Sunday, December 09, 2012

Tommy Tuberville's doing what now?

Errr ... ummm ... what?
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville was hired Saturday as Cincinnati's next football coach, leaving the Big 12 for a school trying to move up to a better conference.

The agreement came one day after Butch Jones left to become Tennessee's next football coach, ending a week of uncertainty for the Bearcats.

Tuberville went 20-17 in three seasons at Texas Tech after coaching at Mississippi and Auburn. The Red Raiders (7-5) will play Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl after missing out on a bowl last season. 
Well that was unexpected. A hypothetical list of logical candidates for the Cincinnati job could've been extended to about 60 without Tuberville being on it, although in hindsight, there was a pretty obvious reason he was on the actual list (even if he is 58):
Athletic director Whit Babcock had Tuberville -- whom he worked with for three years at Auburn -- at the top of his list of candidates. Working on two hours of sleep, Babcock called Tuberville on Saturday morning to see if he was interested.
I'm somewhat skeptical that it took Babcock more than 24 hours to gauge the interest of the guy "at the top of his list," but whatever. Tommy Tuberville, at age 58, is going from a slightly-above-average program in the Big 12 to an above-average program in the Big East, which is to say he's making a maybe-slightly-upward move in terms of success, an upward move in terms of locale and a downward move in terms of pretty much everything else (I'm pretty sure Cincy's stadium is smaller than that ginormous high school one in Texas), hence Cincinnati fans collectively going all "WWWHHEEEE WE GOT A REAL COACH!!!"

I don't need to write 1,000 words here about Tommy Tuberville because he's Tommy Tuberville, the guy who won five SEC West titles in 10 years at Auburn and then became Guy Who Follows Mike Leach And Eventually Gets Fired For Failure To Meet Unrealistic Goals. Except he didn't get fired -- or he hadn't gotten fired yet.

Which leads me to Y U DO THAT. This was written in the Orlando Sentinel before the season and is just one example but was duplicated on every other "coaches on the hot seat" list:
Texas Tech struggled in 2011, losing seven of its last eight games to finish 5-7 as the defense finished close to last in the nation while giving up 39 points per game. Art Kaufman was hired in the offseason, becoming the third defensive coordinator in as many years in Lubbock. With 18 returning starters and a non-conference schedule that features games against Texas State, Northwestern State and Montana, anything less than a winning record and a bowl appearance could spell trouble for Tuberville.
That didn't happen, obviously. But in a conference in which nine of the 10 teams are legitimately competitive, "anything less than a winning record and a bowl appearance" could happen at pretty much any time; Texas Tech is still Texas Tech and therefore not Oklahoma. I mean, 6-6 next year at Texas Tech probably gets you fired; the equivalent at Cincinnati (which is about 8-4 just due to the Big East's awfulness) probably gets you a contract extension and general satisfaction.

Actually, 6-6 next year at Texas Tech almost definitely gets you fired since this happened (to be clear, I'm referring to the contents of the video and not the camera operator's seizure):

Oh yeah. That. /pulls at collar uncomfortably

A hilarious tweet from ESPN's Brett McMurphy:
Two Texas Tech alums just texted me and wrote: "Thank you Cincinnati!!!!"  
So Tuberville was about as popular with everybody as Mike Leach was with the administration, whatever that means. Going 8-5 (probably) pretty consistently at Texas Tech seems ... like ... OK. Spike Dykes made a career out of doing that; for that matter, Leach was basically doing the same until Texas Tech really started going ham in about 2005.

I think it's entirely possible that the above-referenced texts weren't referring entirely to Tuberville but also to Kliff Kingsbury, the former Texas Tech throw-it-87-times-a-game guy who's now 33, Texas A&M's O-coordinator and soooo dreamy after turning Johnny Manziel into JOHNNY FOOTBALL HEISMANZEL NICKNAMES WOOOOO.

A tweet from Football Scoop:
Checked w 2 sources in Lubbock, both said same 4 names: Kingsbury, Monken, Briles & Art Kaufman. Just passing along what I'm told.
FYI, Art Kaufman was brought in as D-coordinator before this year and produced one of the better defenses in the conference (first in passing yards allowed, fifth in rushing yards allowed and second in total yards allowed) after years of unspeakable awfulness.

According to various other people, the guy at the top of the list is either Jim Leavitt or Chad Morris or Brent Venables (AD Kirby Hocutt's BFF). But none of those guys will be acceptable since none of them is Kliff Kingsbury.

This is every related tweet from Saturday:
Texas Tech fans should be overjoyed Tuberville is gone. Kingsbury will be 10 x better. 
Reasonable expectations FTW.

As for Cincinnati, the expectations are more reasonable and will probably be met since Tuberville is a good (not great but good) coach. He went 25-20 at Ole Miss, 85-40 (!) at Auburn and 20-17 at Texas Tech, and relative to the rest of the Big East, Cincy at this point is closer to Auburn than it is to Ole Miss/Texas Tech/mediocrity-is-inevitable tier. And it's probably pretty sweet to be like "BOOM GOT YOUR COACH" after a decade of identifying/acquiring unknown-but-excellent coaches who then got "BOOM GOT YOUR COACH'D" away. Tuberville might be gone in three years, but if he is, it probably won't be for a preferable job since he'll be 62 by the time the 2016 season rolls around. I don't think he'll be gone in three years.

I mean, it still doesn't make a lot of sense, but nothing makes sense, so whatever.


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