The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 11, 2022

Sun Belt Conference Preview

In 2001, the Sun Belt Conference, having sponsored basketball for a quarter century with membership of many programs that didn’t have scholarship football, decided to add football to its sanctioned sports. For several years, the league languished as the weakest Division 1-A and later FBS conference. Teams left the league to join what was then a stronger Conference USA.

About five years ago, the league began to rapidly improve. Not only did it become the equal of Conference USA, when a couple of programs became really good, the SBC left CUSA in its rear view mirror and then passed the Mid-American Conference. The league planned to expand to 14 teams next year, but an 11th hour decision brought Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Mississippi into the league this year. Additionally, James Madison makes its FBS debut. This league has the potential to improve to the point where it is the equal of the Mountain West and American Athletic Conferences.

Sun Belt PiRate Ratings–Preseason

East Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
Georgia St.99.298.4102.5100.0
Appal. St.96.198.098.997.7
Coastal Car.92.794.194.993.9
Marshall91.392.792.092.0
J. Madison87.189.092.089.4
Old Dominion89.389.389.489.3
Ga. Southern86.585.987.086.5
West Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
Louisiana95.896.298.496.8
Troy90.690.891.991.1
South Alabama85.285.586.485.7
Southern Miss.85.085.585.185.2
UL-Monroe82.182.681.482.0
Texas St.80.381.281.380.9
Arkansas St.80.081.680.580.7
Sun Belt88.789.390.189.4

Sun Belt Conference Official Media Poll

Votes
#East1st PlaceOverall
1Appalachian St.1094
2Coastal Carolina277
3Georgia St.168
4Marshall062
5Georgia Southern135
6James Madison031
7Old Dominion025
#West1st PlaceOverall
1Louisiana1295
2South Alabama279
3Troy076
4Texas St.041
5Southern Miss.040
6Arkansas St.037
7UL-Monroe024

The PiRate Ratings are meant to be used to predict the outcomes of games being played in the week that they are released and updated. They are not really meant to look forward past the next week of games, but nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records for the league.

EastSBCOverall
Appalachian St.7-19-4
Georgia St.7-18-4
Coastal Carolina6-28-4
Old Dominion6-26-6
Marshall3-56-6
James Madison3-55-6
Georgia Southern2-64-8
WestSBCOverall
Louisiana8-012-1
Troy5-36-6
South Alabama3-55-7
Southern Miss.3-54-8
UL-Monroe2-63-9
Texas St.1-73-9
Arkansas St.1-73-9

Louisiana picked to beat Appalachian St. in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game.

August 13, 2021

Conference USA Preview

If you are new to the PiRate Ratings, we have three different ratings, which are basically three different algorithms calculated using identical data.  The PiRate and Bias are closely correlated.  The Mean is a bit of an outlier.  The differences in the three ratings’ algorithms are designed to catch different outcomes in a season.  In some years, trends make one rating better than the others.  In some years, all three ratings move in lockstep and appear to be nearly identical.  Additionally, the process for updating the three different ratings differs for each one.  The PiRate has the most conservative updating formula, while the Bias has the most liberal updating formula.  The Mean has an average updating formula.

Wow!  It feels like last week, Alabama was toying with Ohio State to win the 2020-21 FBS National Championship!  If it feels like August 13th came about two months quicker than normal, maybe it has more to do with the fact that updating the PiRate Ratings was a much more involved process this Spring and Summer.  The issues with Covid totally messed up the 2020 season, and the new Transfer Portal led to players leaving school as late as July and waiting until the end of July to choose their new school, so updating the ratings became a two-fold process.  The old way of updating the ratings took place between Memorial Day Weekend and Mid-July.  Then, from Mid-July to last week, we had to perform a new update where, in essence, we had to treat about 165 of the top transfers as lost starters to their old team and as new starters to their new team.  

These 165 players represented 4293 basis points, or to put it into something meaningful to you, 4293 basis points in our ratings’ algorithms account for about 61.3 power rating points, give or take a point or two.  82 different FBS teams had a gain or loss of basis points from at least one player move involving these teams.  48 teams did not have a gain or loss of basis points, with 47 having no meaningful player movement, while the 48th team had a net of 0 basis points from their gain of a player and loss of a player where the players were basically of equal talent.

