Just what I expected to be posting this morning: 2014 Utah State highlights!
In 2013, Matt Wells' first Utah State team dealt with injury at the quarterback position but still ranked 31st in overall F/+ -- 79th in Off. S&P+ and fifth in Def. S&P+. The Aggies won the MWC Mountain division over Boise State despite playing with a freshman QB.
In 2014, the injuries got almost funny. Quarterbacks got hurt, and then MORE quarterbacks got hurt. Four guys split time at the position, none for more than seven games. No running back rushed for more than 540 yards, and only two receivers caught more than 36 passes. Oh yeah, and USU won 10 games for just the second time in its FBS history, ranking a still respectable 52nd in F/+ -- 77nd in Off. S&P+, 32nd in Def. S&P+.
This season's been odd for the Aggies. It's only had to play two QBs (progress!), and the offense has actually improved to 65th in Off. S&P+ while the defense has held steady at 32nd. But tight losses at Air Force and New Mexico negated the fact that they beat Boise State 52-26 (with massive help from turnovers, yes) and Colorado State, Fresno State, and Wyoming by an average margin of 49-20. The Aggies have been as good as normal but a little more unstable, and they have just a 6-6 record to show for it.
So why are today's Mizzou Links talking about Utah State? Because...
You've waited long enough. The new candidate who we are told will interview with #Mizzou is Utah State head coach Matt Wells— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) December 1, 2015
Coaching searches are hilarious. About five minutes after I posted "Well it looks like Mizzou's down to Matt Rhule and Barry Odom" yesterday morning, Gabe basically posted that Rhule was out. He and Mack Rhoades met on Sunday, and when the meeting was over, Rhule's name was basically crossed out for one reason or another -- either he's completely married to the Temple rebuild, or Rhoades didn't see what he was hoping to see, or ... something. Regardless, Rhule's name immediately seemed to disappear from the list.
Yesterday, Rhoades flew to Colorado to meet with someone, and we found out last night that this was most likely Matt Wells, a 42-year old Gary Pinkel clone (seriously, look at him) with previous assistant coaching experience at Louisville, Navy, New Mexico, and Tulsa and three years in the books at USU. Supposedly Rhoades also stopped in at least one more place before Colorado, too.
Rhoades appears to be doing his due diligence as quickly as possible because the "You've gotta choose Odom or let him go" deadline is fast approaching.
Source in Memphis reaffirms UM will go all in for Barry Odom. He's popular with administration and has support of prominent boosters.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) November 30, 2015
Oh yeah, and...
Have been told #Mizzou was one of five schools to reach out to Mark Richt today. Do not know if he was receptive.— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) December 1, 2015
At the very least, it appears Maryland is also interested in Richt. I doubt Missouri gets too far down this road, simply because of the Odom deadline, but it's a possibility. It's also possible that there's still some other candidate out there Lord knows we didn't know about Matt Wells 12 hours ago.
This is quickly coming to a head. It might, in fact, do so today. Gabe and others have said that Missouri wants to have the new coach in place by midweek, and ... well ... it's Tuesday.
I think Odom's still the guy, but the introduction of a couple of new names last night (Wells, Richt) made things a little more interesting.
Rhoades did take a moment out of his cross-country travels to announce that Mizzou will not be accepting any bowl invitations this year. I feel bad that the career of Kentrell Brothers, Evan Boehm and company ended the way it did, but the team's heart wasn't in a bowl game, and it's quite conceivable that a new coach would have still been building a staff (while some Pinkel assistants began taking other jobs) when the game rolled around. Might have gotten weird. Plus, needless to say, not a ton of Mizzou fans would have been up for another trip to, say, Shreveport. Probably for the best.
Tonight at 8pm:
Mizzou couldn't get a hosting gig in the NCAA Volleyball tournament...
...but it at least finishes the season ranked.