I'm wondering if beleaguered Tennessee fans can find any solace in someone else's misery.
"Hey," Sam from Seymour might say to Roger from Rockwood, "at least we're not North Carolina.''
It wasn't the best of weeks at Tennessee. The athletic director search had to quietly scuttle another potential press conference when Joe Alleva elected to stay at LSU.
It was, however, a worse week in Chapel Hill. Who knew Butch Davis' final win at Carolina would be against Tennessee in the Music City Bowl?
Days after sending Davis to Atlantic Coast Con
ference Media Days to yak about the coming football season, the chancellor fired him, saying he must avoid further tarnishing to the university's reputation.
In each case, the administration appeared hellbent on sticking with a winning coach whose program was charged with major NCAA infractions. At least in Pearl's case, UT reversed field in March, not mid-October.
And, like the Vols, the Tar Heels must eventually get around to hiring a new AD. Dick Baddour announced his resignation, to take effect some time after the school goes before the Committee on Infractions in October.
Presumably, Baddour won't be a candidate for Tennessee's AD job, open since Mike Hamilton stepped aside nearly two months ago.
UT appeared to have already found Hamilton's successor. Twice.
Dan Radakovich of Georgia Tech suddenly fell out of favor when details of Tech's own NCAA problems were aired.
Alleva, Plan B, was believed to be a physical exam away from taking the UT job, but backed out upon discovering his blood ran purple and gold.
UT has acknowledged no interest or offers to either. It has acknowledged only that it prefers a sitting AD, as opposed to a retired coach or a captain of industry.
So, what's Plan C, Vol fans are wondering? The prediction here is that it will be a while before we find out.
Nothing is terribly pressing. All the key coaching hires have been made. Joan Cronan is capable of holding down the fort.
After the Alleva scenario, I doubt UT will rush into the prickly task of wooing another candidate from a big-time school. If you're a sitting AD at a major program, chances are that seat is well padded, covered in the finest leather and too comfortable to abandon without a compelling reason.
Tennessee has pursued relatively big fish twice. Nothing wrong with that, but it shouldn't discourage consideration of lesser names.
Take the time to check out Steve Orsini at SMU, for one, and tell me what's not to like.
While we're considering all options, here's a candidate for you:
After watching him operate for 18 months, there's an in-house guy who would be up to the task — Derek Dooley.
He was even a sitting AD at Louisiana Tech when UT hired him to coach football. But coaching in the SEC and administering a $100 million department is unrealistic, even for a guy as bright and organized as Dooley.
Frankly, coaching football is the more important of the two jobs.
So Tennessee should pursue Plan C, whomever that might be, and Dooley should stick with football. That's especially true now that the program has regained continuity on his watch.
On that note, good thing North Carolina's not his dream job.