Wait. Michigan's official contact with Miles will wait until after the SEC championship game:
"Bill Martin called (LSU AD Skip Bertman) today and asked permission to talk to Coach Miles," Vincent said. "Bertman asked that (the Wolverines) wait until after the SEC championship game. They agreed to that."
That might make a lot of people's hypothetical Monday-Tuesday timeline difficult, if it meant anything. It likely does not. Bertman has a realistic perspective on the situation:
"I don't think anyone would try to speak to Les before the SEC title game, but that doesn't mean they couldn't speak to his agent (George Bass) before the game or at any time," Bertman said by telephone from his home. "There's no reason Bill or anyone else can't use headhunters to speak to Les' agent, but I would not assume that Bill would speak to Les himself without our permission. That doesn't mean he can't speak to other people."
Realistically, at this point Michigan could have hammered out every last detail through intermediaries and this would be a formality. I believe this is the case, as taking the formal step of asking for permission to contact is a public event that can create a PR backlash if the coach in question turns it down.
Bertman's sticking with his promise to let Miles coach LSU in its bowl game, by the way.
Where's the talent? Blue takes on the "Miles is winning with Saban's recruits" argument effectively. Killer graph:
There are some holes in the methodology here, IMO. Recruiting ratings are fallible for a lot of reasons. From a high level perspective each recruit can be viewed as a weighted lottery ticket.
You cash in the best ticket and start him; the others languish. If there's a three star in the starting lineup for LSU he may have beaten out really highly rated guys and is likely to have high value. A three star who starts for Michigan State is probably beating out Jon "Samurai" Misch and is probably not very good at all. The entire roster should be considered.
Also, youth was not taken into account. Steve Schilling might be a five star but he's still a freshman.
Still, the Blue post rhetorically dissects the "it's Saban!" argument with considerable skill. It's worth checking out. My biggest problem with that particular meme is it ignores the Weis effect. Simply stated, the Weis effect: "If Charlie Weis was in charge of developing these players, would they be 'talented'?" Miles has been the head coach at LSU for three years now, which means that even if most of his starters are Saban's recruits, they're Miles' players. And many of them have developed into sure-thing NFL first-rounders despite being meh recruits: Ali Highsmith was a three star. Player development exists, and some coaches are better at it than others.
I mean, God, look at Ohio State's starting defense this year. Laurinaitis and Jenkins were three stars, both starting safeties two-star nobodies, the defensive tackles were pretty meh recruits IIRC, and Larry Grant was an unregarded JUCO transfer. Only the defensive ends and Marcus Freeman were real blue-chip recruits. Every year I write an Ohio State preview and Ohio State fans read it and say "that's pretty good, but you rely way too heavily on recruiting rankings"; this is because I try to use consistent heuristics across the entire conference, one of which is recruiting rankings, and no school in the country defies those as frequently and dramatically as Ohio State.
Great, it's noon and I need some whiskey. Thanks, Tressel.
And the winner in the rinky-dink bowl contest is... not the Outback, which took Wisconsin. Illinois is a lock for the Citrus unless they get drafted by a desperate BCS -- unlikely unless Hawaii coughs it up against Washington. Michigan is fighting with Penn State for either the Alamo Bowl or the "Champs Sports" Bowl, something never before considered by this blog and henceforth referred to as the "Citrus Junior" in a futile protest against title sponsors.
Which should you prefer? That depends. The Alamo usually features the #4 team in the Big 12 but this year the league will certainly get two BCS bids, leaving Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Kansas to other destinations. The leftovers: Texas Tech. Sweet Jesus. The Citrus Junior features the #4 ACC team, which will be Clemson or Virginia. Since my concern is just to win the damn game, I would prefer the Citrus Junior, especially if Virginia is the opponent. No offense to the Hoos, but if there's a team out there with a flattering record relative to its expected Pythagorean record, it's Virginia.
No, I can't let this go. DeBord:
"I don't think there's any doubt I learned a lot," DeBord said of the CMU experience. "In every position I've had, I learned a lot. ... We were able to take that program from day one and improve it all the way through to where now they're competing for championships. I feel good for all that."
