The hiring cycle in college football coaching may have a trickle down affect at both Arizona and Arizona State in the coming weeks. In the case of Rich Rod, I believe he will be front and center for some very good jobs that will make it nearly impossible for him to return to Tucson next season.
His name has already surfaced in published reports around the opening at South Carolina, but I believe there may be a bigger job that could come available after the season is over.
Keep an eye on what is going on at Georgia. The Bulldogs have a showdown with Florida this Saturday and if Georgia should loose this game, there will be plenty of push for a coaching change.
Rodriguez has a home in Georgia, has strong connections to the University, and solid recruiting pipelines in the South. His son is a talented high school quarterback(junior) who would face better competition in that part of the country than he currently is in Tucson. Athletic Director Greg Byrne and Rodriguez have done a terrific job of making Arizona relevant in football. Beating ASU, a Pac-12 South title and Fiesta Bowl appearance in 2014 showed the country that Rodriguez can win at a school that doesn’t have huge football resources. He can stay at Tucson as long as he wants, but I will be surprised if he is on the sidelines for the Wildcats in 2016.
It may be time for Arizona State offensive coordinator/deputy head coach Mike Norvell to throw his name into the ring for some of the possible coaching openings. Published reports already have Norvell connected to Colorado and Kansas State. While neither job is open today, it wouldn’t be a shock to see both schools in the hiring market in this current cycle. At some point Norvell is going to have to leave the nest that Todd Graham has built for him and go out on his own.
It’s very fair to point out that with the USC opening and the NFL looking at college coaches, this coming hiring cycle could be very attractive(lucrative $$). Brian Kelly at Notre Dame, Jim Mora at UCLA and David Shaw at Stanford have been chased by the pros before, will it happen again this year?
While Graham is the head coach at ASU now, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him pursued or chase the right job if it came open in the next few months either. Arizona State is not anyones dream job. The same goes for Arizona. Doesn’t mean they are bad jobs, just means that they are stepping stones to bigger dreams.