If you follow our ratings, you probably know that our 130 teams always average 100.0, as 100.0 is par.  When you see a team ranked at 111.3, that means they are 11.3 points better than the average team.  If a team is ranked at 92.8, that means they are 7.2 points weaker than the average team.  Thus, if there are 130 teams, and 100 is par, the grand total of team ratings must be 13,000.  So, if 82 teams had their ratings altered by a total of 61.3 points, the other 48 teams had to have their ratings altered as well so that the total was 13,000.  Those 61.3 points were not all in the same direction.  32.6 points came from improvement, while 28.7 points came from weakening.  The grand total of -3.9 points had to be distributed to the other 48 teams.  Basically 39 teams lost one tenth of a point, while the best nine teams of the 48 stayed stat.

Today, we begin previewing our first FBS conference.  Coming in at 11th place (last place) among the conferences is Conference USA.  Once considered an improved version of the Sun Belt Conference, CUSA has fallen several notches behind their Southern Group of 5 rival.  

In July, CUSA held its annual preseason meeting, and the media voted their preseason picks.  Here it is:

2021 CUSA Football Preseason Poll

EAST DIVISION

  1. Marshall (17)
  2. Florida Atlantic (6)
  3. WKU (1)
  4. Charlotte
  5. Middle Tennessee
  6. FIU
  7. Old Dominion

WEST DIVISION

  1. UAB (15)
  2. UTSA (9)
  3. Louisiana Tech
  4. Southern Miss
  5. Rice
  6. North Texas
  7. UTEP

How does this compare to the PiRate Ratings?  Take a look at our preseason ratings.

Conference USA
East Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
Marshall93.493.493.693.4
Florida Atlantic86.788.687.887.7
Middle Tennessee83.483.184.783.7
Western Kentucky81.783.682.882.7
Charlotte78.879.680.279.5
Florida Int’l.77.978.980.179.0
Old Dominion71.271.971.271.4
West Division
TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
U A B95.495.294.995.2
U T S A94.094.593.493.9
Rice87.087.187.387.1
Louisiana Tech86.987.485.286.5
Southern Miss.83.385.284.584.4
North Texas82.181.781.481.7
U T E P76.377.274.476.0
CUSA Averages84.184.884.484.4

While the PiRate Ratings are designed only to estimate the result of each team’s next game, we issue predicted standings every year just for fun.  Just because a team is ranked ahead of another, it doesn’t mean we are predicting them to win.  Our ratings have built in alterations to every team’s power rating based on depth and experience.  A team lacking depth may see their power rating fall as the season goes along, and we perceive that these poor depth teams will begin to show fatigue.  Likewise, a team with a lot of talent but low experience may see their power rating rise as the season goes along, and we perceive that these lesser experienced players gain enough experience for the game to slow down to them.

Here are our predicted won-loss records for CUSA.

CUSA EastConf.Overall
Marshall6-28-5
Florida Atlantic6-28-4
Florida Int’l.4-45-7
Western Kentucky4-45-7
Middle Tennessee3-55-7
Old Dominion0-81-11



CUSA West

Conf.

Overall
UTSA7-110-3 *
UAB7-18-4
Rice6-27-5
Louisiana Tech6-27-5
Southern Miss.3-54-8
UTEP1-73-9

UTSA picked to win CUSA Championship Game

December 2, 2020

The Process Behind Hiring A Football Coach

What you are about to read is a compilation of the coaching search-hiring process as told to me by multiple people in multiple states with multiple schools over the course of 20 years. I have pieced this information together to attempt to show you a behind-the-scenes look at how a college football coaching search takes place. This cannot be set in stone as the only way it is done, but this is a comprehensive story based on actual events to allow you to get a feel for how it works. I have created the names for the characters, all of whom are based on multiple real life sports personnel. No individual is totally represented here. In other words, if this story was about a great pitcher from yesteryear, one character might be partially based on Lefty Grove, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Spud Chandler, and Bobo Newsom, while another character might be partially based on Allie Reynolds, Whitey Ford, Carl Erskine, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Warren Spahn.
I have tried to present it in the fashion of the Dragnet TV series–just the facts, where the story you are about to read is based on true events, with the names changed to protect the writer and the insider friends that told him about these events.

This is the city, Springfield, USA. It’s a bit polluted and way overcrowded. It was Sunday, November 15. I was working the day watch with the Evening Star. My name is Saturday; I carry a press pass. Cue the intro music…..


Announcer: The story you are about to read is true, but based on several different incidents put together to make it something that would have brought an approving wink from Jack Webb.

