Coach Tommy Tuberville left Texas Tech for Cincinnati on Saturday, an announcement that generated double-takes across Big 12 country and, well, the entire country.
Just when you presumed the Bearcats would call up another MAC coach, they land a guy with 17 years of BCS conference experience, a coach who recently was, at least peripherally, on Arkansas’ list.
The presumed backdrop for Tuberville-to-Cincinnati is his relationship with Bearcats athletics director Whit Babcock, who was Auburn’s assistant AD during Tuberville’s tenure from 1999-2008. Still, that won’t sooth the bruised feelings in Lubbock, where Texas Tech — already battling inferiority complex in the mammoth shadows of Texas and Texas A&M — just lost their head coach to a program in the debilitated Big East.
All the more reason for the Red Raiders, once they recover from the shock, to try and rebuild their self-esteem with a home-run hire. But given the job-swapping frenzy of the previous week, the tip-of-the-tongue candidates are few. Texas Tech could scour the NFL for a coordinator or steal Texas A&M’s.
Former Red Raiders quarterback Kilff Kingsbury boosted his resume by developing Johnny Manziel into a Heisman sensation, but that’s just about all you’ll find on the 33-year-old’s resume. (In his one previous stop, at Houston, he was co-offensive coordinator for one season and offensive quality control assistant for another.)
If you’ve glanced at Twitter even once Saturday, you noticed the numerous mentions of Dana Holgorsen, who spent eight seasons in Lubbock piling up huge offensive stats under Mike Leach. That move would seem lateral for Holgorsen, especially since Tuberville’s 2.05 million salary this year was about $240,000 less than WVU paid Holgorsen.
Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls reported Holgorsen was not on Texas Tech’s immediate list of candidates. But within this silly season, where a BCS coach like Tuberville willingly becomes downwardly mobile, anything can happen.