So here's the setup. After ending the Cal Rose Bowl drought following the 2009 season, with the SAHCP construction nearing completion and the stadium retrofit in the offing, Tedford looks upon his program and decides that it is good, and furthermore decides that it's time to move on from the Golden Bears to new challenges and opportunities. Fond farewells are exchanged and etc. and the Cal Athletic Department gets down to the business of finding Tedford's successor.
The question: with Coach Tedford gone, who would be on your short list to succeed him?
Bob Gregory (DC, California)
Background: Wazzu alumn, previous coaching stints with Boise State and Oregon, the latter where he met Jeff Tedford and the former where Tedford stole him from to make him Cal DC. Has been quietly essential to Cal's success: as the defense goes, so goes the team. Managed a nearly seamless transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 alignment. Has full control over the defense as Tedford trusts him implicitly.
Pros: Keeps continuity in the Cal program, gives the team to a proven leader who presumably understands the workings of the overall team. All things considered, he's probably earned it.
Cons: What happened the last time Cal promoted a defensive coordinator to head coach? (OK, that was just mean. Sorry Bob!) Seriously though, this feels like it would be a kind of conservative pick, and while playing it conservative could definitely pay off, I'd rather Cal went for a high profile hire in this instance just to show everyone else we're notfucking around.
Charlie Strong (DC, Florida)
Background: University of Central Arkansas alumn, later the first ever African American coordinator in the Southeast Conference during his stint at South Carolina and the second ever black head coach in the SEC after coaching the Florida Gators in the 2004 Peach Bowl following Ron Zook being fired from the position. Twice a national champion under Urban Meyer.
Pros: Those two National Championships are hard to argue with. Neutering the Oklahoma offense counts as something like a miracle. Honestly though? I'm thinking of the furious energy with which Strong would probably throw himself into a long-overdue head coaching job.
Cons: Probably doesn't have a lot of recruiting connections on the West Coast, but then again National Championships can overcome many sins. Not a whole lot of downside to this one, probably.
Mike Leach (HC, Texas Tech)
Background: BYU alumn and JD. Didn't actually play football in college, but makes up for it with a cerebral, analytical mind that grasped and helped improve Hal Mumme's Air Raid offense at Division III Iowa Wesleyan, the University of Kentucky, and currently at Texas Tech. My sentimental favorite, both for his genius-level football intellect and his childlike approach to seemingly everything else.
Pros: Man, can you imagine the Air Raid executed by the kind of recruits that Berkeley can pull in? Besides that, it would be nice to have some one inject some fun into the relatively buttoned down Pac-10. I mean, Pete Carroll counts as a "character" in this conference, and aside from momentary lapses like silently cursing out Mike Bellotti (and his numerous and admirable charitable works) that dude strikes me as a poser most of the time. (Also Leach is an academics-first coach, which is good for a school like Cal.)
Cons: The transition from Tedford's two-back/under center offense to the shotgun pass-first spread would most likely be rough going in the early stages. Players de-committing or transfering, Leach scrambling to find recruits who match his offense, the whole bit. After that, Leach would almost certainly bring the same baseline of quality that he brought to Texas Tech, but you have to wonder if he could ever beat USC.
Tommy Tuberville (former HC, Auburn)
Background: Southern Arkansas alumn. First began head coaching at Ole Miss, then jumped to Auburn when the opportunity presented itself. Coached Auburn to a 13-0 season in 2004 and an 11-2 season in 2006, and then was (predictably!) ousted in 2008. Gotta love Southern football. Won 6 straight ending in 2007 in the Iron Bowl rivalry with Alabama. Stated a desire to coach on the West Coast following his Auburn ouster.
Pros: Hard to argue with that undefeated season and his five division championships and one conference championship, in the SEC no less. Kind of a just-for-giggles pick on this list, since I've started writing I haven't really been able to come up with anything but "scoreboard."
Cons: Noted holy-rolling blowhard, which I imagine wouldn't go over terribly well in Berkeley, had a poisonous relationship with his boosters and athletic department (not that it was necessarily his fault), lacks West Coast ties and probably comes with too big a price tag. But it'd be funny, wouldn't it?
So who do you guys have?
(All facts, figures, dates, names, and information in this post should be considered emphatically SIC.)