For those who follow college football, December is generally the wildest month for coaching rumors. 'Tis the season of someone's cousin knowing a booster at some school who overheard a friend who is a realtor working to sell a house to Coach X.
Except in 2013, December is eerily quiet on the coaching-transition landscape. USC and Washington have already made their moves, cutting out the frantic rumor sessions that power the month on the hiring front.
The calm atmosphere isn't just due to the speed of the hires. In terms of volume, 2013 is a year unlike any in recent history.
Last year, there were 31 FBS head-coaching openings that had to be filled, according to College Football Poll. Over each of the past five years, an average of 25.6 teams began their seasons with new head coaches.
In 2013, that number stands at nine.
Nine new FBS jobs is the lowest total available since College Football Poll started tracking coaching changes in 2001. Only three of those spots sit in the coming College Football Playoff's power conferences—the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.
In fact, as it stands now, no Big Ten, Big 12 or SEC teams will start next season with a new head coach. Only Wake Forest in the ACC, as well as USC and Washington in the Pac-12, have made moves.
During the season, a bounty of big-time jobs seemed sure to open, ready to shake up the collegiate landscape. Then, as Bo Pelini and Will Muschamp finished their seasons at Nebraska and Florida, respectively, without being canned, the number of potential vacancies was reduced by two. After Mack Brown wrapped up his campaign a week later by getting bounced around by Baylor, he also wasn't shown the door, eliminating yet another expected move.
With no firings, retirements, or the always-fashionable forced resignations, there are no hirings. Without those essential elements, this December may lack the silliness of years past.
After several seasons of knee-jerk firings, the college football world appears to be hitting a much-needed stage of stability.
It's a stage where kids get to play for the coach who brought them to their school. A stage where schools realize that continuously chewing up and spitting out head coaches makes individuals wary of the job. A stage where coaches appreciate the good thing they have instead of shooting out the door for more money or a bigger program.
Although there will be changes made to coaching staffs at the assistant level, stability at the top goes a long way. After the 2005 season, when only 11 coaches transitioned, things seemed pretty calm. Troubled coaches like Dirk Koetter at Arizona State and Larry Coker at Miami got to keep pushing for another year.
Then, the 2006 season rolled in. Without improvement, Arizona State and Miami joined the 22 other schools looking for a head coach to fill their jobs.
If that trend holds true, Pelini, Muschamp and others could be sitting and spinning for one more season before the plug gets pulled on them. Or, perhaps both Nebraska and Florida will take big strides next season and the fiery coaches will retain their jobs for the long haul.
For 2013, it seems the silliness is over before it truly got started. Barring some extremely late moves, most teams will be prepping for bowl games and the 2014 campaign instead of getting to know a new head coach.
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