Patterson shuffle rumors will continue with Frogs’ success

At the close of every college football season the rumors start flying, the coaches shuffle around and sports fans everywhere are on the edge of their seats hoping their coach won’t be next.

At the end of the 2009 season, the news at the forefront of college sports was Pete Carroll’s resignation at USC.

Carroll’s new coaching position with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks left a big hole for the Trojans to fill and a lot of nervous college football fans across the country.

When Lane Kiffin was named the new head coach for USC, the rumors struck close to home. ESPN Radio was reporting that Tennessee officials were in Fort Worth and commotion was stirring.

After following up on these allegations nothing materialized. TCU officials reported that the rumors were false and Tennessee went on to hire Derek Dooley from Louisiana Tech.

Doesn’t this all feel a little too familiar?

After the 2008 season similar rumors flew around regarding an open coaching position at Kansas State, Patterson’s alma mater. Once again, the rumors led to nothing and Patterson extended his contract to 2016 at the end of the 2009 season, although it is reportedly non-binding.

Why would a coach making good money with a top-10 team leave for another program? And why does this keep happening?

The facts are that Patterson is a good coach with a winning a weak conference. Although the Mountain West finished the 2009 campaign with a lot of bowl wins and a lot more national press, it doesn’t change the fact that they aren’t part of the BCS.

But some coaches in non-BCS conferences may not have such a bad thing going.

Take Dan Hawkins, head coach of the University of Colorado Buffaloes, for instance.

While serving as head coach for Boise State in the WAC, another non-BCS conference, Hawkins racked up a 53-11 record, two WAC coach of the year awards, four WAC titles, and the longest win streak in WAC history with 31 straight in conference play.

In December 2005, Hawkins got called up to the big leagues with a head coaching position at Colorado in the Big 12. In his four seasons at Colorado, the Buffaloes have accumulated a not-so-shiny record of 16-33, going 10-22 in conference.

Despite the fumbles of the past several years, Hawkins will return as Buffs head coach for another season in 2010.

A similar situation resulted in a less than favorable outcome for former head coach of the Big East’s Louisville Cardinals, Steve Kragthorpe.

Kragthorpe achieved major success at Tulsa, part of Conference USA, taking over a team with a losing record and leading them to a conference title and three bowl games.

Kragthorpe became head coach at Louisville in 2007, entering an ideal situation with the Cardinals who were coming off an Orange Bowl win the previous season, returning a Heisman finalist quarterback and starting off with a No. 10 ranking.

But as head coach of the Cardinals, Kragthorpe’s credibility plummeted. His overall record was 15-21 at Louisville, going 5-16 in the Big East.

He was fired as head coach, with a generous $2.2 million buyout in November 2009 after the completion of a 4-8 season with record-low game attendance.

These coaches can make the magic happen in smaller programs but fail to recreate it under the spotlight in BCS conferences.

We can’t forget Urban Meyer though, who achieved success at both levels. Florida is 57-10 under Meyer with two national championship wins to show for it, and he came from the Mountain West Conference’s Utah, where he took the Utes to a BCS bowl game win and a 22-2 record in two seasons.

But for every Urban Meyer, there is a Kragthorpe and a Hawkins. So what does this mean to TCU?

The Patterson rumors will continue to fly as long at TCU keeps winning and the Mountain West remains a non-BCS conference. What big school wouldn’t want a head coach who took a MWC school to the top 5? But Looking at the facts it is clear that, in most cases, for the magic to happen it takes the right team at the right time in the right place.

For Patterson, it seems that TCU is the right team in the right place, right now. So bring on the magic.