NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 27: Coach Mike Munchak of the Tennessee Titans smiles as he leaves the field after a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at LP Field on November 27, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 23-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
EDIT: Annnnnnnd we can scratch Mike Munchak off the list. Move along, show's over. Nothing to see here.
Maybe at this point it would be easier to list who hasn't been rumored to be tied to the Penn State coaching vacancy. We've seen everyone from Georgia's Mark Richt, Chris Petersen of BSU, Oregon's Chip Kelly, and a crazy Internet rumor about Kirk Ferentz moving to Happy Valley with Bob Stoops backfilling Iowa City. And of course, the fringe lunatic wing of the fanbase assumes that Nick Saban/Les Miles/Pete Carroll/
Urban Meyer is in the middle of buying a house in State College.
Well, I guess until someone is actually named the coach by the University, they're all crazy Internet rumors. But this most lastest one seems to make the most sense, and it's being reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
I've really avoided piling on Penn State this year, because well, there's nothing funny about what happened. That said, I've been slightly amused with all the message board chatter about Big Name Guy this and Big Name Guy that coming to Happy Valley. I wrote posts about Richt and Kelly because in some regards, they made sense--Richt seems to have worn out his welcome with a sizeable portion of the Georgia fanbase, and that tends to happen when you've been in one place over a decade.
Kelly didn't make as much sense, other than it being close to where he was born and raised, but that can be a powerful draw as you get older, so I thought in some respects, it made sense. And those would be home run hires. Both are accomplished X and O guys, great recruiters, and a track record of winning.
But they're probably not realistic. Mike Munchak is.
Munchak is a a Penn State guy through and through, but isn't tied to the Sandusky scandal in any way, graduating long before that evil bastard stained your great university. People will rally around Munchak, and he will be a guy that can bring Penn State through this dark period, and probably come out stronger on the other side.
So Munchak seems like a Luke Fickell-type hire for PSU, only much better. Munchak, the rookie head coach with the Tennessee Titans, has turned around what was a 6-10 team and has them at 8-7 with one game to play. He's an NFL Hall of Famer, a PSU alum, and he's proving he can coach at the highest level. There's always a question about guys with no college experience recruiting, but I'm sure he'll be able to pull in solid classes. The Sandusky scandal won't last forever, and a school like Penn State with a solid guy like Munchak at the helm will sell itself again, sooner rather than later.
If Penn State gets Mike Munchak, he might not be the biggest splah. But he would be the best fit.
And if he gets the job, I'll be rooting for him.