By the time you read this, Texas coach Charlie Strong may be fired, or he may be extended, or his players may be standing up for him, or they may be walking out on him. Amidst everything happening in college football this weekend, the drama of Strong might be outshining it all. Texas' bizarre, half co-dependent, half abusive relationship with him has turned the Tom Herman chase into chaos, maybe ruined poor Jimbo Fisher's FSU exit plan and shown, once again, that when you try to make a decision at the University of Texas, you have to go through about 200 big-hat rich-arse bum-steer alums who need you to pick up the phone right now cause dammit they got something to say.
Before Strong came to Texas, he was a mild-mannered, respected, organized, totally normal and boring head football coach. Now, not even three full seasons into his new gig, he's college football's version of a Kardashian: Someone you know isn't that important in the grand scheme of things, but you still can't hide from. The whole college football world is being held hostage by the Strong-Texas imbroglio.
But that's the Texas job for you! UT is one of those gigs that sounds like a terrific job -- tons of money, an avid fanbase, instant recruiting credibility, your own television network -- until you actually take over and realize the walls are already closing in on you before you've even learned where the bathroom is. There are certain jobs like this in sports, ones that sound like the perfect setup on paper and turn into a nightmare in practice. You might want these gigs. But trust me: You don't.
Texas Longhorns football coach. Obviously. The funny thing about this is that this whole LSU-Florida State-Texas drama may all be happening because Herman wants the Texas job and might be pushing LSU to make an offer so he can force Texas into a Strong decision. Careful what you wish for, Tom. Remember: Charlie Strong is only in his third year, and already he looks like the job has ground him into dust. This is a job where you have about 600 bosses, all yelling at you at once.
New York Knicks head coach. This job is a little better now that Kristaps Porzingis can be the centerpiece for the next 10 years … but still. You're working for Jim Dolan, you have to run the triangle for reasons only Phil Jackson understands, you have a fanbase that half expects you not to survive any particular year, and when everything finally lands right and you strike jackpot with something as wonderful as Linsanity … they'll take him away from you.
New York Mets manager. It is to the credit of Terry Collins that he survived this past season, something he might not have done if the team had failed to reach the NL Wild Card Game. His feet will be to the fire this year, though, and he might not have Yoenis Cespedes to help him out. The problem is that Mets fans are fatalistic about their team while still having unrealistic expectations, a dangerous combination. Also, with ownership still not spending the way other franchises do, it puts the Mets in a situation where, if matters don't go the way fans want them to, there's no one to blame but the manager. We'd want to wear a disguise too.
Washington NFL head coach. It is to the credit of Jay Gruden that he has made this work as well as he has, but still, the demerits just stack up with this job. You have a fan base that has been kicked in the teeth for several decades. You have to answer for that nickname and mascot constantly. You have to play in that ugly stadium. You have to deal with that lunatic owner, most of all. Moments like now, with Washington in a slight uptick, are the exceptions. Remember: This team actually ground down Joe Gibbs after venerating him as a legend. This is the peak now. Ugliness, as always, is just around the corner.
Chelsea head coach.
Manchester United coaches since 2007: Five.
Arsenal coaches since 2007: One.
Manchester City coaches since 2007: Six.
Tottenham coaches since 2007: Six.
Liverpool coaches since 2007: Five.
Chelsea coaches since 2007: 13.
Of course, there are also jobs that we think of as difficult, but actually are more stable and desirable than previously considered.
New York Yankees manager. The Yanks haven't won a playoff game since 2012, and not only does the manager still have his job, he might have one of the more stable gigs in all of baseball. Turns out that the Yankees owners and fan base are more patient than they were made out to be. And look what happened: By waiting it out, the Bronx Bombers might be the best set-up team in baseball over the next decade.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach. Well, Kobe's gone now, so that makes a pretty huge difference right there. Luke Walton might just be the perfect coach for this young team. He played for them, so he knows how it works, he has instant name recognition and he enjoys celebrity enough to be the outward public face of the team. He could coach this team for another decade without a title and be fine.
Dallas Cowboys head coach. This is Garrett's seventh season as head coach of the Cowboys. His team has appeared in only two playoff games in that time. His record coming into this year was 45-43, almost the definition of average. But the Cowboys let him hang around long enough to hand him one of the greatest draft classes in NFL history, and now he's 10-1 and the Cowboys are atop the world again. Turns out, these grand franchises have finally learned the power of patience. Took them long enough.
Illinois Fighting Illini football coach. OK, yes, so Illinois football is always horrible. But! There are many advantages to this job. You have several natural recruiting hotspots. You have a terrific history of Grange and Butkus. You have a fan base that is desperate to have something to cheer for. And mostly: You have zero expectations. If Lovie Smith gets this team to bowl games two out of every three years -- Just a bowl game! Any bowl game! Just six wins! -- they'll build a statue of him. It's all set up for Lovie. He's a guy to root for, too.
Northwestern Wildcats men's basketball coach. This one's simple: Northwestern has never made an NCAA tournament. And a disturbingly high percentage of the people who deliver you your news in the sports media went to Northwestern's journalism school. So the coach who delivers them their first trip to the tournament will be treated as if he is a god. Chris Collins, it's all right there for you. Michael Wilbon will never stop hugging you. You get into one tournament, the job is yours for life … or until you eventually take over at Duke, anyway.