Come late November, it's the time when big-time or not-so-big-time universities get second thoughts about their football coaches; and in some cases, go around shopping for another.
Actually, this usually results in a complete overhaul of the sports program over a short amount of time, and the assistant coaches generally are also replaced. But, with this, there's the sticky business of paying off those fired coaches' contracts. Sometimes that can run into millions of dollars!
Yesterday, the University of Tennessee fired Derek Dooley. Now he had three years, and a less-than-stellar record. But they didn't even give hime the grace of coaching the season's last game. This seems clearly to be a spite firing, to calm down the braying of hyperactive alumni and sportswriters.
I'm afraid this will also happen to Gene Chizik. The mortal sin is to lose to Bama. But, when that happens, the sun will probably rise the next day, even over Toomer's Corner.
Frankly, the problem is that intercollegiate athletics is a very lucrative business for many D-1 institutions, and their programs cause the institutions to have a lot of cash, name recognition, and so forth. And the running dog sports media feeds a frenzy that goes with that.
A thought: How many people have heard of Middle Tennessee State University or the University of the South or the University of North Alabama? All three have pretty good academic programs, but they are not very high on the visibility chart. It's only the premier institutions like Cal Tech* or Massachuetts Institution of Technology or Yale that have reputations not as strongly dependent on sports.
I wish that there would be more emphasis on quality of academic programs, and less on athletics.
Still, I'll give a defiant War Eagle before and after next week's loss. But especially for the academic program.
*The one in Pasadena, CA, not Decatur, AL!