Tommy Bowden is in trouble at Clemson. Thursday’s loss at Wake Forest left no doubt about that. The fact that Bowden actually is still a good coach is no longer
He’ll land on his feet, assuming he still has an inner compass that will move him back to the offensive systems that made him such a hot target at Tulane in the mid 1990s.
But at this rate, the Tigers will be looking for a new football coach at season’s end. Here are 10 guys to keep an eye on:
1. Jim Leavitt, South Florida: Good with the spread option and a respectable staff organizer, he’s stayed true to the Bulls during the past two or three seasons. But with QB Matt Grothe likely to enter the April NFL draft, the timing (and money) could be right for Leavitt to make a move.
2. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest: The gloves have been dropped in the ACC, and Grobe will be seen as fair game by anyone, including Virginia in addition to the Tigers. But given Grobe’s success at Wake, it’d take a ton of money and even more national championship promise to lure him away. Clemson has plenty of money, but it’s no longer a national championship coaching destination.
3. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt: He’s a Clemson man and spent much of his life living in the upstate area. Whether it’s Clemson or somewhere else, Johnson and his staff will get offers to move on at season’s end.
4. Skip Holtz, ECU: No doubt, he’d prefer Notre Dame or maybe even South Carolina or Arkansas under the right circumstances. But what’s done in Greenville is nothing if not a resume builder.
5. Tommy Tuberville, Auburn: He’s almost left before, but his Tiger offense this season is a mirror image of Tommy the Clemson Tiger.
6. Mike Leach, Texas Tech: Sooner or later, somebody will lure Leach out of Lubbock. It’s inevitable.
7. Mack Brown, Texas: This is the longest of long shots, but Mack still loves the North Carolina mountains. He’s got a summer house near Boone. It’s just something to think about as we move along.
8. Chris Petersen, Boise State: He can spread it out, air it out and run it successfully to the weak side.
9. Bill Cowher, CBS: Laugh to your heart’s delight, but Coach Jawbone will get at least a phone call from any school in the general area that’s looking for a coach.
10. Steve Logan, Boston College offensive coordinator: Pound-for-pound, he’s still one of the very best offensive coaches in the business.
11. The field: Which includes David Cutcliffe of Duke, Houston Nutt of Ole Miss, Gary Pinkel of Missouri, Phil Fulmer of Tennessee and Bud Foster of Virginia Tech.