Right in the middle of college football coaching musical chairs, the Big 12 released the 2022 football schedule that has Texas playing Alabama at home in DKR Sept 10, 2022.
This likely will be the biggest game attended and watched on TV as the teacher (Nick Saban) battles the student (Steve Sarkisian), at the student's house (DKR). Sarkisian was Saban’s assistant coach in 2020 when Alabama won the National Championship and Sarkisian won the Broyles Award. Texas hired Sarkisian on Jan 2, 2021, nine days before the National Championship.
Will Saban say to Sarkisian or be thinking,
“When you take this pebble from my hand, you will be ready to enter the SEC”
Less than 12 hours after the National Championship game was over, Sarkisian flew to Austin to start his new head coaching role.
What was the big hurry for Texas to hire Sarkisian on Jan 2?
College football coaching experienced an earthquake and several aftershocks with Lincoln Riley going to USC (who some have said he left because of his fear of the SEC and OU not being able to compete), so that he can take USC to the top of the PAC 12 after a rebuild. Brian Kelly leaves Notre Dame for LSU after Ed Orgeron decided to part ways with LSU. Who leaves Notre Dame? These coaching moves and a few others caused a domino effect?
If this was not enough, the transfer portal lit up and recruiting is in full swing. No pressure at all for Texas (yeah right) as Sarkisian and team hit the road meeting commits and prospects.
What if Texas had not hired Sarkisian when they did? Where would Sarkisian and his coaching staff have landed? The real answer is anywhere they wanted. Considering the future of college football, who would have been a better fit to coach Texas football?
Three questions to ponder.
- Was it smart management from Texas to get Sarkisian back on Jan 2, 2021 because they knew there would likely be a coaching shake-up across college football either before or right after the national championship game and not knowing if it would take place during COVID or if teams would wait one more season?
- Did Texas just get lucky?
- Was Texas the real genius in all of this for hiring Sarkisian and his staff before the college football coaches world was shaken to the core?
College football analysts have commented that Lincoln Riley’s move to USC was basically a strategic move for him because OU will not dominate in the SEC like they do in the Big 12. Riley has no experience coaching in the SEC. Who wants to be on a train that may be coming to a halt soon.
For Texas, while the first season under Sarkisian was less than optimal on all fronts, the program secured a group of veteran coaches who have had success in the SEC.
Horns Illustrated answers to the above questions would be A.) and C.). Texas demonstrated smart management and real genius. Unfortunately, the real answers will not be available for a couple seasons.
What do you think? Share your thoughts here on twitter.
Tickets to the Texas vs Alabama game may be one of the best games you will ever see at DKR.