Not that anyone didn't see this coming but the departure at the end of the year of Ty WIllingham will do a lot of good for the Pac-10. Putting aside all the talk of how great a person and how honorable a person he is the change is a good thing form a football standpoint.
Things will change that's for sure...
Willingham did not consider resigning.
"It's just not in my makeup," he said.
Willingham has a year remaining on the contract he signed in 2004 after being fired by Notre Dame. He will receive a $1-million buyout, Woodward said.
Willingham is 4-9 against USC in stops at Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington.
"He's got to be sick about it because he set his sights on turning this thing this year," said Trojans Coach Pete Carroll, who is 6-1 against Willingham. "I'm sure it's a crusher for him.
"The other side of it, I expect, is . . . [the Huskies are] going to come out firing and try to do everything they can with the most emotional effort to try and show how they're not happy with that."
So, now the speculation begins... who is interested and who is realistic at taking over this program?
The first name that came to my mind (and I'm sure everyone else's) is Lane Kiffin and he has openly expressed interest in the job.
Ex-Raiders coach Lane Kiffin has expressed interest in the opening at the University of Washington just hours after the school announced Tyrone Willingham will not return next season.
"The University of Washington is a great job, one that I'm sure a lot of people have an interest in," Kiffin told the Associated Press while watching Monday Night Football at his home in the Bay Area.
I'm sure Jim Mora, Jr. will be a candidate as he expressed interest before but I don't see that happening. UW needs a coach who is either in the college ranks like a Chris Peterson, Brian Kelly, or DeWayne Walker or a coach not far removed form the college ranks with a solid track record like Lane Kiffin. They need to hit the ground running and need to get out on the reruiting trail to nab some talent. Thats what its going to take, simple as that.
With the Pac-10 taking a lot of crticism for being down this season this is a chance for good program to get on the right track. When you look at it closely most of the Pac-10 outside of USC, CAl and Oregon has teams that have shown marked improvement Stanford, Arizona and Oregon St. come to mind. UCLA will get better with Neuheisel at the helm, he has won before so he will find a way to make the baby blues respectable again. For all of their promise last season ASU has backslid this year but again they a coach in Dennis Erickson that knows how to win so it will take some time.
The Washington schools have been the millstone around the conference's neck the past few seasons and they need to get better in order for the Pac-10 better. WSU has a new coach in Paul Wulff but his issues have more to do with cleaning up the mess left by Bill Doba due to losing a number of scholarships, so it will take some time for Wulff to get his players in place. WIllingham has a lot of experience but he has not been able to turn that experience into success at either Notre Dame or UW.
The college game is different today than it was four years ago. There is a lot more exposure of the sport. Blogs, internet radio shows and TV shows like College Football Live now look at the sport with the hope of disecting every little bit of information so with all that information out there the fan base is much more informed and with that come high expectations for individual programs. RIght now UW is simply an after thought and they want to change that.
This also means that Pete Carroll is going to have to keep on his toes especially if Kiffin takes the job becasue he really knows how to recruit and he still has all of his old contacts.
Its going to be interesting...