It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
This tale is of two cities quite different than London and Paris: State College, Pennsylvania and Eugene, Oregon.
Nittany Lion nation is exhaling right now with the news that Bill O’Brien is staying put at Penn State. "I'm not a one-and-done guy," O'Brien says. Maybe he's not, but will he be two-and done or maybe three?
His interview with the Cleveland Browns has to make the Lion nation a bit nervous. O’Brien did a tremendous job coaching Penn State to eight wins this year when most thought half of that would be a reasonable expectation.
No one knows what the future holds, but the rebuilding process in State College will take a serious hit if recruits aren’t sure of O’Brien’s future.
Across the country, while Duck nation is celebrating last night’s win over Kansas State, it’s also holding its breath over its coach’s future. For them, this won’t turn out so well.
Oregon has had great success under Chip Kelly, playing for one BCS Championship with every expectation of more to come.
That has led to Kelly to being the hottest name for NFL teams with openings, with the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles all expecting to talk to Kelly over the next few days.
I don’t think for one second that he will be back in Eugene.
This tale deals with its own version of aristocrats in millionaire college football coaches and its own version of peasants in 17-year-old high school football players making the most important decisions yet in their young lives.
“Are you going to stay to coach me, Coach?”
That question needs to be asked in living rooms across the country as part of each 17-year-old’s due diligence in making the right decision. Let’s not kid anyone here. If either Bill O’Brien or Chip Kelly are sitting in your living room, you’re making plans for the NFL.
This is a tough business, this one of college recruiting—a multi-million dollar business. This isn’t like my kids or your kids deciding which college to go to. There’s a whole lot riding on this.
While neither my kids or your kids decide on a school because of a professor, these kids do decide in large part because of the coach. Let’s get back to the question I asked earlier.
How is a coach supposed to answer the question, “Are you going to be here my entire career?"
While there’s no good answer to that question, blowing it off as then Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville did is not recommended.
In response to the question from a recruit at a dinner, Tuberville excused himself and never returned to the table. The next day he left Texas Tech for Cincinnati.
I don’t know what the answer is here. While I refer to these young men as peasants, the reality is that they are not naïve. If you are being recruited by major colleges, you should know the game and how it’s played.
There are no guarantees in the cutthroat world of big-time college sports—none. All these kids can do is keep their self-interests in mind, and do what’s best for them.
After all, that’s what the aristocrats do.
Follow me on Twitter @sprtsramblngman.
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