To help you get through the dumbest part of any college football season, here is our cynic's guide to the annual coaching carousel.
1. Wiseasses on Twitter start making #RonP4 jokes about an embattled coach as his team enters the death spiral.
2. Coach is rumored to be fired. Rumors range in strength from "airtight reporter, airtight sources, this will absolutely happen" to "they totally made it up".
3. Other reporters, instead of trying to confirm or deny the rumor, simply pass it along by saying "it's being reported that" blah blah blah. In theory it's for their readers' information, but it's also to prop up their pageviews/followers/ratings, plus it's a nice way to get themselves into the story in case someone notices them for another job down the road.
a. Some reporters actually do try and verify rumors, but it also means they aren't first with the story because they dare to give a damn about doing a good job. In our current shoot-first-ask-questions-later media environment, being first is at least as important as being right.
4. Coach is actually fired.
5. ESPN's Joe Schad steals the credit for reporting that the coach has been fired.
6. Everyone and their brother draws up a wish list of potential replacements and publishes them with no concern as to whether they are realistic or not.
a. Bob Stoops will be on this list even though he has a top-10 team almost every year and there is absolutely no reason for him to ever leave Oklahoma.
b. Jon Gruden will also be on this list even though he hasn't coached any college football in 20 years, his offense is insanely complicated, and we all saw what Bill Callahan's tenure at Nebraska was like with mostly the same playbook. Oh yeah, and right now THIS GUY is already getting two paychecks (from the Bucs and from ESPN) and would have to take a massive pay cut to return to coaching.
7. See Step 3.
8. ESPN's Joe Schad steals the credit for reporting the team's wish list.
9. Everyone on the list of replacements who is currently employed is then contacted and forced to deny they are interested. No one will believe these denials because somewhere along the line we became conditioned to think that every football coach in the world is a complete scum bucket.
a. I mean you would basically have to put out a statement that says "FUCK (SO AND SO SCHOOL) AND THEIR SHITTY-ASS JOB" to convince everyone that you are really not interested.
b. I hope someone does this. My money is on Paul Johnson.
10. Rumors begin that coaches are being interviewed for the vacant job.
11. See Step 3.
12. See Step 9.
13. Boston College fires their coach for interviewing for the vacant job.
14. Rumors begin that a coach has been chosen. This rumor can include random salary numbers, possibly made-up buyout clause information, or wild speculation about which assistants they will bring with them.
15. See Step 3.
16. See Step 9.
17. See Step 13 if any of the assistants are currently at Boston College, or under the employ of Jim Leavitt.
18. The school announces a press conference to introduce their new coach.
19. ESPN's Joe Schad steals the credit for reporting the new coach.
20. Coach is introduced, press conference is held.
21. If the coach was previous the head coach at another school, they are branded a weasel by Gregg Easterbrook and other holier-than-thou columnists, regardless of how well or badly they handled their departure.
a. All involved ignore the fact that nearly anyone in any profession would do the same thing this coach did if they were contacted about a better job.
22. Lane Kiffin does something so stupid and outrageous that it ends up justifying every single thing in this guide.