It’s not a secret that Rich Rodriguez has been looking for other coaching gigs. He had a very public flirtation with the University of South Carolina last year, but after being offered the job, opted to remain with the Arizona Wildcats.
Below are three possible reasons why the tarot cards of the football gods foresee an imminent departure of Arizona's coaching icon:
1. Arizona will earn a 2016-2017 BCS bowl:
I know, the football prognosticators have already deemed the Wildcats no better than fourth in the Pac-12 South. You can do like the experts have and look up and down every Pac-12 team’s schedule and pick out potential wins and losses. The result will be a sense of which teams are true competitors for the conference’s crown. However, football is a bit like a humid evening at summer camp. For some completely inexplicable reason, a few of your buddies will be incessantly swarmed by mosquitoes while you need only swat an occasional one from your ear canal. Injuries in football are the same way. And injuries can determine the outcome of a conference champion more than ease or strength of schedule.
So yes, I am proposing that Arizona gets a BCS bowl more out of attrition than conference domination. The Wildcats are more prepared to withstand injuries at the offensive skill positions than any other conference team.
Arizona gets a BCS bowl and Coach Rodriguez capitalizes with a timely departure to a university back east.
2. Wildcats will have a top-five offensive team in the country:
The 2016 defensive squad appears to be a train wreck. There isn’t a single defensive position where Arizona will be considered dominant. But there’s one thing that can affect the performance of football players more than an injection of raw talent, and that’s renewed coaching energy. Donte’ Williams and Marcel Yates will get the most out of the defensive squad and Wildcat fans will be treated to an emotional defensive intensity not seen in the desert since the early 1990s.
All this defensive improvement will parlay the offense into better field position, more offensive possessions each game, and a top-five national ranking. Rich Rod’s stock will rise as a result.
3. RichRod’s contract payout:
Per page eight of Coach Rodriguez’ contract, he is due a $500,000 retention bonus if he’s still the Arizona head coach on November 30th, 2016. He gets this payout even if he voluntarily leaves after the November date. As for the Longevity Bonus (his share of the 175,000 units of the Master Limited Partnership) it becomes a Time Value of Money problem.
RichRod’s choice will be one of being paid millions more in the short-term versus the potential for a few million more in the future. The smart investor takes the money now.
All is not hopeless, though. If Coach Rodriguez does depart for the OKG-laden East Coast, there’s an intriguing new defensive coordinator looking to move into the head coach’s office.