College football has seen more major changes over the last five years than it’s seen at any other point in the history of the game.
The evolution of the transfer portal, introduction of name, image, and likeness, and scheduling chaos created by conference realignment have combined to send the sport into a state of flux that we’ve never seen.
We’ve also seen an increased pressure to “win now,” as patience with coaches just isn’t a virtue held by fan bases or athletic administrations anymore. The instant gratification age of Amazon Prime and drive-thru fast food has made it almost inconceivable to give a coach three years to get a program off the ground.
With that, the “coaching carousel” was born. Coaches are being hired and fired at a rate that we’ve never seen before, but there appears to be an even bigger issue on the horizon.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we saw Nick Saban leave his post at Alabama, which sent the carousel into overdrive. However, it wasn’t pressure to win or a lack of production that sent Saban out the door. It was, at least in part, the overwhelming amount of changes that this sport has seen over the last few years.
Saban won’t be the last coach that we see leave college football behind either, as we’ll continue to see head coaches hang it up or take jobs in the NFL, where they can actually coach football.
On Wednesday, Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley made headline news when it was announced that he’s expected to become the next defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. While the Packers are one of the top franchises in the NFL, it’s still odd to see a head coach at a Power Four job step away for a coordinator position, and once again, the changes to college football played a factor.
According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Hafley’s reasons for taking this coordinator job are partly rooted in the overall state of college football.
“He wants to go coach football again in a league that is all about football,” a source told ESPN, according to Thamel. “College coaching has become fundraising, NIL and recruiting your own team and transfers. There’s no time to coach football anymore.”
While some believe this is an isolated case of a coach wanting to make the jump any way that he can, Kirk Herbstreit says it’s a sign of the times.
“[College football] in its current state will be seeing more and more coaches heading to the NFL,” Herbstreit wrote on Twitter. “Without boundaries and regulation that make sense coaches that get real opportunities in the NFL will be gone. This trend will continue until there is a new governing body and it creates a CBA with a players entity or union that would include issues like NIL, Transfer Portal, and eventually revenue sharing. The sport is spiraling out of control as we know and many of these coaches are not sticking around and waiting. Just a new reality for the sport.”
To see one of the biggest names in college football openly admit that the sport is “spiraling out of control” is a sobering reality, but it is just that — reality.