Let me start by saying this is meant as a football only thread regarding the most fascinating coaching search in human history (or close to it, anyway). Has anyone else been following this?
For nearly 2 months, PSU has been searching for a head coach. Here are my thoughts, in order of certainty.
100%- PSU has been completely messing with the media. They (the media) know absolutely nothing, and I laugh every time a new name is mentioned. Tom Clements! Uh-huh. Bill O'Brien! Sure.
95%- I am this sure they already have the guy pegged, have had him pegged for weeks, and I'm equally certain we have still not heard the actual name of the new coach. He's not been "hired" yet, but that's more a technicality. I do not believe they've waivered throughout the entire process. This is remarkable considering today's age.
Sidebar- There is a guy who is confirmed to work for PSU, a lawyer who is involved in contract negotiations. He is currently leaking all of the info that he can, although no names are being mentioned per a confidentiality agreement everyone has signed. He said he has drawn up 4 different contracts. There is a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A is a big name, is a very known commodity, and is not an assistant. He labeled that person as 85% certain to be a done deal. They did not want to do anything prior to the conclusion of that coaches bowl game, or PSU's bowl game. The coach is sold, but the family has some reservations which the committee is now working to eliminate them. His belief is that everything is ago for that coach to accept. Their plan B is fully aware that he is the plan B and is ok with that. He is a bigger risk, and has more "unknowns" about him. They were reworking his contract this morning, but he seems to be all in if plan A happens to back out. He made it clear that they have had zero trouble finding people interested in the job, and that if it weren't for the confidentiality agreement, he would have leaked the name to the media weeks ago. (FWIW, this lawyer also said he liked how Chris Petersen lied to Boise about PSU's interest to get a bigger deal from them)
Plan B very well could be Tom Clements, Bill O'Brien, or Greg Roman, but I'd be surprised if any of those three are the actual fall back. PSU is willing to commit $5 million per into the new football coach, and supposedly Nike is willing to supply even more if needed, with the highest total number being $8 million, which is 2.8 more than the current highest paid coach. I actually think Mike Munchak is still in play as Plan B, and Jon Gruden is also a possibility, although it's tough to see him accepting a Plan B label.
Considering the risk of losing millions of dollars in revenue per year if the program falls off with a "project", and the money that's been endowed by a donor (possibly Ira Lubert, an uber-successful businessman who has played an equal role to AD Dave Joyner in the search), I'm convinced it's a big name, and one that has yet to be mentioned in connection with the program.
85%- Timing will help in deciphering who the coach is more than someone leaking a name. A meeting has been scheduled with all staff, as well as a meeting with players only for Friday. Nothing will come out prior to then. If they announce it prior to the end of this week, as I said in the chat, I'm 85% certain it's Mark Richt. Wxwax is in Georgia country and disputed this, but I'll stick by my thoughts. Another small, out there possibility is Bob Stoops, and while I don't see that as being likely, I am that convinced it's a big time, off the radar hire.
33%- If the announcement bleeds over to next week, then some other more interesting names come into play. If they decide to wait until after the national championship, then I think it's an even fight between who the next guy is. It would be possible Richt is still mulling it over, but I'll take the gigantic limb and say that Nick Saban or Les Miles are suddenly in play.
For Saban, his dad was great friends with Paterno, he grew up going to games in Happy Valley, and has stated in the past that PSU would be his dream job. The money is there, as Nike is willing to cough up $3 million in addition to the $5 million the school can offer. I've seen his possible deal at 6 years $48 million, making him the highest paid college coach by 60%. Saban is driven to challenges, and if he wins a 2nd at Alabama, this challenge, coupled with the fact that he could be the only coach to say he patrolled the sidelines of both Bear and JoePa means that it actually may make some sense.
With Les Miles, it makes less sense on the outside because he turned down his alma mater to stay at LSU. But that Michigan courtship was weird from the get go. Miles relationship with Lloyd Carr had soured, as with most of that staff he worked with under Gary Moeller because he supposedly slept with Moeller's wife (not sure if rumor or confirmed, but that's the story). So there's a thought UM kept his name to appease their fans, even though they were never going to hire him. There's a thought they intentionally leaked his name prior to LSU's previous nat title game to irk him and force him to back off. I'm just saying it's possible he'd like to head back north, compete with Meyer, and stick it to Michigan.
5%- PSU has no idea who they want, and no one wants the job. I personally think this is closer to .1 percent, but I'll cover my bases.
So there it is. With all of the misinformation that's been spewed, I figured I'd share what I know. I fully expect to get ripped for this, but I'm just piecing the info together. It's been so long, at this point it makes infinitely more sense for it to be a big name, as I suspect, than for it to be a random NFL coordinator with little to no college experience. If I'm wrong, so be it, but I don't think I am, and I'm willing to post this for all to see, and then rip me for months afterward. Either way, it's really been interesting how the media has been completely toyed with, and how remarkably silent PSU's been able to keep everything.