With Tyrone Willingham almost surely out as the head coach of the Washington Huskies in the immediate future, the question rises not if, but when and who the next coach of the Huskies will be.
Down in Columbia, Mo., a prime candidate resides. Missouri Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel coached for the Huskies for 12 years, so he is familiar with the territory up north, and also credits former U-Dub coach Don James as having a huge influence on him.
So is Pinkel destined for more money and less stiff competition in the Pac-10?
Pinkel received a raise last season after the Tigers initial rise to national contender, and should receive an even bigger payday after this year, especially if the Tigers get a BCS bid. Mizzou athletic director Mike Alden has had his share of shady and stupid head coaches, and he knows what he's got in Pinkel. Look for Pinkel to become one of the higher-paid coaches in the Big 12 in 2009.
Pinkel is happy in Columbia. He's got numerous charities that he's associated with, the student body and alumni love him, and he's built strong pipelines to St. Louis and Texas in his tenure with the Tigers.
Lastly, the facilities in Missouri are top-notch and have been constructed under Pinkel, while Washington is actually about to undergo extreme renovations to its athletic complexes.
There are essentially no reasons for Pinkel to jet to the northwest other than money and easier competition. But does he really want to reset his whole recruiting mindset in the competitive northwest, where the California schools and Oregon have reigned supreme?
I can't see him leaving. In the past, maybe, but at this point there isn't a situation that looks any sweeter then the one that he's got in Columbia. Don't worry, Tiger fans, Pinkel isn't going anywhere.