Heard someone say "silly season" in college football is upon us.
Looks like that's the case.
Seems some folks sincerely believed there was a snowball's chance Les Miles would end up at Arkansas. Yeah, pretty silly.
Miles, the LSU head coach, told reporters he had "very preliminary" conversations with Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long about the Razorbacks' head coach opening.
Yeah, "very preliminary," as in: "I'll talk to you long enough to get my athletic director's attention."
Miles' "very preliminary" conversations with Arkansas evidently were enough to snap LSU's administration into action. LSU announced Wednesday that Miles would get a raise and contract extension after the bowl game.
No question, the coaching carousel can become a very silly game. But it's not necessarily silly for athletic directors (just ask Tom Osborne). And there's nothing silly about the money involved. Miles, 85-20 in eight seasons at LSU, makes about $3.751 million per season under his current contract. His next deal will top the $4 million mark annually.
During "silly season," fans' minds tend to wander. Once reports surfaced that Arkansas may be talking to Miles, my cell phone started buzzing. The predictable question: Would Nebraska fifth-year coach Bo Pelini bolt to LSU if Miles were to leave?
Some Husker fans' fickleness reveals itself during "silly season." They grouse about Pelini throughout the season, but worry themselves silly over the possibility of him leaving.
"Silly season" is fun and games to many folks until they consider what can happen to their favorite program if the head coach leaves and the next one (or two, or three) is a bad fit.
Nebraska fans know all too well what can happen, but their knowledge isn't as profound as that of Oklahoma fans.
Sooner faithful learned the hard way in the mid-1990s when the stadium stopped filling up and the athletic department had to borrow more than $10 million from the university's general budget.
Such a scenario wouldn't fly at Nebraska, Osborne told me this week.
Meanwhile, Arkansas' hunt for a head coach continues. Would the Razorbacks look Pelini's way? Would Auburn? Tennessee? It's all silly speculation, that is until someone from one of those schools makes an overture, or even starts a rumor.
Then stuff gets serious quickly. Then perhaps that $150 million in the NU Foundation earmarked for athletics comes into play.
Yeah, coaches in high-profile programs make some serious money. But stop and consider the ramifications of Nebraska suffering through what Alabama did from 1997-2007: The Tide reached double digits in wins only three times, endured four losing seasons, four years without a bowl game, lost to Auburn six straight years and went to the Independence Bowl three times.
Nothing silly about any of that.
4: The number of times this season Nebraska has come back in the second half from a double-digit deficit. According to STATS LLC, not only does that lead the nation, but represents one of only four times since 1996 that an FBS team has had as many as four such comebacks in a season. The others:
North Carolina State, 2000 — 6
Arkansas, 2008 — 4
UCLA, 2005 — 4
Thumbs up, down
Thumbs up to Notre Dame fans. Irish officials reportedly have received more than 100,000 ticket requests for the BCS national championship game (the school is allotted 17,000 tickets, each with a $350 face value). The Notre Dame brand's strength endures.
Thumbs down to the college football establishment. One out of 41 black head coaches in the FBS since 1979 has been given a second chance (Tyrone Willingham). That's flat-out shameful. Offensive to the senses. Don't even try to spin it otherwise.