The big university in town had just suffered a major defeat, and the fans and alumni were very unhappy. Promised donations were threatened; the big boosters demanded change, and the school, needing their seedling support, had to listen. Additionally, every sports talk show in Springfield spent large blocks of time telling the listening audience how terrible the football team at Big U had become since Coach Bob Fumbleton had come on board. Additionally, Athletic Director Terry Twoface, knew that if immediate improvement in the program in some form or another didn’t change the malaise, that he too would be out of work.


AD Twoface had thought long and hard about firing Coach Fumbleton the year before, but the prohibitive buyout was a major issue, and he decided that giving Fumbleton an extra year to turn things around would be the better option, especially when Coach Hugh Loveme was quickly gobbled up by Franklin State. Loveme was the only real needle-moving gem last year.


Twoface now has a year to begin doing the background work on potential candidates for the Big U football job should Coach Fumbleton suffer another losing season. He gives the coach a public vote of confidence, even though privately, he has begun his coaching search for the following year if Fumbleton doesn’t turn things around.


During the season, it becomes obvious that Fumbleton has taken the Big U program backwards a little more and has not turned the program in the right direction. Twoface has been doing his homework. He has monitored all the potential up and coming coaches that would definitely be interested in coming to Big U if the job was available.
During the year, Twoface puts out feelers to a handful of choice sports agents, the guys that represent multiple head and assistant coaches. The agents are an incredible source. The ones with dozens of clients know which ones are ready to tackle a job like Big U. They have to know this, because if they recommend a lemon to an AD, the AD might not contact him the next time there is a job opening at the school.


Super agent, Jordan Fasttalker, is the reigning king of college coaches in the Springfield area and surrounding countryside. He has a stable full of thoroughbreds ready to become college head coaches. Three of them are just exactly what Big U needs–they are the opposite of Fumbleton. Fumbleton was a defensive wizard as the DC at the former national champions plus three years as head coach at a Group of 5 team, where he went 27-9 before getting the Big U job.


In order, Agent Fasttalker believes that Coach Green, Coach Brown, and Coach Gold are his three best prospects for Big U. He has other clients that want the job, but he has a reputation at stake and cannot take a gamble with some of his less experienced clients that he feels aren’t ready for the Big U job. Fasttalker lets Twoface know that these are the three he should look at during the season. All three have recruiting experience in Springfield’s conference as well as the talent-rich states that send a lot of big-time prospects to teams in that league. All three come from the offensive side of the ball, as they were offensive coordinators at major programs before their current job. Coach Green is OC for a two-time conference champion from a P5 school, and his team pulled off that big upset of the number one team last year in that ABC nationally televised game. Coach Brown has the top offense in college football, and he’s in the process of going 10-2 at a G5 school that hasn’t had a 10-win season ever and only had four years with eight or more wins. Coach Gold was the head coach at a Power 5 school for four years, and he went 25-25 in a rebuild that wasn’t enough to satisfy that school. After he was fired, he became OC at a big program and restored their offensive prowess. He then took a job as an offensive coach in the NFL and did admirable work but realized he would rather be coaching in college and wants another chance to show that he can be a head coach.


Twoface monitors these three coaches all through September, October, and November. He also has a list of five or six additional coaches from two other agents, giving him a working list of eight or nine. He knows by October that he is going to have to make the coaching change, hoping he can save his own job in the process. As rumors begin to fly that Coach Fumbleton is going to lose his job, Twoface has to do his best doublespeak not to answer any questions or imply something one way or the other. This is actually a sign to the agents and coaches that Fumbleton is already two steps out the door and knows it.


At this point, other coaches not in the mix of the group being monitored contact their agents to tell them to shop their name with Big U. A couple of these candidates may be total surprises to Twoface when their agents drop feelers about them. Twoface isn’t interested in a dozen of the names that come to him, but when he sees an email come to his email address at 6:05 AM from Agent Daman asking him what he thought about Coach Charles Prince at Formerchampion Tech, he’s intrigued and immediately returns the email at 6:08 AM. Agent Daman knows this is super important. When he sends an email about one of his coach clients, most of the time, there is no reply at all. To get a reply three minutes later at this time of the morning means, get hold of Coach Prince before he can get into coaching staff meetings to tell him that he might be able to get him a major pay raise, either by staying at Formerchamp Tech or by getting a fresh start at Big U. Springfield is a much better city for a family, and Coach Prince’s family has felt like outsiders the entire time they’ve lived in Champville. The fans at Formerchamp have not been happy with Prince’s three consecutive 10-3 seasons since going 14-1 four years ago. They have raised expectations much too high for their school, which isn’t exactly the best place to build a program.


