The Stanford Cardinal (named for a color) will play in the The Orange Bowl (named for a fruit) tonight, and there will be a whole lot of Green (money money money) at stake.
The annual football coaching shuffle that follows the end of the NFL season begins today, and the speculation and triangles and hexagons and relationships and back room deals that will occur in college and NFL circles over the next weeks will make Days Of Our Lives look trite and predictable.
And tonight's game in Miami, and a new football executive in Denver, will have quite a bit to do with how the dominoes fall.
In attendance at tonight's Orange Bowl will be one John Elway. John was a QB at Granada Hills HS in the SF Valley and did very well there. John went to Stanford and did very well there, too. He was drafted first overall by the Baltimore Colts and was promptly traded to the Denver Broncos. He did very well in Denver, too. However, after he retired in 1999, the Denver Broncos have not done very well at all.
This Wednesday, Elway will be named the Vice President of Operations for the Broncos. (Hang on, you're still on the right blog. This is going somewhere).
The Broncos need a new head coach. And Jim Harbaugh is the biggest domino in the land right now.
There is a lot of support in the media and fan base in Denver to bring Harbaugh here. However, Denver has a long history of hiring pro coaches and coordinators: Hoodie Jr was the OC in New England, Shanny was the OC at Denver and San Fran and HC at Oakland; Wade Phillips was DC here; Dan Reeves worked under Tom Landry at Dallas; so the organization hasn't hired a college coach in a very long time. During the last last coaching search, all the candidates were NFL guys.
The difference this time is Elway. With the exception of the 2 Super Bowls, the combination pro coach/GM paradigm here has not been successful. Elway is in a prime position to change that. Tonight's game will have an even larger bearing on public support, and with lockout and money issues looming, the organization is caving to the public more than it ever has (see Tim Tebow starting). If Stanford wins big, and with Elway joining the fray, there will be a loud outcry for Harbaugh to be hired as the Denver Broncos next coach.
Harbaugh is the dream hire for Michigan (sorry, coach Rodriguez, for discussing your replacement before you have been fired). But you can be sure that Elway will also be dangling NFL $$ and prestige with the Denver Broncos job (sorry, coach Studesville, for discussing your replacement while you are still interim coach). But if it's not here, then the San Francisco 49'ers will make a run at him. Other NFL jobs are opening hourly. And of course, there is still Stanford. He surely wouldn't stay at Stanford, would he?
Here's where the dominoes start to tip...
If Harbaugh comes to Denver, his DC at Stanford, Vic Fangio, will not likely follow him. Fangio is one of Rick Neuheisel's top choices for our open DC job, and the two worked together in Baltimore.
If Harbaugh comes to Denver, one candidate for the Michigan job will be SDSU's head coach Brady Hoke. His current DC, Rocky Long, is another top candidate for the UCLA DC job. If Hoke leaves, Long becomes a top candidate for the SDSU job, and perhaps less willing to come to UCLA.
If Harbaugh goes to Denver, and if Hoke goes to Michigan, SDSU OC Al Borges also becomes a top candidate for the SDSU job. BruinReportOnline has written (behind firewall) that Al Borges is currently the front runner for the UCLA OC job, if Chow indeed is done, and BRO is typically spot on.
If Borges and Long are vying for the SDSU job, how would that affect their interest in UCLA if one or both of them are passed over by SDSU for someone else?
If Harbaugh goes to Michigan, then Chuck Heater, a former player at Michigan and currently a very attractive name for the UCLA DC job would likely have more interest in joining the new regime there in Ann Arbor under Harbaugh.
If Harbaugh goes to Michigan, then Hoke stays in San Diego. How would that affect the interest of Long and Borges in the UCLA job if there is no immediate room for advancement in their current positions in San Diego?
That's a lot of ifs. It makes Bo and Hope look simple. Stay tuned to see which way the dominoes fall. The first will one will tip tonight in Miami.