This is the final vote in the head coaching search brackety-ish thingy. We started with 16 candidates (based on names I'd heard in connection with the job over the last couple of weeks), and now we're down to two candidates through a series of arbitrarily-designed vote-offs. Technically, the voting is still open until noon on round 2, but these two coaches are currently enjoying leads of about 90% and about 70% respectively, so I'm calling the races. One other thing these two have in common is that they really need no introduction:
- Jon Gruden - Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Mike Leach - Head Coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders
Before the final vote box thingy, let me offer a few observations I've had during this vote-off:
- Head Coaches were preferred over Coordinators. In every vote-off, the head coaches outperformed the coordinators. Of the coordinators, Muschamp had the best showing.
- Household Names showed better. If a coach/coordinator had their name in the spotlight for a very significant reason, they tended to do very well. Chris Petersen of Boise State scored much higher than Brian Kelly (Cincinnati) and Gary Patterson (TCU), even though TCU is more of a traditional football school, Cincinnati is closer, and Boise is frequently knocked for not playing big names. That Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma is still paying big dividends. (Side note: that is the only game I've downloaded from iTunes. $3 (IIRC) for the whole show is a great deal; even in replay, it's a thrilling game.)
- No preference for offense or defense. Having Gruden v. Leach in the finals is a prime example of that. Preference for Offense. Yeah. Gruden's an offense guy. A weird little memory hitch comes to roost when I forget to fact-check before posting. Whoops.
On to voting. As I've noted before, this is only for fun. By now, most people have probably seen their favorite candidate fall, which is why we're asking for preference between the two names, not preference overall. Anyhoo, enough talky: