Everybody loves brackets and we all have opinions on the search for the next great coach to lead our Golden Gophers. Well it is time that you all have a say in the matter (and by having a say I mean pushing a button on the internet as an anonymous lurker and the results of said button pushing will have absolutely no bearing on the actual outcome of the coaching search). It is time for the voting to start and Gopher Nation to be allowed to speak.
Head coach vs. former head coach. Young guy vs. old guy. You decide
Current Position: Temple (HC)
TDG Candidate Profile
Why? -Of all the coaches in this bracket, Golden took program that was in the worst shape and has made it into a winner. In the 20 seasons before Golden arrived Owl fans endure 13 seasons of 2 wins or fewer! 13 seasons of two wins or fewer! Only one season in that 20 year span was a winning season, all the rest (19 / 20) were four wins or fewer; mostly fewer. That was one of the worst programs in the country. Golden's first season was a 1-11 campaign but since then it has been a steady increase in wins each season. 4 wins, 5 wins, 9 wins (the program's best record since 1979) and this year he has the Owls at 8-2 with two games remaining. That is the first back-to-back winning seasons since 1978-79. Impressive.
Golden meets all of the criteria that I believe we all want out of our next coach. He is a former Big Ten player, he has extensive experience as a coordinator (defensive) at a BCS school and he has proven he can win in a challenging situation. And from a recruiting perspective Golden has succeeded at finding guys who fits his system (regardless of star rating) and then he teaches them how to play football puts them in position to succeed. I see no reason why he would not be a great fit if Al Golden were to become a Golden Gopher.
Why Not? -Overall record is a losing record as a head coach. His 1-11 season to start his career sticks out and makes it tough to get back over that .500 mark. That doesn't concern me as much considering he quickly increased the win total from 1 to 9 in just his fourth year. What may cause more concern is that he turned around a program in the MAC, which isn't exactly the Big Ten. It is competitive but his Temple turnaround doesn't necessarily mean he'll be able to come here and have us competing with Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, etc. This ain't the MAC.
The other major concern is that this is not a destination job for Golden. The former Nittany Lion may very well leave us in short order if / when Joe Paterno ever retires. Not ideal for Gopher fans to have another Lou Holtz situation.
Current Position: Florida Defensive Line coach, former Iowa State (HC)
TDG Candidate Profile
Why? - After struggling for a few years, McCarney took Iowa State to five bowl games in six seasons. That is an impressive run for the Cyclones. Better yet he beat Iowa five times. It should also be noted that McCarney has been a very successful defensive coach. He is a key for the Gator defense and was snatched up by Urban Meyer after watching McCarney work some defensive magic at South Florida. Finally he fits because he probably fits in the eyes of Joel Maturi. McCarney is a former Badger coach who has the endorsement of Barry Alvarez. That might be enough for Maturi to hire sight unseen.
Why Not? -McCarney isn't a spring chicken and there is some consternation about hiring a guy who is 57. It took McCarney a good five seasons before he turned Iowa State into a winning program. That puts him well into his 60s. And really do any of us, or does the administration have the patience to wait for McCarney to turn this program around in five seasons? Not a very exciting pick but if the top of the list says no we may end up getting down to McCarney.