Derek Dooley leaving Tennessee for Ohio State?
Before UT fans begin jumping off the Gay Street Bridge in orange masses, rest assured, the second-year Vols coach was just mentioned as a possible replacement for Jim Tressel on an internet blog.
The blog, The Junkyard with Roger Brown, appears on SportsTime Ohio's website.
Brown makes a case for Ohio State to hire Dooley following the upcoming season. (Ohio State has named an interim coach for the 2011 season and won't hire a coach until after the year.)
Citing Dooley's law degree, his experience as Louisiana Tech's athletic director and characterizing him as "sharp" and "personable," the blog ranks Dooley second on its list of coaches it wants for Ohio State in 2012. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz tops the list, while Boise State's Chris Petersen, LSU's Les Miles, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and interim Buckeyes' coach Luke Fickell round out the "wish list."
Pretty good company for Dooley.
Miles and Stoops have won BCS National Championships, while Ferentz and Petersen are considered among the top coaches in college football.
While having any UT coach's name even being whispered as a possible replacement is the last thing the Vol Nation wants to hear right now, it should be seen in positive light that Dooley's name would come up regarding the Ohio State job, even if it's only on a blog.
Given its rich tradition, facilities and resources, Tennessee is one of the best jobs in college football.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples recently ranked the UT head coaching job as the 16th-best in the country — Ohio State ranked No. 2. Staples contends that the lack of high school talent in-state is the main reason why UT isn't higher on the list because it forces UT to recruit further away from Knoxville, often in schools like Georgia and South Carolina's "backyards."
With this, the possibility is there for coaches to see the UT job as more of a stepping stone towards one of the few "better" jobs, as opposed to a "dream job."
Former coach Phillip Fulmer certainly saw it as his dream job, but he also played for the Vols as an offensive lineman from 1969-71 and served as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator before becoming the head coach.
Lane Kiffin didn't see UT as his dream job and jumped at the first chance to return to the West Coast and USC, which came after just one season on Rocky Top. Obviously, no one expected him to leave after one year, but many felt he wasn't going to be at UT for the long haul.
Does Dooley see this as his dream job?
Based on a year and a half's worth of interactions with him in media opportunities, Dooley does have a much greater appreciation for UT and its head coaching job than, say, his predecessor did.
Whether Dooley is at UT in five or 10 years is anybody's guess.
The idea of him leaving for Columbus, Ohio after this year seems farfetched.
But just in case, doesn't Jon Gruden own land in East Tennessee?
— Matt Dixon is a senior in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @MattDixon3.