It is safe to assume that the only person having a worse week than Gopher athletic director Joel Maturi is Charlie Sheen.
The calls for Maturi's head on Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium were minimal, but that is likely because there were 15,000 Gopher fans dressed as empty seats, and about 4,000 of those who were present were Buckeye fans.
Let's be realistic: neither Georgia's Mark Richt, Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, TCU's Gary Patterson, or Boise State's Chris Petersen are coming here. Maturi should try, but it is likely that none would leave their current position for Minnesota.
Air Force's Troy Calhoun probably would.
Few in Colorado Springs believe that he's there for the long-term. A recent Denver Post story on Colorado's eventual search for a new coach stated: Air Force knows that he won't be there forever. Yes, he's an alum, but he can feel good about leaving the program in better shape than when he got there. You have to believe that he wants a chance to compete at the highest possible collegiate level. His buyout is approximately $750,000. Steep, but doable. A 6-year/$15 million offer would probably be enough. That would give him a more than 300-percent raise. Would he really say no to that offer?
Calhoun makes sense for a number of reasons:
- He's only 44-years-old.
- He's a winner at a service academy. Players going there know that they must dedicate four years of their life after college. Here's guessing that makes recruiting much more difficult.
- He has an offensive and defensive background, including an extensive history being around a pro-style offense, so he wouldn't be married to his current scheme, the triple-option.
- He has the "it" factor. When you watch his teams, they are extremely well-conditioned and disciplined. He also carries himself as a successful head coach.
Is Calhoun the perfect candidate? No. He has struggled against the Mountain West's big-3 of TCU, Utah, and BYU. Remember, though, that many BCS-schools have struggled against those schools. Also, he has a loss to Tim Brewster on his resume.
If Calhoun rejects the Gophers' overtures, option No. 2 should be Houston's Kevin Sumlin. His wife is from here. He has Minnesota ties -- was an assistant coach here for four years in the mid-90's -- and could put together a solid staff. His current assistant head coach, Tony Levine, has a stellar background and is a former Gophers player. He could bring back Minnesota's best defensive coordinator in the last 20 years, David Gibbs. He could also bring back Minnesota's best in-state recruiter in the last 20 years, Gordy Shaw. Most importantly, he has already won in a not-so-easy environment. If you're worried that he would run the spread offense, don't be. He coordinated a pro-style offense while at Oklahoma. He could blend together elements of both with the Gophers and succeed.
Is there any chance the "U" can land the perfect guy? No. We have to be modest with our expectations.
Both Calhoun or Sumlin would need at least two years to clean-up Brewster's mess (and the Rose Bowl grass clippings in the football complex). There are reasons why arch-rivals Iowa and Wisconsin continually dominate the Gophers: they are bigger, stronger, faster, and better coached.
In the event that both say no, just don't hire Marc Trestman. If he does, Maturi might be worse off than Sheen.