AD Twoface now has a list of 12-15 candidates as he takes his kids Trick or Treating on Halloween. As he walks his kids from door to door, he’s thinking in his head that he is going to have to cut the list to 7 or 8 candidates, but he might need some help. Officially, the job still belongs to Fumbleton, but the industry has already begun spinning the wheels, and it is obvious to those in the know that Fumbleton will be collecting a nice fat check to stay home next year.


After Big U loses by 5 touchdowns to a league rival on November 14, the school president contacts Twoface to tell him that he has received considerable communication from people that matter, the big donors, about the football job. Twoface, who has kept the president in the loop for the past year, knew this call would come after this game, because months ago, they determined that if a change was to be made, it would be made before the end of the football season. Because 7-10 other schools would soon be making coaching changes, Big U wanted to be a priority before some of the prospects on Twoface’s list took other jobs.


So, on Sunday, November 15, Twoface sent for Coach Fumbleton. Twoface had been patting Fumbleton on the back all year and kept telling him that there was time to turn things around, which is why he got another year. Now, twoface has a glum look on his face as Fumbleton enters his office and sinks into the chair that makes him look 6 inches smaller than Twoface, who’s plush chair sits on a platform that makes him out to be a lord.


Fumbleton knows immediately that he has reached his expiration date at Big U. Twoface tells Fumbleton that the President, the board, and the big donors are all in agreement that it is time the school moves in another direction. He assures Fumbleton that the school attorneys and his agent will work through all the details, and they will honor the terms of the previous contract. Later, the attorneys will offer the agent a deal where if the coach accepts a smaller buyout than what was in the contract that they will ignore the clause that cancels the buyout should the coach take any other job with another school or an NFL team. So, rather than pay the $14.5 million left on the contract over the next four years, if Coach Fumbleton will take $8.7 million over those four years, then he can keep it all and look for another job without forfeiting the buyout. Fumbleton’s agent will urge him to agree to this, or else he better not plan on coaching college football again.


The narrator at the Evening Star working the day watch is one of the best at his business. He has a nice expense account where the secretaries, janitor, interns, and other people inside the coaching offices receive nice little gifts from time to time. Coach Fumbleton’s secretary, Della Delight, got a free ticket center stage to the Dreamy Danny concert at the Springfield Convention Hall. She was so close to Dreamy Danny that his sweat struck her right cheek. She is indebted to our Evening Star crack reporter. Three minutes after Coach Fumbleton comes out to inform our lovely secretary that he has just been dismissed as head coach. He asks her to help interim head coach David Nochance out for the final two games, and then he tells her that he will give her any reference she needs for a new job if the next coach does not retain her. Della isn’t naive. She knew months ago that Fumbleton was walking dead at Big U. Her first action is to call our ace reporter at the Evening Star to give him the scoop. Before Fumbleton can get to his car to leave Big U, ace reporter breaks the story, and within four minutes, the news has gone viral.


That’s not the end of our ace reporter’s actions. All year, he has also been wining and dining Twoface’s secretary Sheila Shorthand. Sheila has to do all the correspondence for Twoface, because Twoface delegates that tedious work to her. Sheila knows what’s going on, and she can tell our ace reporter the names of all the potential candidates that Twoface has been considering for the last year; she’s even seen that email from Coach Prince’s agent. Because ace reporter doesn’t want to make it obvious that he’s gotten this inside information from Sheila, as it will cost Sheila her job, he throws in some ringers that are not on the list but maybe should be. In a couple of cases, some of the coaches that are ringers have asked him (or their agents have asked) to put their names out there to help them get a raise at their current school or to hope that they can get added late to the list.


The school planned to announce the Fumbleton firing later in the day, but ace reporter forced the issue by breaking the news. So, they have to issue a public statement earlier than they wanted to do so, but it’s no big deal–it happens every time!


Within 48 hours, every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the sports world, be it on radio, tv, or newspaper, or internet, gives their list of candidates. The fans respond, and this actually is monitored by officials at Big U. If Coach X is greatly out of favor, and the fans say that they won’t buy tickets or support the program, Coach X loses some rating points in the process. If there is a groundswell of support for any candidate or candidates that are already on the private list, this is noted. After all, these schools are in business to make money (and you thought it was about education). Football is a lucrative industry, and coaches are like their salesforce. If the customers dislike the salesforce, they don’t buy.


