steve Sarkisian, Washington: Pete Carroll's DVD Win Forever. Barack Obama doesn't have this much work ahead of him. Sarkisian's taking over the first 0-12 team in Pac-10 history and he's trying to avoid the failures of other Carroll protégés/recommendations. See Greg Robinson (coached with Carroll back in the day at Pacific and was fired by Syracuse), Nick Holt (went from USC to Idaho and posted a 5-18 record), Ed Orgeron (left the Trojans for Ole Miss and was fired) and Kiffin (fired by the Raiders after leaving USC). Carroll's DVD is as close as the Sark may get to winning for a while.
4. Dabo Swinney, Clemson: A time capsule. Swinney took over a team coming off its coach's sudden departure, energized the team and the fanbase -– and even had a song written about him along the way. Can anyone say Bill Stewart (minus the song)? Swinney could be the answer, but just in case his first full season looks like Stewart's at West Virginia, he may want to store away some of those glowing press clippings.
5. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: Enough of his spread offense DVDs for every Bulldogs fan. Offense was a foreign language under Sylvester Croom, with Mississippi State averaging 17.1 points per game in his reign and never ranking higher than 96th nationally in total offense. Fans will want some explanation as to what all those crooked numbers on the scoreboard mean.
6. Danny Hope, Purdue: About 40-50 pounds. Hope took the "coach designate" label to a whole other level in cultivating a mustache that makes him look strikingly similar to the guy he's replacing. We're just trying to add some pounds and complete the ensemble.
7. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: Joe Gibbs' phone number. Like Gibbs, Snyder is a legendary coach returning to a team with which he had great success. But as Gibbs –- and Wyatt Earp -- know, sometimes coming out of retirement can get ugly. Gibbs was 30-34 in his return and could talk Snyder, who is taking over a team that was 4-12 in the Big 12 the last two years, out of tainting his legacy.
8. Doug Marrone, Syracuse: Tossing his computer out the window. Hiring an NFL offensive coordinator who didn't even call the plays hasn't been a huge hit among some Orange fans. His Wikipedia page briefly said "Unwisely, he was chosen as Syracuse University's Head Football coach after the 2008 season by the incompetent athletic director Daryl Gross" and someone has already launched firedougmarrone.com. Keeping him off the Internet would be a favor.
9. Mike Locksley, New Mexico: A Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Albuquerque. A Washington, D.C. native, Locksley has ruled the District recruiting scene, helping bring Vernon Davis to Maryland, Derrick Harvey to Florida and Arrelious Benn and Vontate Davis to Illinois. So if he's going to keep it up at New Mexico, he's going to need a slice of home. If it doesn't work, at least Locksley can spend time trying the 250,000-plus ways of ordering a Five Guys burger.
10. Brady Hoke, San Diego State: More time than Chuck Long got. I've already sounded off on Hoke's bizarre destination choice, so let's just hope he gets more time to turn things around than Long, who was canned after three years. Sure, Hoke turned things around at Ball State, but it took five years before he had a winning record and he's taking over a program in far worse shape than the Cardinals were when he got that job. Maybe Santa and I should get him a surfboard, since he'll have plenty of long offseasons to take on a new hobby. Brady, I hear Del Mar is a great place for beginners.
"A little housewarming gift."