I can't remember an offseason quite as wacky as this one, where we saw coaching changes at big-name programs like Florida State, Notre Dame, USC and Tennessee, not to mention changes at emerging programs like Cincinnati, Texas Tech and South Florida. After a season that many believed lacked major drama, the coaching carousel certainly made up for it.
In fact, the only major conference immune from the shuffling was the Big Ten. No one got fired or resigned, and all 11 head coaches will return for 2010.
Coaching change can take a toll, especially on the recruiting trail, as JC Shurburtt from ESPN's Scouts Inc. writes today. After reading how these new coaches approach the recruiting challenges in new places, it got me thinking.
Will the Big Ten's coaching continuity pay off in recruiting?
Recruits build relationships with coaches for months, if not years, and they want some stability in their college destinations. It can't always sit well with recruits to see Lane Kiffin and Pete Carroll job-jumping in January.
For example, take a guy like Seantrel Henderson, the coveted offensive lineman from St. Paul, Minn. Henderson has Notre Dame, USC and Florida in his final pool of choices -- two programs that underwent coaching changes and another that did and then didn't. He's also looking at two Big Ten programs, Ohio State and Minnesota. Both programs retained their head coaches, and in the case of Ohio State's Jim Tressel, he's in no danger of being dismissed any time soon.
Stability is a reason why colleague Bruce Feldman predicts Henderson will end up as a Buckeye. Feldman writes: "My hunch is that with so much uncertainty, you'd think it would help Ohio State's chances to land Henderson since things in Columbus appear rock steady with Jim Tressel."
Henderson's father recently told Scout.com: "We are very concerned about stability within every program. Coach [Urban] Meyer is very personable and we liked him a lot, but that off-and-on retirement definitely shook up Seantrel. He had formed relationships with players going to Florida, and same with USC, and then it seemed like he had to start all over. Florida, and USC, are both great schools, and it remains to be seen how the coaching changes will effect things."
The coaching changes could steer a few more elite prospects toward the Big Ten.
Then again, Florida has the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, and USC isn't too far behind.