The opening at Troy isn't your average Sun Belt head coaching gig. Whoever replaces Larry Blakeney takes over for a living legend who spent 24 years on the sidelines. The new guy will still coach on Larry Blakeney Field, after all.
Before we get started, obviously these aren't the five worst people on the planet that could get the job. We're not digging through prison records or anything, and of course all these guys would do a much better job than yours truly (I couldn't put up with those damn writers). They're competent coaches with a lot of success, but we're talking about a job paying at least $500,000 a year that's drawn 80+ applications.
If I'm John Hartwell, Troy's athletic director, these resumes make great fodder for office basketball.
1. Gene Chizik
Can't figure out if it's 5-19 at Iowa State or 3-9 at Auburn in 2012 that makes Chizik such a popular name for the Troy job. He actually came in at number one in a poll conducted earlier this season about the position (sample size is overrated).
Sure, there's the Troy-Auburn connection, the only two places Blakeney worked after 1977. The schools aren't far apart as the crow flies. Still, this is a coach with a 38-38 career record, and that includes 14-0 with Gus Malzahn and Cam Newton in 2010.
It's hard to say how motivated Chizik would be as a Sun Belt coach. On top of that Auburn's $7.5 million buyout checks will flow into his mailbox through 2016. You know what that means? Chizik makes more money next year if he doesn't coach Troy, which is probably a good idea.
EDIT: My wife pointed out he looks a little like grumpy cat in that pic.
2. Houston Nutt
A better idea than Chizik, Nutt was successful during a long stint at Arkansas followed by four years at Ole Miss. But it's the same situation. The last time he coached outside of the SEC was 1997, would Nutt really want to start over again when he's pushing 60?
Nutt was rumored for the Arkansas State job last year, by a parody site, and he's now campaigning for the SMU job, which is never a good thing.
A former player's mother described Nutt like this:
"He is a bad man, a bad person."
Let's not and say we did.
3. Ed Orgeron
You might see a pattern here.
Orgeron did an admirable job leading USC to 6-2 down the stretch last season, and this way he could keep coaching the Trojans in L.A. (Lower Alabama). Troy would be anything but boring under Coach O, not only due to his flamboyant personality, but because no one would understand what he's saying.
The Cajun recruits like a mad man and might bring more national exposure to the program than any other name on this list.
Orgeron also went 10-25 at Ole Miss during his only head coaching gig.
Like Nutt, he's talking publicly about a comeback. But if O wasn't successful as a head coach before, why would this time be any different? There's plenty of former P5 coaches toiling away at smaller schools now. Most are fair-to-middling at their new homes and none come to mind who've actually earned a second trip back to the big time (correct me if I'm wrong, faithful comments section).
4. Eddie Gran
Gran's resume looks a little like Orgeron's, only without the failed head coaching gig. Long-time assistant. Recruiting master, journeyman.
He spent 14 seasons working under Tommy Tuberville at Ole Miss and Auburn, and now works for Tuberville again as offensive coordinator at Cincinnati. He's spent most of his 27-year career coaching running backs and special teams, and of course recruiting.
While Gran could work out, there are young guys across the country gunning for their first job as the head man. Some are already top dog at a lower level and want that chance in FBS. Georgia Southern's Willie Fritz? He's been a head coach every year since 1993, starting at the junior college level.
And don't forget, Will Muschamp likely has struggling P5 schools everywhere nervous about hiring an assistant. That could mean a steal of a name for Troy, a Rhett Lashlee, Neal Brown or even Kirby Smart type of hire.
5. This Guy From The Troy Message Boards
Look man, he's got the dedication. Still watching Cheers 20 years after the final episode. Money and loyalty aren't an issue here... though one wonders what he's currently head coach of. Maybe there's somebody better in the other 75 applications.