Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have Harbaugh. The problem is, he's too smart to come here. Not that you have to be particularly brilliant to do the numbers on why Harbaugh to Texas doesn't make sense, you don't. You do have to be open to understanding the reality of the situation. The truth is that we can't afford Harbaugh. Or Tomlin. Or Carroll. We can't afford these guys because NFL coaches make more than college coaches.
But, but, we're Texas! Yes, we are. We can afford to pay any coach in the NFL more than they are currently making. Reports have Saban making up to 7.5 million at Bama and this is matching what we offered. Typing this opens the gates for all the "football hipsters" and their sardonic comments. And that's fair. There are a couple of them who didn't go to school here yet work hard to hide it so ignoring them is better than calling them out. This means too much to them.
Back to Saban; this may be inaccurate information, or a pure lucky guess by someone who I wouldn't expect to lie, but I was told almost a month ago that our offer to Saban was 7.5 million. I posted it on BON when I heard it (immediately regretting it) along with offers to other coaches. I bring this up because it is worth noting that we didn't go higher than 7.5 million for Saban. 7.5 million was our offer for the guy who won 3 out of the last 4 NCs. Not 10 million for 10 years with a cut of LHN profits. Based on this information it would seem our infamous "powers that be" had reservations about publicly declaring ourselves the Yankees with a money whipping 90% pay increase for Saban. They figured a 2 million raise would be enough instead. That seems pretty logical.
I have mistakenly made the claim that we can pay 10 million for a new coach and this is just plain stupid. I allowed my school pride to sweep me away to the land of unreal expectations. Expecting our administration to be dumb enough to invite the PR nightmare and criticism that would come with paying a football coach more than anyone in the college or pro ranks is an unreal expectation. Thankfully, I'm in my early 30's, continually learning everyday, and sitting back watching those with considerable more life experience make the decision about who should be the next Texas football coach. I'm sure Patterson and gang realized that paying someone 10 million won't help us get a quality NFL guy. It is probably one of those things that is so obvious it doesn't need to be verbalized. Additionally, Saban bucks are not necessary for a college guy since no one is going to expect more than Saban. Bumping them up to 6 million from the 4 million that they currently command should be more than enough.
If Jim Harbaugh were to come here he would need a reason other than money. Last year, Nick Saban made less money than 8 different NFL coaches. Heck, even Jeff Fisher made more money. Sure, Saban is receiving 7.5 million next season but he will still make less than Sean Payton. Harbaugh probably wants money in the 7-8 million dollar range to be in line with Bill Belichick, Payton, Fisher, etc... We can pay the money Harbaugh wants and more but if he has a smart agent, he won't take it. If I am Harbaugh's agent my advice is simple: Decide if you'd rather be a college coach or a NFL coach because NFL salaries are always going to get bumped beyond college salaries, even if they get passed temporarily.
Harbaugh knows this basic fact: He may set the market for coaching salaries if he comes to Texas but he won't stay at the top of it. Like Saban, Harbaugh could make one of the top five salaries of all football coaches but as long as he remains in college, there will always be an NFL coach making more. Perhaps most importantly, as long as Texas pays 10 million to a coach, Harbaugh will benefit. So will Pete Carroll. So will Mike Tomlin. We might as well throw in Saban too since he has already benefited twice from Texas setting the market, once by our contract with Mack and again with our offer to him that Bama has matched in order to retain his services.
Back when I was told that Saban's offer was 7.5 million I learned that our remaining top targets were Meyer, Malzahn, Gundy, Briles, and Fisher. None are expected to be offered more than 6 million except for Meyer, who has politely turned us down. We'll need to be turned down by everyone on this list before considering hiring the Wisconsin guy or the Vanderbilt guy. Neither Anderson or Franklin has much experience. A few years is not much to see what someone can do so we plan to stick to the more proven coaches.
Gundy has lost to OU but that is fairly irrelevant. Jimmy Johnson use lost to them too and still did fine at The U. Gundy's recruiting rankings are horrible and yet he has done a fantastic job. Briles is older than the other candidates but he's only a couple years older than Saban was when he took over at Bama. That hasn't turned out so bad. Malzahn and Fisher have both turned around programs and made it to the NC. Both are under paid, even with their new contracts. As far as this recent Gruden speculation goes, I'd place him behind our current candidates and would consider him if he didn't seem like a guy just trying to keep his name alive in case he ever wants to coach again. In the NFL.
Each one of these coaches has a truly remarkable on field track record. I'm going to research and break down all of these guys in another post to highlight any off the field negatives that are associated with each candidate. I will try and learn as much as possible about each one of them because it will likely be either Briles, Gundy, Malzahn, or Fisher hired to be the next HC for The University of Texas. It won't be an NFL guy.