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Odds Posted on Louisville’s Next Coach: Who Is a Real Contender?

Nov 13, 2018 4:04 PM EST
  • Several days after Louisville fired Bobby Petrino, sportsbooks are posting odds on the Cardinals' next head coach.
  • Purdue's Jeff Brohm is the favorite to land at his alma mater, following by Troy's Neal Brown.

Louisville has a head start on its coaching search after firing Bobby Petrino this weekend, but there’s only one man it wants.

Purdue’s Jeff Brohm.

Brohm is listed as nearly an even-money favorite to get the Louisville job at offshore sportsbook Bovada.

Odds on Louisville’s Next Football Coach

  • Jeff Brohm 10-11
  • Neal Brown 4-1
  • Ryan Day 9-2
  • Brent Venables 6-1
  • Luke Fickell 11-1
  • Dino Babers 12-1
  • Matt Campbell 12-1
  • Jason Candle 16-1
  • Scott Satterfield 16-1

There’s always a good chance the coach ultimately hired isn’t listed in these initial odds because the limits are low and they’re mostly for fun. The books don’t know all that much more than us. But let’s dive into the possibilities.

How Desirable Is This Job?

The Pay

If Louisville can pay what it was paying Petrino (almost $4 million yearly), pretty desirable. That ranks 25th in the country, just ahead of Tennessee, Purdue, Utah and Texas Tech. It’s good money, but it’s not “can’t turn it down money.”

Also, Louisville is paying $14 million to Bobby Petrino for his buyout. Athletic director Tom Zurich got $4.5 million to go away. They’re renovating Cardinal Stadium, Papa John is gone and FBI investigations continue to plague the basketball program. Do they have money left to pay $4 million per?

The Market

How many good jobs will be open this winter? After last year’s insane silly season, not many. Kansas, Maryland and Bowling Green are already available, and Louisville’s a better job than all three.

If a coach on the rise really wants to cash in this year, Louisville may be in luck. It’s a good job, but not a great one.

The Recruiting Base

Louisville has recruited really hard in the south recently — Florida and Georgia in particular. While hiring a coach in Ohio makes sense given the proximity, it’s possible Louisville would rather get someone with ties to the south.

Who Can You Eliminate?

Of the coaches listed, I’m knocking out:

  • Ryan Day (Ohio State offensive coordinator)
  • Dino Babers (Syracuse head coach)
  • Brent Venables (Clemson defensive coordinator)
  • Matt Campbell (Iowa State head coach)

The Athletic reported earlier this year that Day is Ohio State’s coaching-in-waiting should Urban Meyer step down or be fired.

Day is 39-years-old and in the perfect situation — wait it out to get the Ohio State job, and if it doesn’t seem like that will happen anytime soon, jump ship to (likely) a Power 5 job.

I don’t see his stock dropping, since the Buckeyes offense is almost guaranteed to be good given all that talent and Meyer’s history.

Babers will always pique the interest of athletic directors as an offensive mind who’s turned around a non-football school with equal parts passion and innovation. He doesn’t seem to have any regional ties — he’s coached at Eastern Illinois, Bowling Green and now Syracuse.

But why leave Syracuse for Louisville at this juncture? Babers might be the No. 1 target for a bunch of programs this winter, should they make moves. He was linked to the USC job when it came open in 2015, and if Clay Helton gets dumped (a longshot given his buyout), the Trojans will call immediately.

Louisville feels like a lateral move, which is also the case for Campbell, who has Iowa State in a great place right now and could be a big-time job in the next year or two.

Venables has made it clear he loves his situation at Clemson, and it’s gotten to the point where you almost have to believe him. He received the richest contract ever for a defensive coordinator last year (5 years, $11.6 million). If he is ever going to make the jump to being a head coach, I doubt it’s to Louisville, to which he has no ties.

The Real Contenders

Jeff Brohm (Purdue) — 10-11

Brohm is from Louisville, played at Louisville and was an assistant at Louisville for six seasons. He took Purdue, which went 3-30 in Big Ten play prior to his arrival, to a bowl game in Year 1. It makes too much sense.

Louisville paid $14 million to buy out Bobby Petrino, and when you spend that kind of money, you better have a plan in place. Brohm is plan A, B, C and D. I have to think athletic director Vince Tyra believes he has a great shot at landing Brohm, though he’s never been an AD and this is his first coaching search.

Ultimately, I think Brohm ends up with the job, but it’s far from a sure thing, and probably less likely than these odds suggest.

Neal Brown (Troy) — 4-1

If not Brohm, it’s quite possible Louisville’s next coach comes from the Sun Belt.

Brown is from Kentucky and played for the Wildcats for a few seasons (which may not sit well with Louisville fans, but he should be able to recruit the area). He’s 33-15 at Troy and won the Sun Belt last season. This year, he has the Trojans at 8-2 and in position to make another run at the conference title.

Brown is making just $810,000 this year, which he could quadruple by going to Louisville.

Luke Fickell (Cincinnati) — 11-1

Fickell stayed at Ohio State longer than he needed to, and he’s working wonders in his second year at Cincinnati. The Bearcats have just one loss and are recruiting better than just about anyone in the AAC.

Fickell has never coached outside of Ohio, and while the geography seems to make sense, Louisville has recruited the hell out of Florida and Georgia in the last two cycles.

If that’s where the Cardinals want to live, Fickell might not be the guy, and he might be destined for a lower-tier Big Ten job in the next few years, anyway.

Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State) — 16-1

Satterfield has been excellent at App State, but he’s spent a total of three years playing or coaching outside the state of North Carolina in his career. I think he stays in Boone until the UNC job inevitably comes open.

Like Brown, though, he’s making less than $1 million per year. Getting at least triple that is attractive.

Jason Candle (Toledo) — 16-1

Candle was Campbell’s assistant at Toledo before getting promoted when Campbell left for Iowa State. He’s gone 26-12, though his stock might be cooling just a little after a 5-5 start to this year.

Candle has spent most of his coaching career at Toledo and doesn’t have experience recruiting the south. But he does bring some offensive innovation.

He’s not Louisville’s first option, but he should be on a shortlist.

Credit:

Jeff Gorski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jeff Brohm

Follow Steve Petrella on Twitter
@steve_petrella

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