Florida State Football: Why 2012 Is Likely Mark Stoops' Last Season at FSU
The Stoops brothers are really extraordinary. Everyone knows how Bob resurrected the Oklahoma Sooners in 2000, and while his exit was bumpy, Mike Stoops left Arizona as a truly Pac-12 brand program. Mark, well, he is the defensive coordinator for Florida State. And while he hasn't had the success of his older brothers, nothing suggests he is not currently on the path to stardom.
FSU finished fourth in scoring defense last year, and the defense will hopefully keep under a dozen opponents in the hospital. Mark should be proud of that, and I said last year that he would return to his Ohio roots and take over at Ohio State after the Jim Tressel 'Tattoogate' affair. Unfortunately, I underestimated the amount of time it would take for Urban Meyer to exit from his retirement.
Jimbo Fisher is going to take FSU back to the BCS next year, but Mark Stoops won't trek the Tallahassee sidelines in 2013. Other programs are going to wake up and smell the coffee. Only two programs will truly vie for his services, but only one is likely to get him.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has the program on the right track, but whether Notre Dame can turn winning seasons into national championships has yet to be seen.
However, problem players like Tommy Rees and his tendency to have his head turn purple have not affected his job status. Rees and the Notre Dame offense did not click well last year, and Michigan has pulled two comebacks against the Fighting Irish over the past two years (a la Denard Robinson).
Personally, I believe Kelly will stay at Notre Dame and bring the program back to prominence by 2015, but one cannot deny a job like this would entice Mark Stoops. Notre Dame has a schedule that could lead to a losing record, and cost Kelly his job. Considering that he would be recruiting in his homeland—Big Ten territory—and his Catholic background, Stoops would be a big name that would keep recruits coming to South Bend.
The more likely scenario, however, is the latter.
Arkansas seemed to have finally returned to the success of the Frank Broyles years under Bobby Petrino. The Razorbacks have gone 21-5 over the past two seasons, but their mastermind offensive head coach was fired after violating university conduct in a sexual affair. John L. Smith was the best grab Arkansas could get, and he has a solid resume. But the man is in his 60s, and is not a long-term solution.
Why would Mark want to go here? Well, there's the obvious. Arkansas is a blossoming program in the SEC West, the toughest division in college football. In addition, Stoops will recruit against teams he has already had to, such as LSU and Alabama. And finally, Arkansas needs the defensive help. LSU and Alabama overwhelmed Petrino's defense by a combined 79-31 score. The Razorbacks need defensive help to suit their powerful Pro Style offense, and they need the best of defensive minds to close the gap with the Tigers and Crimson Tide.
Expect to see Stoops on the Fayetteville sideline in 2013—you heard it here first.