Round and round
The annual migration of college football coaches is fully under way.
First came the annual end-of-season firings, and there were some surprises. Now comes the hirings, and there are more surprises.
But then there always are when the football coaching carousel starts spinning.
The biggest surprise so far this year is a hiring, that of the University of Wisconsin's head football coach, Bret Bielema, by the University of Arkansas.
The Razorbacks are trying to clean up the mess that began with the preseason dismissal of head coach Bobby Petrino. He mixed a little too much pleasure with business, and, as a result, found himself jobless.
But don't worry about him. Petrino's got a winning record, and it will be a huge surprise if some school desperate for a winner doesn't hire him soon.
Meanwhile, Bielema, wrongly perceived to be a Big Ten man, surprised everybody when he accepted the Arkansas job in the highly competitive SEC. He got a six-year contract and will be paid $3.2 million a year.
That's a lot of money for a football coach. But television revenue and ruthless competition are driving coaching salaries into the stratosphere. At the current rate, it won't be too many years before college or pro football head coaches will be making $10 million a year.
Another big-time hire was Gus Malzahn by football-mad Auburn University. Malzahn leaves Arkansas State, where he was the head coach for just one year before taking the Auburn job.
Is there no such thing as loyalty? Not in the coaching profession, where coaches urge players and fans to be loyal but then take the first good opportunity that comes along.
There will be more hirings in the next few days. Each coach who takes a new job will leave a hole that will be filled by someone from a different school. It's a mad scramble, entertaining to a degree, but mostly educational about the current state of our dominant sports culture.