Happy New Year, Champaigniacs. I hope you're not too hungover. In case you missed it while still reveling in yesterday's victory over the hated Indiana Hoosiers in hooptieball, the Houston Texans finally managed to pry Bill O'Brien away from his gig as the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions. Their fanbase is handling it with all the dignity and aplomb one would expect from the closest thing the Big Ten has to a cult. It's not a question of integrity and it's not a matter of being lied to. It's just how things work in college football's modern age.
Hiring an NFL guy to come in and run your program rarely ever results in a long-term solution. In his two years in Happy Valley, O'Brien did one hell of a job. But no one who took over as the first new coach since LBJ was in office was going to want to stay in that nutty pressure cooker very long. And guess what? O'Brien didn't want to.
So I'd like to welcome our conferencemates to their new reality. Your school, while undeniably one of the blue bloods in the sport, is in bit of a down period. Results have been good on the field, sure, but the program still has that toxic taint to it and while the sanctions are being slowly lifted, they still exist. It's going to be a while until that fog fully disperses. Until then expect to hear big dreams of landing guys like James Franklin and other fast risers, but be ready for the disappointment that comes with missing out on them. Welcome to the third head coach of your lifetimes. Welcome to 2014.