Reasons I believe Al Golden remains coach of Miami and does not take the Penn State job:
- (Relative) Stability at UM. UM will take a shot on the chin for the Shapiro infractions, however, at least AG and UM have some sense of the threat. President Shalala and AD Eichorst have already made a swift, resolute move to self-impose a bowl ban for this season. More NCAA sanctions are likely to come down but having the current team serve one of the post-season bans will probably be attractive from the perspective of a new recruit.
- Chaos at PSU. Compare the above to PSU where new allegations pop up daily--allegations that are much more serious than some free drinks and boat rides. There is a leadership vacuum in State College and the current members of the administration are scrambling to protect things much bigger than the football program. It will probably be years before the criminal trial and civil suits are settled.
- Championships. Thats the word AG repeated at his first presser. Let's say PSU's new prez and acting AD do manage to give AG enough comfort to come to Happy Valley, does AG see a path to the top? Today, PSU has a shot to win the B1G conf championship while UM is 6-5. But UM sits in the middle of one of the country's most fertile recruiting grounds. Also, would you rather your path go through Urban Meyer and Mark D'antonio, or Jimbo and Dabo?
- One year already in the bank. Like any coach out there, AG is big on his core values and changing the culture of the program. This is a herculean task. I get tired just watching AG talk about it on the youtube videos. The Raising Canes videos give a glimpse of some of the challenges of taking over a program, but it also shows the slow progress made when the new culture is embraced and takes root. Would AG want to start from square one at a new program now that he is finally seeing some of his hard work at UM pay dividends?
- Al Golden's ultimate ambitions. I don't think AG is a CFB lifer. I think he is more Al Groh than Joe Paterno. I think he would take a shot at the NFL if he had the opportunity. I believe that UM (even with sanctions) is a better launch pad to the NFL than Penn State. Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson, and Butch Davis all went to the NFL from UM (and Howard left UM for the USFL). How many coaches from the Big10 have jumped to the NFL? Does Jim Tressel count?
With all that said, there are two huge areas of concern for me:
- C.R.E.A.M. Ohio State is rumored to have enticed Urban Meyer with a 7-year $35M deal. That would mark the dawn of a new era of spending in the Big10. Some say Penn State will never join the arms race, especially now with the scandal. But on the other hand this scandal may have them feeling desperate and put them in the position to pull out all stops to get the guy they want. I don't think AG would be offered (nor would he deserve) Urban dollars--that pay-grade comes with two NCs on your resume. But could PSU dangle a comp package worth 1.5 or 2x what he makes at UM?
- He was a team captain for Pete's sake. As an outsider I would call it a career suicide mission to run into the burning building that is Penn State, but I'd also give credit to AG for having incredible loyalty and a sense of duty to his alma mater.
My hope is that the little dustup with Al's agent was simply the opening salvo to a round of contract negotiations that are still ongoing. Hopefully AG really wants to be at UM and is simply leaving the PSU door open with his comments to retain negotiating leverage until a raise and extension are finalized at UM.
One more note: this is also assuming that Penn State even wants Al Golden. Other commentators have suggested Penn State wants a fresh start with a coach that has no prior ties to the program. "Outsider" names thrown around have included Virginia's Mike London and Harvard's Tim Murphy.