CMU's record in four-year blocks from twenty years ago to today:
Mike Debord presided over the worst four-year stretch in Central Michigan's history at a program with a history of success in the MAC. He was placed in a position where success was eminently possible against a set of coaches that, while good, are not generally of the caliber found in BCS conferences. He failed totally. In no way can you describe his tenure at Central Michigan as anything other than a complete debacle; the culture Brian Kelly walked into was the one where six guys got in serious trouble for a murder charge and Kelly, in an attempt to defend his players, said something unwise about a "culture of violence" said players were raised in.
Right, this thing. NDNation swiped an enormous post from an Iowa board about the Michigan situation that many people have forwarded to me as something of interest. It is of interest, as I believe the story relayed in it is mostly accurate from what other people have told me: Ferentz was the strongly preferred choice of Carr once it became clear that the captain of SS Spectacular Failure was not a viable option and that the animosity between Carr and Miles was real and lingering.
After this is all done I'll put together what I think happened behind the scenes -- totally speculative, of course.
Go to the basketball game and tune out for a couple hours and you come back to a dozen emails about this:
LSU athletic director Skip Bertman confirmed Wednesday night through spokesman Herb Vincent that his Michigan counterpart, Bill Martin, has officially requested permission to speak with Les Miles about becoming the next coach of the Wolverines.
These things rarely become public unless they're in the bag, so this is a strong indication Miles is a done deal. LSU is promising a counter-offer but unless they can suddenly be the program Bo built, it is unlikely to matter.
A significant number of people have sent in the same story: there is an old guard at Michigan strongly opposed to Miles' candidacy, while younger folk, big money donors, and those not as closely connected to the current regime support it. I get stuff from people on side A skeptical about Miles' chances; I get stuff from people on side B saying it's done. Like, done-done-done and going to be announced Monday. I lean towards the latter, and expect Miles will be the guy in a few days.
The Michigan Rivals site - The Wolverine.com - is reporting that Kirk Ferentz will not be the next head coach at Michigan, citing a source second only to Ferentz himself.
Fanblogs sites a premium message board post, quoting it, which seems ethically dubious, but linking to something ethically dubious is fine(!). Plus, if you read the comments here you know already. Rivals is usually pretty circumspect, so the stridency of that post should be taken as a sign of extreme confidence in the information. (It should be noted that this is the second time The Wolverine has schooled everyone on a major coaching search, as they were way out in front of the Beilein thing. Credit where due.)
Speculation now defaults to...
There is significant buzz that Miles is a done deal as soon as LSU gets done with the SEC championship game from both the premium boards on the paysites and my inbox, but he was supposed to be a done deal a while ago. We'll see; he has support from a lot of important people but obviously not the most important one who's not Bill Martin: Lloyd Carr. The Ferentz thing is a solid indicator of that. (And, yes, there was most definitely a Ferentz thing getting pushed very hard by Carr and others -- this is "Ferentz is no longer a candidate," not "was never.")
There's little out there on the internet yet that can be taken even a little bit seriously; this post from "Pigskin Football Guys" claims Miles has taken the job, but also claims Pelini is gone to be HC at Nebraska and Tenuta will be LSU's new DC at 600k per year, which is crazy if Miles is leaving. That seems to have no credence. Meanwhile, this from "Football Scoop"...
Michigan- Our sources say that Brian Kelly will be named HC if the interview doesn't turn off the Woman President
...gets negative one billion credibility points. Jimmy Carter will have no say in Michigan's coaching search. (ZING!)
*(No, I'm not seriously suggesting this flight had Miles on it: it's a DC-9, which seats like 100 people. The only reasonable explanation: Mark Mangino is going to be the next coach.)
Hawkeye Lounge has posted an update from the Iowa side of things:
HL has received some additional information on the Kirk Ferentz situation from sources we consider trustworthy. So, we thought we'd pass it on. The information is as follows:
1. Ferentz had meeting with the team yesterday. No mention of the Michigan job. Rather, just talk about practice this weekend as if they're going to a bowl game.
2. Historically, when KF/job rumors come up, KF will call the assistants out on the road and tell them to have no worries, he's coming back, etc. Typically this happens immediately after the rumor gets press. No such calls have been made; nobody seems to know what's going on.
3. Apparently the scheduled Wednesday press conference (tomorrow) will not be held. The stated reason for the postponement is that they're waiting on the bowl situation to solidify before holding another press conference.
Make of this what you will. We're just passing on info that we receive from sources that we consider to be of high quality.
The canceled press conference seems meaningful to me: if Ferentz is not a serious candidate or had turned the job down that would be an excellent opportunity to say "I AM NOT A SERIOUS CANDIDATE" in big flashing neon letters; if he's still in play, then every non-answer would further fan the flames.
