This is the last semifinal pairing of the great Rocky Top Talk head coach search. Like the Leach-Petersen contest in the other semifinal, this poll will close at noon Eastern on Monday. We will then start the final matchup between the two semifinal winners to see who survives the round-robin format. As always, this polling sequence carries approximately no weight in the real coaching search, so have fun while you play with the shiny little buttons in the voting box.
The semifinalists are:
Jon Gruden won his first-round matchup against Bill Cowher, Butch Davis and Jim Grobe. In a round filled with men with head coaching experience, the guy with actual Tennessee ties carried a significant win above any margin of error. Both men with NFL experience beat out the college coaches, which is either indicitave of an actual NFL preference, or it simply means people didn't care for the other two as much. In short, it may or may not mean anything. Of further interest is that Butch Davis was well ahead of Jim Grobe, even though Davis has strongly indicated that he's not going anywhere. (Note: he said that after I prepped this poll and I didn't feel like changing it. So there.) Of course, this is a preference vote, not a prediction vote, so there's nothing wrong with that.
Gary Pinkel beat Gary Whittingham, Todd Graham and Gus Malzahn. Again, the coordinator got soundly trounced by the coaches. (Yes, putting the coach and OC from the same school was a little odd. I wanted to see who people attributed Tulsa's success to. It seems Graham is a little more respected for it around here.) Gary Pinkel also serves at a school with a bigger name than the other coaches, which may indicate a bit of distrust for small-school coaches among the voters. Or not.
So without any further comment from me, take your pick:
Between these two candidates, who would you prefer to see as the next head football coach at the University of Tennessee?
Jon Gruden - Head Coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (223 votes)
Gary Pinkel - Head Coach, Missouri Tigers (30 votes)
253 total votes