Now, the AD forms a blue-ribbon panel of important people to Big U. The school president has his own emissary on this blue-ribbon panel. They begin meeting Monday night to decide on how the process will go, and they agree that they need to have their man signed before December 7, because Fumbleton has a nice commitment list in the next recruiting class, and hiring a coach by the 7th gives him 10 days to convince the prospects to sign, as well as the time to rescind the offers to recruits he doesn’t want and offer some recruits from his previous school to switch to Big U. It’s a tough dog-eat-dog business, and that’s how it goes. Even 18 year old kids get their hopes crushed in the process.


On that first Monday night, they decide to narrow their list to five candidates and then hire the Bean Search Firm to do the leg work and perform background checks and get third-party opinions on each of the candidates. Before the panel narrows the list to five, they have to get a reassurance that each of the five will agree to interview for the job if they are on the list. This is just a verification, because their agents have already indicated that their clients’ want the Big U job.


On this Monday night, any last-second additions to this list of about a dozen prospects are made. It could be that Marty Moneybags happens to have a contact at Jefferson and Lincoln University, and they know that Coach Thomas Abraham has been wanting to get out of J & L because he feels like he has reached the limit of what he can do there. Abraham was never on the list of possibilities, because Twoface had no idea that he would have an interest. Then, he looks in his file and finds an email from Abraham’s agent, so he knows this is real.


The blue-ribbon panel meets on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and on Wednesday night, a representative from Bean Search Firm is there. Exhaustive notes are taken, and by the time the panel adjourns on Wednesday night, they have narrowed the list that had grown to 14 down to nine. On Thursday morning, Twoface meets one on one with the Bean representative telling him all the parameters Big U wants to follow in this process. He tells the Bean guy that by the weekend, he will have five names for him to include, and Bean has him sign a contract with a flat fee for the search. In this case, the five-person debrief will cost Big U a quarter million dollars. Twoface doesn’t bat an eye and agrees to the price, as Bean is the penultimate search firm. The last three national champions were coached by candidates that Bean had helped schools sign.


On Saturday, Big U looks their worst of the season for their interim coach. A lot of the players have signed out and just go through the motions, most notably the linebacker that played like a matador all day. He won’t even suit up for the finale against Big U’s rival the following Saturday. Meanwhile, Twoface is busy in his office. He’s making phone calls to all the contacts he trusts. He talks to alums not on the panel. He talks with two of the panel members, basically the two that are competent to be in the loop. By Sunday morning, after a workout and jog, Twoface informs the school President, and the school’s top football benefactor the five names he is leaning toward. The President doesn’t know a flanker back from a cornerback, so he just wants to see that progress has been made. He is really competent at reading others, and he sees the approval in the eyes and voice of the big benefactor. When the big benefactor praises Twoface on this list, Twoface’s job is now secure for another couple years. He then contacts the Bean guy and gives him the list of five.


The media tries desperately at this time to get inside information, but at this point, they can get defense plans from the Pentagon easier than they can get this list of names. They can only guess, and of course, if they throw out enough names, they are going to get all five finalists from among a list of 20 candidates. The old-timers know how things work, and maybe one or two of the media members can do in his head what the panel has done. There are a very few clever media members that can replicate what the panel has done and maybe come up with three or four of the five finalists. The rest are just guessing. Some will claim to have inside information, but at this point, even Della doesn’t have this information, and if anything really leaked, it would be easy enough to discover the leaker.


Now, on some occasions, some Twoface might leak a name or two as trial balloons by having a surrogate claim to have inside information, which in this case, he does. Twoface wants to see what the reaction is when third-party Tommy gives this information to Football Rumors Online, and there are comments made by qualified football personnel (not fans). Maybe, some retired coach or NFL expert will make a comment that one of the coaches on that list is the best at preparing a QB for the NFL. Maybe a news outlet will report that another coach is on the verge of taking a different job. Anything that can help Twoface move one candidate ahead of the other is considered.


After three days of exhaustive research, the Bean company gives Twoface a preliminary report on their work. They begin recommending a pecking order based on the criteria that does not include coaching ability or recruiting competence. They tell Twoface who is ready to be an administrator and excellent manager of other coaches. They tell Twoface all the positive and negative things about each candidate.


Two days later, Bean has now had communications with all five finalists. They give this information to Twoface and make their recommendations one through five. Twoface now relays all this information to the panel, and now the President is in the room as well. He gives the go ahead to conduct interviews with the top four on the list, eliminating number five.

At this time, candidate number three has interviewed for a different school, and his agent informs Twoface that if he wants the coach, an offer needs to come in the next 48 hours. Because he’s third out of four on the list, Twoface cannot do this, so the list is now down to three.


