With the hiring of Tim Beckman at Illinois, there is only one vacancy remaining to be filled in The Greatest Conference Ever In The History Of The World Ever And Ever, and that's at Penn State.
We'll get to them in a minute, but let's update the Pitt job, where we mentioned here a couple-ish days ago that two prominent B1G assistant coaches were in the running for that job.
It looked like Mario Cristobal was the front runner for a couple days, who I was surprised to learn was NOT Pat Fitzgerald wearing a fake goatee in disguise, but he might not be the favorite anymore.
According to this phenomenal timeline, courtesy of SBN's Wisconsin blog Bucky's 5th Quarter, Fickell was officially eliminated as a candidate AT PRECISELY 2:50...and for the love of God B5Q, next time can you tell me if that's Eastern or Central time? I mean seriously, you're really slacking here guys...//sarcasm off.
And at 5:19...not 5:18, not 5:20, 5:19, Wisconsin OC Paul Chryst emerged as the leading candidate, and what happens to Chryst will go a long way in determining where Dane Crist, Notre Dame QB of the future who never really panned out, ends up.
We continue with Penn State, after the jump.
As for Penn State, there are a lot of rumors still bubbling to the surface, and two interesting names have popped to the surface besides this one.
The first one, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, was squashed pretty fast by Pelini himself.
The other one, which is REALLY intriguing, is Oregon's Chip Kelly. Yeah, Chip Freakin' Kelly. Again, I source Sekrah Sports off of the Twitterverse, the same account I used for Richt:
@spokechuck ESPN regurgitated a Pelini rumor yesterday.Yes I think they got a big name landed.Kelly or Richt. IMO.— Sekrah Sports (@sekrah) December 21, 2011
Rumors are rumors and everyone has them, but...wow...if this is true. We've already talked Richt, so let's talk Chip Kelly.
1) My initial reaction is Kelly is a GREAT hire, with one HUGE caveat: The Willie Lyles problem. You know, that other NCAA scandal that broke this summer? The one no one had time to talk about because of...wait, I promised I wouldn't write about that anymore. Never mind. Move along.
If Chip Kelly is looking to get out of Oregon ahead of NCAA sanctions a la Pete Carroll and PSU is giving him a place to go, this would be a PR disaster for Penn State and the conference. The last thing Happy Valley needs is a coached tarnished with scandal to come into the Mother Of All Scandals.
If (and I know that's a big if), but if Kelly is free and clear of Lyles and his dubious scouting prowess, holy crap this is a coup. If I was a Penn State fan, I would be happy with Richt, but I'd be ecstatic with Kelly. Kelly runs an innovative offense that might actually utilize the skillset that Rob Bolden brings to the table, he's a national figure that could shore up a recruiting class that is currently a mess, and would instantly change the narrative in Happy Valley, at least for the time being. Detractors would be quick to say 'the next Rich Rodriguez', but I disagree.
And as a B1G fan, he'd fit right in. He already knows how to lose Rose Bowls, and he can't beat Ohio State, so all in all, yeah, I'm good with it.
C'mon, Penn State fan, you have to find humor somewhere. It's a joke. Laugh, you need to. You deserve to.
Word on the street is that Pitt will decide on whether or not Chryst will be their coach tomorrow, and no one really knows when Penn State will announce who their coach will be.
But if it's Richt or Kelly, Penn State will have done a fantastic job.