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.
The first matchup was much closer than I anticipated. Neither candidate is all that appealing to Gopher Nation (I know cause I have my finger on the pulse!). Due to unforeseen circumstances we've had to adjust the bracket and drop Phil Fulmer from the contest. I know that some on my board have a very slim chance of getting hired (cough Mike Leach) but when they withdraw their name then they have a zero % chance. So I'm replacing Fulmer with Buck's candidate profile of Erin Andrews.
Time for the second play-in game which is a battle of ESPN employees.
(Ed NOTE: I realize Bellotti's name is spelled wrong on the bracket, I'll fix for the next round.)
Current Position: ESPN Analyst, former Oregon HC
TDG Candidate Profile
Why? - The Oregon Ducks hadn't had a head coach who finished his career with a winning record since Len Casanova (1951-66), until Mike Bellotti came along. He won at Oregon piggy-backing on Rich Brook's 1994 Rose Bowl season and took off to have a .678 win % in his 14 years on the job. Eight seasons of finishing in the Pac10's top three and in 2001 the Ducks finished the season ranked #2 in the final BCS standings. The guy has won and we'd love to have a winner. His offenses are high scoring, he's run a BCS caliber team and he has spent plenty of time as an athletic director (maybe he could take Maturi's job too). Mostly he was part of rebuilding a broken program into an elite program. Rich Brooks got the ball rolling and Bellotti took it to another level.
Bellotti is also known as a coach who develops other coaches. He was incredibly successful as the head coach where he groomed Chip Kelly to eventually take over the program. Kelly now has the Ducks in prime position to be in the BCS Title game this year. So he may not be your Gopher coach for the next couple decades but even if he doesn't stick around for years to come, maybe he develops his successor and we start to develop some continuity here.
Why Not? -First off, he may not be interested in the job. If he doesn't want to move to Minnesota and deal with recruiting and put his job security in the hands of 18-22 year old kids, then obviously he'll come off the board. Secondly he isn't young and hungry anymore. He stepped away from coaching to move into an administrative role as Oregon's AD. There is no guarantee that he wants to put the headset back on and coach again. The job is grueling and demanding, not an ideal position for someone who is going to be 60 in a couple months. And even if he wants the job how long would he really stick around. This is not a one or two year rebuilding job. This may take several years and who knows how much patience he would have.
Current Position: ABC/ESPN Sideline Reporter, Dancing with the Stars alumn
TDG Candidate Profile
Why? - Do I even need to answer this question? She'd make Minnesota an instant national favorite and ticket sales would go through the roof. The athletic department would be wise to hire her. We'd rake in the money in endorsements and season tickets. And then soon the recruits would follow. Tell me a high school recruit who would rather go play for Mack Brown instead of Erin Andrews, it isn't even a fair contest.
Why Not? - She does have just as much coordinator and head coaching experience as Tim Brewster did when he was hired, but that doesn't mean she has any experience whatsoever. I'm sure when she gets interviewed she'd have to lay out her plan to hire a talented staff. We've often discussed if other head coaches would leave their school for Minnesota. The question we ask, "is this a better job than University X?" Well is this a better job than Dancing With the Stars? Is this is a better job than ESPN sideline reporter? I'm not sure it is for that is for Ms. Andrews to decide.
(I should probably tell you that Erin Andrews will not under any circumstances move on to the round of 8. Vote away but if I leave her in, she'll win and completely defeat the purpose of this exercise. If I want to create a bracket where Erin Andrews will walk through to the championship I can do that in the offseason)