Proceed with caution in New Year

Originally Published: November 26, 2004
By Rich Podolsky | Special to ESPN Insider
Never have so many big bowl games involved either coaches in their last games, those who have thought about leaving or those who wished they could. Miami (Ohio) lost for its outgoing coach, and Notre Dame couldn't win for its already departed leader. Both Louisville and Boise State heard their coaches' names mentioned for numerous jobs, while Florida bid its old coach goodbye.

The Fiesta Bowl features two coaches – Utah's Urban Meyer and Pittsburgh's Walt Harris – who will be in their last games at their respective schools, having accepted (they think) better jobs. Will they be able to elicit the best from their teams despite all the distractions? Utah also lost its offensive coordinator to UNLV.

In the Orange Bowl, with the BCS title on the line, USC also has had its share of distractions – offensive coordinator Norm Chow was interviewed by one school (Stanford) while being sought out by another (BYU), and assistant Ed Orgeron agreed to take the job at Ole Miss.

How these interviews and coaching moves will affect their respective teams is unclear, but it causes us to proceed with caution on New Year's Day and beyond.

Rich Podolsky

College Football
Since 1989, Chris Fowler has been ESPN's primary college football and men's college basketball studio host. He's anchored College GameDay, the network's award-winning Saturday morning college football preview show, since 1990.