This morning athletic officials at Michigan State announced an afternoon press conference to determine the future of their football program.
You know that caricatural hand signal where one pulls his collar away from his neck and swallows hard? Yeah, John L. Smith probably did that at the time. Or maybe he already knew the athletic department didn't want him back after a disappointing season.
So Smith said he will resign at the end of the season. This is a season that included a miraculous collapse against Notre Dame, a miraculous win at Northwestern, and not-so-miraculous losses to Big Ten lollygaggers Indiana and Illinois.
This opens the door for Steve Mariucci — you remember, the former Detroit Lions coach and friend of MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo — to be offered the job. He didn't want the big back in 2002 when Smith was first hired. How about now, Mooch? Do you want to inherit a team struggling to compete in the Big Ten? It worked for Ron Zook!
As for Smith, he has one goal left on his green and white clipboard: win a bowl game. At 4-5, they will first need to win two of their next three games to even qualify for one. Remaining home games are against Purdue and Minnesota — combined Big Ten records of 2-8 — and their season finale is a road trip to Penn State. A 6-6 record just might sneak them into the Motor City Bowl against some MAC team like Central Michigan.
If it happens — that is, he makes a bowl game and ends his MSU tenure on a win — maybe he bounces back and in a few years becomes a head coach at a mid-major school (see: Frank Solich at Ohio University) or lands a coordinator job in the NFL. Or perhaps he can return to his alma mater, Weber State in Utah, and build a Division I-AA powerhouse.
And John, if it doesn't happen, just go easy on your cheek there, okay?
Animated GIF of John L. Smith's self-domestic violence originally from Spartan Tailgate.