Today, the University of Miami inexcusably lost to UVA. That's right—the same UVA team that boasted one win against a Division I team all season (and even that was against a 1-7 Eastern Michigan team).
The same UVA that was allowing over 200 yards/game...ON THE GROUND! The same team that was winless in the ACC, not coming within single digits in their first three tries. But there were the Canes, the cure-all for lesser opponents. Don't worry—if you were looking on the sideline, you couldn't tell if Randy Shannon had just won the lottery or was told his dog died. And that's the problem—Randy Shannon has no emotions.
Yes, the Canes lost QB Jacory Harris, and were already missing backup AJ Highsmith. But that doesn't explain 24 unanswered points by a Virginia offense which had scored 45 points COMBINED in their first three ACC matchups. That doesn't explain how a team that averages 139 yards/game on the ground racked up 185 against a "vaunted" Miami defense. Simply put, it doesn't explain much.
Randy Shannon was on the hot seat before last week's big win against UNC. That seat is burning hot now. Here's a look at five possible replacements if Shannon is shown the door at the end of the season.
Yes—it's an EXTREME LONG SHOT. But Chucky has coached and had great success in Florida before. He's currently enjoying life as an analyst, but he's not known as a guy to play it by the book. He's already being linked to the Cowboys, but does he really want to work for Jerry Jones, and a suddenly crumbling team?
In terms of money, Miami would have to pay up the wazoo for a guy of Gruden's caliber. But Gruden is a winner, and will certainly have a lot more emotion than Shannon.
I mean, could you imagine being recruited by Jon Gruden? He'd be an excellent recruiter, and would put UM back on the map again.
And joining Miami wouldn't shut the door on Gruden's NFL coaching-career. Look at the list of former UM coaches, and look at what happened once they left the school.
Jimmy Johnson won Super Bowls with the....you guessed it...Dallas Cowboys. Dennis Erickson and Butch Davis both went to the NFL to become head coaches. Even Howard Schnellenberger only left the U at the opportunity to head up a USFL team (which was being formed at the time).
Another long shot, but not as long as it may seem. The UNC head coach is dealing with a very difficult season, as he's lost many of his top players after they were linked with sports agents and accepting money. UNC—a school noted for its clean record—has not yet dismissed Davis, but it's certainly a possibility that he's shown the door once the season concludes.
Davis and Miami are a match made in heaven. One of the best coaches in all of college football, Davis single-handedly saved the U after the Dennis Erickson years, and put in place the dominant teams...only to watch Larry Coker bungle it.
Davis is an incredible recruiter, with a storied past at the U. Fans and alumni would certainly applaud the pick, as would many former players who have complained about Shannon pushing them away for the program.
Barrow would make sense for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one would be to offset the financial repercussions of a Shannon buy-out.
No, Barrow has no head coaching experience. But he's a former player, and a current coach for the Canes. The defense has carried the Canes all year, and Barrow should be given some credit for it.
In terms of recruiting, it would help maintain some of the continuity from the Shannon era, meaning the Canes shouldn't expect to lose a plethora of players a la Tennessee when Kiffin jumped ship. On top of that, Barrow is from Homestead, FL and even coached at the school before leaving to join the Canes, boding well for his chances to recruit well in the talent-rich state of Florida.
Barrow would be relatively cheap, especially when compared to the first two options, and would have a lot more emotion than Shannon. Like Butch, he'd be a favorite amongst former players. He's definitely a wild-card option, but as the defense—especially the linebackers—continue to play well, don't be surprised to hear Barrow's name floated around.
The current defensive coordinator at LSU, and former long-time defensive coordinator at Tennessee during the storied Phil Fulmer years, Chavis is one of the best defensive minds in college football. His defenses have a knack for old-school, hard-nosed football, something that was a staple of former U defenses. On top of that, since he's never been a head coach before, he'd come at a relatively moderate price for such a high-profile program.
The downside: he's never been a head coach. At 54 years old, he's not exactly young, meaning you'd have to wonder if he'd be the long-term answer. But he's certainly a proven defensive coordinator, currently coaching a big-name program.
Oklahoma's offensive coordinator may finally be ready to break into the big time. Wilson, who's headed up the offense since 2006 (though he's been co-offensive coordinator since 2002), is a guy the U should definitely target once the season ends.
He was an offensive line coach from 2002-2005, and would be the perfect guy for No. 1 recruit Seantrel Henderson. Before joining Oklahoma, he was a quarterback coach at Miami (Ohio) and Northwestern, which is important as the Canes need somebody to convince four-star recruit Teddy Bridgewater not to decommit, and to finally get the most of Jacory's potential. At Northwestern, he was an assistant head coach.
Wilson is also familiar with the ACC, playing and serving as a graduate assistant at UNC during the 80's.
As offensive coordinator, he's coached some of the best offenses in the country. He was a finalist for the East Carolina coaching job, meaning he's certainly open to leaving the Sooners if a head coaching opportunity arises. And for an offense that has been inconsistent all year, Wilson would be a great hire.
The final choice is Mark Richt, and of course is contingent on Georgia firing their head coach.
Richt is currently the longest-tenured coach in the SEC, but his Georgia teams have struggled a bit the last two seasons, which may prompt a knee-jerk reaction from UGA.
Richt has overseen some of the best teams in the country since taking over at UGA, consistently recruiting top players. Unlike some of the other choices on this list, Richt is currently a head coach and has years of experience.
On top of that, he has connections to Miami. Richt was a star QB at Boca Raton High School, in Boca Raton, FL, and was a quarterback for the Hurricanes from 1979-1982, playing behind UM and NFL great Jim Kelly.
Before Georgia, Richt was offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Florida State from 1990-2000, and certainly has a lot of recruiting connections in the south.
Michael Perchick is the writer/editor of TheJockosphere, a sports/Twitter site, reporting the top tweets and news directly from athletes. Follow him on Twitter @TheREALPerchick, and at http://thejockosphere.com/.