Michigan can get a new Carr with Les Miles

I am a man without a football coach. Despite having waited six years without a single day on which Duke, Georgia Tech, and Michigan all won a football game (thank you so much, 2003 Oregon Beavers!) all three schools have finally synchronized their football teams with respect to coaches. Currently, they have none.

As was reported far and wide, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr retired after his fifth straight loss to Jim Tressel and Ohio State. This was not much of a surprise, since it was believed he returned, along with Michigan’s star quarterback, running back and offensive lineman, to make a run at a national title. That attempt imploded before it even began. Still he compiled an outstanding record, went a respectable 11-14 against top ten teams, won 75% of his games, and a national title. And speaking of top ten, the Detroit Free Press not only compiled a list of Carr’s ten greatest victories, but also his ten greatest losses. You’ve got to love sports media… Finally, since Carr started the same year I did at Michigan, I’ve never followed Michigan football without him.

As was reported throughout the greater Atlanta area (and CNN, though the two aren’t exactly mutually exclusive), Georgia Tech fired “former Dolphin’s coach Chan Gailey”. I call him “former Dolphin’s coach Chan Gailey” because I almost never saw him referred to as anything else. Since he never seemed to do anything distinctive at Georgia Tech whatsoever, I guess that was the only moniker sports writers could think of. At any rate, character-wise he was a step up from Notre Dame coach for a day George O’Leary, but in terms of coaching he lost at least five games every season and not once beat Tech’s only rival, Gerogia.

As was minimally reported and scantly noted, some time after Duke blew a fourth quarter lead to lose to North Carolina in a game that wasn’t even televised in the Triangle, Duke coach Ted Roof was fired. Ted Roof was brought to Duke from Georgia Tech after hitching his wagon to Notre Dame-bound O’Leary (the same season we also hired the special teams coach away from the only team Duke beat that year). And while he didn’t save as many people from sinking cars as his predecessor Carl Franks, he at least remembered to put the defense on the field whenever relevant (something Franks didn’t always manage). Still, with only six wins in four-and-a-half seasons, you would hope Duke could do better.

As far as replacements go, all the excitement is for Michigan grad Les Miles. He some ways he is the anti-Carr — a (fourth down) gambling man more concerned with what his team can do than what his team allows their opponents to do — but he’s also a seemingly good recruiter (a bit hard to tell since he has not been at Louisiana State very long) and a decent winner. Certainly there are no sure things in college football, but I think he’s a good choice for two reasons: he seems like a sure thing in terms of enterainment value (win or lose) and he seems to like the Michigan mythology.

As for Georgia Tech and Duke, I think both schools should look to grab good coaches who have left other, pressure-cooker positions. For instance, I think either school would do well to take Jeff Bower. t seems to me that it would not be worth gambling on an NFL coach since so few seem to make the transition to coaching kids well. I particularly think Duke has put the right players into place to win a decent number of games a season, so a veteran coach might have some immediate success. I don’t think Duke can afford to gamble on a new guy, though Georgia Tech probably can (a better bet might be Cal’s Tedford, who’s also been suggested as a Carr replacement). But, who knows? Maybe Carr will end up at Duke. If he wins 75% there, he’ll be a hall of famer.

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14 Responses to Michigan can get a new Carr with Les Miles

  1. brianbunton says:

    Rumors are that Rick Neuheisel is being considered at GT, and–stop the presses–the Ol’ Ball Coach himself, Steve Spurrier, was seen on Duke’s campus.

  2. jwambaugh says:

    It seems like South Carolina has been doing so well with Spurrier there, I’d be surprised he’d walk away from that unless he wanted a semi-retirement at Duke.

    As for Neuheisel, I’d think that the last thing he’d need would be a coaching job in a basketball conference. But seriously, he’d be a great choice.

  3. brianbunton says:

    A story a couple of hours ago says that Spurrier was recruiting in the Triangle and just stopped by to say hello to Joe Alleva.
    Personally, I like having Spurrier as a bad guy in my life. I don’t think I’d want that to change.

  4. brianbunton says:

    Les Miles had an angry press conference today to say that he was no way, no how leaving LSU to go to Michigan. To me, that just confirms that he’s got one foot out the door. See: Saban, Nick.

  5. jwambaugh says:

    I’m kinda frustrated by the way the story has unfolded. What is any coach going to say in that situation? Especially when Michigan and LSU had gone to the trouble of post-poning discussions until after the championship game. It just goes to show how stupid sports reporters are again — why ask if there’s only one answer that any decent person would give? “Unfortunately,” Miles seems like a decent enough guy and will probably stick by his word. But who knows, it’s not like he couldn’t “give a shit about North Carolina.”

  6. bpt2 says:

    I think Alleva had even gone so far to say that Spurrier would be one of the first people he’d consult when looking for potential hires. The Ol’ Ball Coach was probably just giving his two cents. He did, after all, recommend Carl Franks, who’d been one of his position coaches.

  7. bmarts says:

    I don’t understand the timing of any of this. Why does Carr retire with one game still left to coach? Why does Michigan request permission from LSU to talk to Miles before LSU finishes their season? How the heck is Illinois in a BCS bowl? and why can’t we have 2 rounds of bowl games.. you know, like some kind of series of games to determine a championship.

  8. jwambaugh says:

    The only one that I can explain is Illinois — they are as good as any of the other BCS teams and the Rose Bowl liekly believes it will sell more tickets by going with a traditional Big Ten-Pac Ten game. As for the Miles SNAFU, all I can guess is that Michigan figured that other teams might also be in the market for him and wanted to make it clear that they were interested.

  9. bmarts says:

    I would have chosen Florida over Illinois, but it’s not my job. Missouri would be another good pick. It’s hard to imagine going from #1 to no BCS bowl for losing to a team you’ve already lost to this year, Missouri is practically a one loss team.

    Yeah, I can see how Michigan would be worried that Miles would sign a contract with another team some time in December… I actually agree that the bulk of this problem stems from your original beef that the media over covers these things.

  10. jwambaugh says:

    I like your effective one loss theory for Missouri, but my guess is that the “thinking” actually goes the other way — people are willing to excuse losing to a team, or even two teams as a fluke, especially if you’re LSU and you lost in triple overtime both times. But losing to the same team twice makes it clear that a team is not as good assome other team. Kansas, on the other hand, only has the one loss and I’m sure there are a plethora of theories as to why that loss wasn’t meaningful. Until demonstrated otherwise, people can get all excited about how Kansas might be national champion if not for some little thing…

    There’s also the issue of which teams will draw the bigger crowds and television ratings. Missouri may not be considered the same drawing power as Kansas.

  11. jwambaugh says:

    By the way, Clemson-Auburn in Atlanta… I wish I had me some Peach Bowl tickets, those will be selling like gangbusters!

  12. bmarts says:

    I certainly wouldn’t replace Kansas with Missouri. But I would put Missouri over Illinois, who has 3 losses, one of them to Missouri (and one to Iowa).

    If we’re allowed to make excuses for fluke losses, than VT’s only loss is to #1 LSU (the revenge blow out of BC erases their other loss). Certainly they deserve to be in the championship! 😉

  13. jwambaugh says:

    I hadn’t realized that Illinois had three losses. That is a reach.

    PS: Brian does have tickets for the Peach Bowl, right?

  14. brianbunton says:

    Florida was not eligible for a BCS bowl. It was in the Top 14 in the final ranking, yes, but there is a two-team-per-conference limit on the BCS. LSU was automatic, and I can’t see taking Florida over Georgia.
    But screwing the rules… yeah, I’d rather see Florida in the BCS.

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