Twoface and two others he values meet with each of the final three candidates in a secret location not in Springfield and not in the coachs’ current city of residence. A high quality hotel in a major city that doesn’t draw any connections to Twoface or the coach flying there has a private room where the employees have no clue who is meeting. On rare occasions, some bellhop or desk clerk will recognize that Coach so and so was seen at the hotel that afternoon, and he was not meeting with a woman if you know what I mean. He will contact his favored media member to try to become an important person and tell the guy that he saw Coach so and so meeting with somebody in the suite on the 11th floor.


At this point, the smart media person that got the scoop will look into his files and find that Coach so and so uses Michael Makemerich is his agent. He calls Makemerich later in the day to see if the story is true. Makemerich knows it is not wise to lie or try to deny it. So, he confirms that his client met with Big U earlier in the day and then asks him to do him a favor in return and parse the news to make it not hurt if the client is not the chosen candidate.


So, when you hear that a certain coach is talking with Big U, don’t take that as gospel that he is their selected choice. He’s just one of a host of candidates. If the media guy wants a long career where he gets other scoops, he will sit on this information. If that particular candidate gets the job, then the agent will contact him first to give him the best scoop of all–the accurate one.


After conducting the interviews, Twoface now quickly meets with the Panel, the school President, and now the legal team is involved as well, because a contract has to be drawn up on quick notice once the school offers the job to one of the candidates and then gets a positive reply. At this point, the school needs to have set parameters in place to begin as a negotiating midpoint between the legal team and the agent.


There might be another interview process with the top two choices, because they are 1A and 1B in the process. If not, there is a day where nothing happens, so that the candidates not in the mix at this point can officially pull out of the search to help them save face and not hurt them at their current position.


Sandwiched in this action is Big U’s final game against their heated rival. Big U plays a valiant effort and loses a close game to finish the season. Now, all attention turns to the new reality that is to come.


Usually by this time, the media has figured it out. If there were five serious candidates, and four of them have pulled out, then the one that hasn’t pulled out is about to become the new coach. The only thing that can affect this is if the chosen candidate pulls out at the 11th hour. Then, the school has to backtrack and try to get one of the coaches that pulled out to push back in.


Most of the time, the coaches that get this far are serious about taking the job. There won’t be any surprises at this point. The panel meets one final time to come to 100% agreement that they have their choice. The President signs off on the choice, and then Twoface or the President makes the call to the agent that they want his candidate. In many instances, there is a three-way call to the agent and the candidate to officially offer him the job.


At this point, 99% of the time, the response is favorable, but nobody knows it outside of the participants in the phone call. Before it can be made official, the legal aspects of the job have to be hammered out, and the agent has to sign off on the entire contract as the coach’s representative. This can take 24-48 hours. This is when the news of the real candidate can be leaked, because it is hard to hide this final dead period between when the offer is made, and the contract is signed.


Now, it becomes that wonderful time of the year known as airplane flight monitoring. It has become as loved as watching the NFL Draft. Fans of the school know the twin-engine jet that the school uses to pick up its coaches and bring them to Springfield. They begin following the flight plans daily to see where that plane is headed. It might make 10 trips in the final fortnight. Three of those trips happen to coincidentally be to cities near where some of the coaches on the list live. None of these flights have a thing to do with the football coaching search. Maybe, eventually, somebody will notice that the plane makes a stop in Tinytown USA on the way back from Boca Raton and stops for two hours before returning to Springfield. Maybe one or two people will figure it out that the plane is carrying two additional passengers, namely a coach and his wife from the university 20 miles away from Tinytown Airport. They will go on their school’s media fansite forum and break the news that they think Coach so and so is on the flight. This guy will become the big man on the forum for correctly predicting the coach.


The media will get wind of the hire about 12-24 hours before the announcement is official. The school likes this, because it gives the media time to digest the news and make helpful commentary on the hire. It will also help recruits know who the school plans to hire, and it will create extra enthusiasm.


The school then makes the announcement that they have hired a coach, and that they will formally introduce Coach so and so at a press conference at 2:00 PM.

And in the end, it is a surprise to so many that Coach Charles Prince is the new savior. He didn’t even become known as a potential candidate until that bellhop saw him in the hotel. That one sports forum fan, the smart guy that should be doing something important instead of wasting his time on fan forums, was considered a kook when he correctly guessed the right coach. Now that he got it right, everybody on the forum takes credit for knowing it was going to be him all along.

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