Also FWIW: I received an email from Jim Acho, who is apparently Fred Jackson's agent. Contents:
Michigan assistant head football coach Fred Jackson is officially a candidate for the Duke football coaching job. A call was placed to Duke AD Joe Alleva today and we await confirmation of an interview date. Fred Jackson was on a "short list" of candidates for the Duke job when it opened up 3 years ago and has turned down no less than 6 NFL assistant coaching offers in the last 4 years.
Make of that what you will.
Also, a reader emails a potential theory on the plane flight: it could have been a return trip, and the "flight crew swap" a cover story.
A Dassault Falcon 20 left Willow Run at 6 EST and arrived in Cedar Rapids a little more than an hour later. After about 15 minutes it left, returning to Willow Run. The return leg is scheduled to touch down in approximately 30 minutes.
While this isn't conclusive, that is the mother of all coincidences if that's not Ferentz.
1. There's a fellow wandering around the Hawkeye boards claiming that the Ferentz-to-Michigan stuff is all his doing. A copy of an email sent to one of the Iowa TV stations that started picking up on the internet rumors:
ill break it down best i can, long story short.
guy posts fake rumor---> http://michigan.rivals.com/showmsg.asp?fid=39&tid=106451698&mid=106451698&sid=883&style=2
m.go.blog runs with it and states there is an inside source (but really its this post)
poster on hawkeyelounge plays along----> http://www.hawkeyelounge.com/showthread.php?t=17099
m.go.blog cites that post as another possible sources and runs with story.
check the blog, its on the front page. --->http://mgoblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/ferentz-update.html
it started as a message board ruse, flame if you will.....
This is not true; I had not heard of HawkeyeLounge.com until a commenter left a link to the rumor posted there yesterday. The source in question is connected to one of the Iowa coaches; it's solid.
2. There have been a lot of questions about University posting rules that previously seemed like a major deterrent to a hasty search and were cited as a reason Miles' national championship game coaching wouldn't be a problem. This would mean reports of a potential acceptance would be necessarily wrong. (An offer, on the other hand, is plausible, since everyone knows the open posting rules are farcical.) Apparently the posting thing is a complete nonfactor.
For example: the hiring of Mike Sherman at A&M two days after Franchione was let go.
3. I think I may have erred a bit here. I waited to get some outside confirmation on the Ferentz offer, but when I did it was from Iowa sources. Though those sources are about as good as things like that get, there is the potential for wobble.
It's a game of telephone, basically.
Michigan to Ferentz: you're our #1 candidate.
Ferentz to Coach: I think Michigan might offer me the job.
Coach to Source: Ferentz is going to get offered the job.
Source to Me: Ferrets get proffered by slobs!
I wrote and re-wrote that brief post to communicate what I wanted it to but in the end I think it came off too assured. These things are all uncertain, and real confirmation of how the search went down will never be available. Mea culpa.
4. To wit, someone from the Michigan side of things says talk of an offer is "premature," which is a really interesting word to use.
5. I offer no thumbs up or down on the linked post yesterday; I merely present the info since it seems worthwhile.
6. IMO, the most likely scenario: Michigan has talked quite a bit with Ferentz. The general tone of the conversations has been of the sort when you have a really good job interview and the last guy is just like "well... we really like you. Do you like us? We really like you." Like in the job interview, you assume you have been offered the job but the formal decision has not been made.
7. The high level summary of my beliefs based on everything I've heard and read: Ferentz is the #1 candidate and either has already been or will be offered the job. I have no idea whether he'd take it or not but if you put a gun to my head I would say he turns it down.
Another thing follows from the above belief but this is just deduction, not inside info: Carr insisted he would not be a major factor in the search during his retirement press conference, but his fingerprints are all over the Ferentz thing. Ferentz meets certain Michigan priorities -- be a really awesome dude, don't swear at press conferences -- better than others -- win, wear hats -- that Miles is better at, which indicates the relative weightings of these priorities make it harder for them to come around on Miles. I wouldn't be surprised if he was well down the list.
8. MLive talked to the GVSU AD, who claimed Michigan had not contacted him. My source is standing by his info.
Update: Iowa is claiming no one has talked to or about Ferentz; not sure why MLive is going around asking athletic directors about official channels when everyone knows these things migrated out of public view long ago.