If you were with us over the past couple of days, you’re to be commended. Thursday was as wild as it gets. Let’s run it down:
- We wake up to the continued Mario Cristobal vs Kevin Steele faction wars.
- Oregon BOT meeting set for high noon, at which point they’ll vote on a new contract for Cristobal.
- It’s unanimously approved at the BOT meeting about 12 minutes into the discussion.
- Oregon football tweets out that Cristobal has been extended.
- It comes out that BOBBY LOWDER was the secret knife in the dark pushing Kevin Steele over the last couple of years.
- Auburn Twitter explodes.
As it stands now, we’re a week out from Christmas, so sit back, load up FlightTracker, pour an eggnog, and have a good time. Auburn will be going to a bowl game at some point, where Kevin Steele will ostensibly be the head coach, but we don’t know when or where. We also have no idea who’s actually on the shortlist right now aside from the names bandied about on the internet. They are:
- Kevin Steele - current Auburn defensive coordinator/interim head coach
- Billy Napier - current ULL head coach
- Tony Elliott - current Clemson offensive coordinator
- Steve Sarkisian - current Alabama offensive coordinator
- Lane Kiffin - current Ole Miss head coach
I’m sure there are more, and probably someone that hasn’t been suggested online, but we’ll see. The search committee put together will have some work ahead of them, but the longer this goes on, it’ll be more apparent that we’re pulling a Tennessee from a couple seasons ago. Gross.
UPDATE: Apparently there’s a more defined list of who’s going to get interviews in this one, and it includes three of the names above in Steele, Napier, and Sarkisian. Other names that are in the evaluation mix include Elliott, Bill Clark, Brent Venables, and a couple of coaches who have expressed interested in the job.
As far as timeline on where interviews may fall, here are probably the earliest possible slots for each candidate:
- Kevin Steele - as soon as possible, he may have already formally interviewed
- Billy Napier - since ULL has had their Sun Belt title game against Coastal Carolina canceled, Napier could ostensibly interview over the weekend or early next week
- Tony Elliott - Clemson plays Notre Dame Saturday afternoon/evening in a huge ACC Championship Game, so Elliott could be interviewed as early as Sunday, but likely early next week if he earns an official chat
- Steve Sarkisian - same as above with Elliott, Alabama plays Florida Saturday night, so Sark could be interviewed as early as Sunday, or sometime early next week.
Something interesting to note is that both of the previous coaching hires with Malzahn and Chizik lasted exactly ten days apiece. That would land us at Wednesday the 23rd for a hire if we followed the same timeline.
UPDATE: Like we said above, here’s a report of Sark getting an interview as soon as possible after Alabama plays in the SEC Championship.
Now, this would be a massive conflict of interest, obviously. Do the Auburn powers that be say the job is yours if you leave Bama now? I feel like Scott Loeffler could post 45 points with the Tide talent right now, but you definitely don’t want you future head coach helping add to the toughness of his future job by winning Bama another title. I have no idea how Sark would do on the recruiting trail (that’s an AUNerd question), and his previous coaching stops as the head man were rather pedestrian. At Washington, he was 5-7 his first year, then 7-6 the next three seasons, before going 8-4 and bolting for USC. After going 9-4 his first year, and then 3-2 by mid-October, he was terminated based on alcohol-related incidents. It’s a tough look. People can heal and turn a corner, but that’ll always be something in the back of your mind when you’re thinking of hiring him.