[This originally ran Jan. 22. Keep in mind that these scanarios play out over the course of years. But as of today Miami is undefeated and Georgia is 3-2, out of the Top 25.]
When you watch an exciting college football game like the Alabama-Clemson battle for the national championship, it’s hard for even the most cynical to not listen to better angels.
Those angels whisper that the players on the field are getting taken care of with scholarships, some have NFL potential and all will benefit somehow in their eventual endeavors. Those angels gloss over the BS and talk little about coaches … for a reason.
The Southeastern Conference is the best football conference, and coaching there pays a CEO-type salary. Thus, CEO-type dynamics are in play.
The people running the University of Georgia athletics department have run into a principle often seen in the world of public companies: They had damned well better be right.
UGA coach Mark Richt was shoved aside after the regular season because school officials were certain of procuring Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator at Alabama since 2008. That tenure includes four national championships, the latest secured Jan. 11 with a victory over Clemson.
Cutting a head coach loose is tough even under ideal circumstances. That would be when he gets no offers, slinks off to a TV desk for two years and eventually makes a comeback in the West.
Mr. Richt secured a new job in a couple of days, at the University of Miami, a school capable of producing a national champion. He and Mr. Smart, who has never held a head coaching job, will recruit on the same turf.
The pressure is not on Mr. Smart, who would still be a hot commodity as a defensive coordinator if the Bulldogs don’t do well. The pressure is on his bosses, and they know it. Something out of their control – how Miami fares in the next three years – will affect their careers. That’s how the business works.