Three and Out - How do players handle three head coaches in 5 years?
1. Miami of Ohio may have named themselves the "Cradle of Coaches", but that title has definitely spread throughout the entire Mid-American Conference. As we stand in 2013, five of the dozen Big Ten head coaches claim MAC roots, plus another handful from the SEC and ACC (and, lest we forget, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is a Central Michigan product as well). The lion's share of those coaches were gone from the MAC to greener pastures in three years or less.
While that's great for coaches' resumes and bank accounts, how do the players left behind handle it?
"It's a player-driven team. We know how to deal with that," Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, preparing to play for a third head coach in five seasons himself, told Grantland.com. "A few players'll get pretty upset, but you've gotta look at the big picture. They come in and help us out, and we're setting up their future. Good coaches deserve to get more attention and go to bigger places."
"It's probably a fact of life," says new NIU head coach Rod Carey. "It's not always one that's pretty. I think what happened when Coach Kill left is that this team, during that time, really took it upon itself to be their team. They knew that coaches help them to get where they want to get, but it's not just about the coach."
2. In case any trivia buffs are doing a count in their heads, here are the MAC-turned-BCS head coaches alluded to above. The jump is not always direct, but it's there.
Brady Hoke, Ball State to Michigan
Urban Meyer, Bowling Green to Ohio State
Darrell Hazell, Kent State to Purdue
Tim Beckman, Toledo to Illinois
Jerry Kill, Northern Illinois to Minnesota
Nick Saban, Toledo to Alabama
Butch Jones, Central Michigan to Tennessee
Gary Pinkel, Toledo to Missouri
Al Golden, Temple to Miami
Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois to N.C. State
3. If any one conference has any one bit of smack to hold over the SEC, it's been the Pac-12 and its willingness to play BCS non-conference opponents in home-and-home series. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott made sure to point that out at his league's media day on Friday. But is it true?
Jon Solomon of AL.com ran the numbers and, yes, Scott's boasts have merit. According to Solomon's numbers, since 2006 nearly half (44 percent) of the Pac-12's non-conference opponents have come from BCS conferences. The ACC was a close second at 42 percent. The Big Ten (31 percent), SEC (30 percent) and Big 12 (28 percent) lagged well behind. Of course, the retort here is that Pac-12 schools have to bring in name opponents, otherwise their fans won't show up. In the SEC, they love their teams enough they'd fill the stadium to watch them pummel a local 7th grade team into the turf.
Pac-12 teams have also been more willing to go on the road, playing in opposing team's stadiums 32 percent of the time. That's ahead of the ACC (29 percent), Big 12 (25 percent), Big Ten (21 percent) and SEC (17 percent). But that's partly because if the Pac-12 doesn't leave the West Coast, it's teams won't get talked about beyond the West Coast.
As with any long-running argument, the truth is always somewhere in between.