An upset-fueled Week 4 led to new expectations for surprising teams like Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, but poor performances at LSU and Notre Dame led to early-season firings.
06 Jan 2004
It's time for our newest Football Outsiders contest. This one is a little different, because it doesn't require you to write like a famous football journalist. Instead, this one requires you to think like a famous football journalist.
It started with an idea -- match the seven open coaching vacancies with the correct head coaching candidate. You've got your former coaches (Coughlin, Green), your really recent former coaches (Fassel), college coaches who might move up (Saban), and a series of coordinators looking for their first head job (Crenel, Weis, Smith). You have owners who know what they are doing (Buffalo), owners who don't know what they are doing (Arizona), owners who really don't know what they are doing (Washington), and owners who aren't even sure what the voices in their head are telling them to do (Oakland).
Seven openings means seven things to guess. We had to make it a little more interesting. So we've added another angle. We don't just want you to figure out where the coaches will be coaching next year, we also want you to figure out where certain players will be playing next year. (We got the idea from an annual Baseball Primer thread where people guess the destinations of the top free agents.)
Here's how it works. First, you need to give your opinion of who will be hired to coach each of the following franchises in 2004:
Some possibilities to consider include Jim Fassel, Tom Coughlin, Dennis Green, Ray Rhodes, Nick Saban, Rick Neuheisel, Maurice Carthon, Charlie Weis, Romeo Crenel, Lovey Smith, and Jim "Football Outsiders wish I would call them" Schwartz. To help with the first part of the contest, you might want to read this article from Len Pasquarelli or this one from Ron Borges.
As for part two, this year brings us possibly the deepest free agent class in NFL history, especially at receiver and cornerback, plus there are a number of quarterbacks who have lost their starting jobs and will be needing new homes in the next few months. You need to give your opinion on where the following players will be playing in 2004:
Yes, some of these players may remain with the same team in 2004 (although I don't think Mr. Throw Me The Damn Ball will be one of them). I haven't seen any comprehensive articles on possible offseason player movement, but if you see one please let us know so we can link to it.
You can discuss your thoughts in the attached discussion thread here, and we encourage you to do so, but you need to send your picks to info-@-footballoutsiders.com for them to officially be considered. Please put "offseason contest" in the subject line. Since the coaching dominos are already beginning to fall, we'll make the due date for entries Monday, January 12, and coaches hired before then (we're looking at you, Giants) won't be included in the contest. The winner of the contest will receive, free of charge, whatever premium preseason package we end up producing in 2004, whether that package is in printed form or premium online content. We're not quite sure what the heck we're doing, to be frank. But whatever it is, you'll get it. If we don't do a premium preseason package, we'll get Jason to draw you.
Seven coaching vacancies, seven high profile free agents, and three trade bait quarterbacks. Gentlemen and ladies, you may begin channeling Chris Mortensen now.