As the college coaching carousel turns, and its biggest player (Michigan) continues riding round and round without grabbing their guy, it can drive fans nuts. Not just Wolverine fans, who desperately want their "Michigan Man" ASAP so they can get on with recruiting. But fans around the country, too. After a 3-9 season, Syracuse football doesn't have to worry about losing anyone to Michigan, but yesterday morning, we suddenly gained a connection to the nation's longest and most drawn-out job search:
CBS Sports: John Harbaugh, Sean Payton, DOUG MARRONE, others on Michigan's radar
My first reaction: "OH HELLLLLLLLLL NO."
Now Marrone shot down any interest following his current employers' game yesterday (the Bills lost to the Raiders). But at least immediately, that didn't change the feelings I had when his name was even mentioned. Could Doug Marrone REALLY do this to us? Were we really THIS sort of stepping stone? And I was not alone in that sort of thinking. Sean summed it up rationally, while acknowledging the underlying issues here:
"...basically he was an NFL assistant who only took the Syracuse job because it was his "dream job" and actually because he needed head coaching experience so he could become an NFL head coach. He did it and now he's back in the NFL where he really wanted to be. To come back to college would be a little bit of a shot across SU's bow, even if he doesn't mean it to be."
We all remember those dark days post-2012 Pinstripe Bowl, when we went from "program on the rise" with alumni coach leading the way, to just another mid-tier college job that served as a launching pad for other opportunities. We were okay with it over time because at least he left for the NFL -- the pinnacle of the sport, whether you're coaching in Buffalo or Denver or Pittsburgh... or wherever. It doesn't matter, because the league's franchises are largely equal, and being a head coach for one of those 32 teams is an accomplishment that you can progress no further from.
But if he'd left for a college job? I think we'd all still be a bit more bitter, but at the same time, our coach was good enough that Michigan wanted him -- so, awesome! However, if he left Syracuse for an NFL job just to mess around for two seasons and then end up at a college job like Michigan? That feels like WORSE than a stepping stone! It would be a sign that he didn't even want the Bills job at all. And that all he wanted was the first train out of Syracuse. It would hurt because it would make us FEEL like an undesirable job (at least to fans). Syracuse wasn't when he left, necessarily. It would sort of be one now if all of that transpired (plus recent on-field performance).
So for now, put away your torches and pitchforks, and I'll do the same. If Marrone says he's not interested, then we have to take him at his word -- I mean, he's made it pretty clear he hates the college game. But if two weeks from now, he's wearing maize and blue while half-smiling at a press conference in Ann Arbor? Welp, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Just know that you'll have every right to feel a bit insulted, and you won't be alone using mocking #dreamjob in his general direction.