(NOTE FROM JAMIE: I originally wrote this last year, but I'll keep tweaking it and reposting it until dumb things stop happening in the coaching carousel, which will never happen.)
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. New Mexico pre-emptively hires Bob Davie. You know, to make sure they don't miss out on such a hot coaching commodity.
2. Wiseasses on Twitter start making #RonP4 jokes about an embattled coach as his team enters the death spiral.
3. 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."
4. 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. This keeps readers more or less informed, but also gives them a piece of the action with blog hits, Twitter followers, or personal publicity in case they, too, are looking for a new job.
a. Some reporters actually do try and verify rumors, but it also means they aren't first with the story because they are actually interested in doing good work. In our current shoot-first-ask-questions-later media environment, being first is at least as important as being right.
5. Coach is actually fired.
6. Everyone and their brother draws up a wish list of potential replacements and publishes them, no matter how ridiculous they are.
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 4.
8. ESPN's Joe Schad reports that the coach may be in trouble if he doesn't turn it around soon.
9. Everyone on the list of replacements who is currently employed is then contacted and forced to deny they are interested. The statements will be parsed to within an inch of their lives, and no one will believe them anyway because everyone has been 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 "THE HELL WITH (NAME OF SCHOOL) AND THEIR PATHETIC JOB" to convince everyone that you are really not interested.
b. I hope someone does this. My money is on Paul Johnson, or maybe James Franklin.
10. Rumors begin that coaches are being interviewed for the vacant job.
11. See Step 4.
12. See Step 9.
13. Boston College fires their coach for interviewing for the vacant job.
14. Crazy message-board fans with far too much free time start tracking planes on FlightAware to see if their favored candidate is on a plane to their school's city.
a. Reporters are then dispatched to the airport to see if that candidate is on the plane. Then when the candidate isn't there, they talk to whoever was on the plane anyway, since they're there and all.
15. 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.
16. See Step 4.
17. See Step 9.
18. See Step 13 if any of the assistants are currently at Boston College, or under the employ of Jim Leavitt.
19. The school announces a press conference to introduce their new coach.
20. Coach is introduced, press conference is held.
21. If the coach had been the head coach at another school, they are branded a hypocrite and a weasel by Gregg Easterbrook and other CLOWNFRAUD columnists, regardless of how well or badly the coach handled their departure.
a. Everyone pretends that they wouldn't have done the same thing if they were asked to interview for a better, higher-paying, more prestigious job.
22. Bill Stewart starts undermining the new hire to his buddies in the press.
23. ESPN's Joe Schad reports that the school has narrowed its list of candidates down to a handful of finalists, including Jon Gruden.