Today's SN column talks a bunch about the Auburn coaching job, but I wanted to expand on that here. We talk a lot here about what college football jobs are "top" -- there is general agreement that there is at least a top tier: Texas, USC, Florida, Ohio State... and probably a 2nd tier: Oklahoma, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame.
Where do you rank Auburn? It's an interesting job, because the fans -- perhaps rightfully, perhaps delusionally -- consider themselves a top tier program, a BCS-worthy school that can and should compete for SEC titles every year. Hell, as recently as '04, they should have been national champs.
But I think there's a perception issue that it's not a top-tier job. It's not even the best job in its own state, which is generally a pretty big indicator you aren't a top-tier job. And the SEC coaching arms race is brutal. On the other hand, at Auburn, you should be a Top 20 team every year, with the quadrennial opportunity to be an SEC-title contender.
Is that enticing enough -- along with what would likely be gobs of cash -- to import Mike Leach, arguably the hottest available name in CFB coaching? Is that a job Leach should take? Is Washington better? (Lower expectations, certainly.) If he waited for next year, would a 1st or 2nd tier job come open -- would it even go to him?
If he wants to test his theories, the Big 12 is a nice lab -- the defense is so uniformly mediocre, he can try all sorts of things. Moving to the SEC would put him against much tougher defenses, but then again, that doesn't seem to be stopping Urban Meyer. I'll be Meyer's success has Leach thinking twice about the Auburn job -- I think the eclectic curious-minded foudation of the man has him intrigued about resprouting his system in a new place.
There's a bunch more in the column today -- about how it might be time to take UNC more seriously as a title contender (I'm a doubter, of course), about how Sean Avery doesn't mean his apology, about how I can't quite trust the Giants or the NFL in the Burress thing.
More later. Big day tomorrow -- getting ready for Bama-Florida.