Dan Guerrero couldn't wait.
UCLA's athletic director usually won't fire any coach during the season but dutifully waits until the end of the season blah..blah....Forget all that. He decided to sack football coach Rick Neuheisel today. Apparently the stench of UCLA's 50-0 trashing by USC Saturday night was so strong that he had to get rid of the coach before the Oregon game. Neuheisel was on borrowed time anyway. He should have been canned last Oct. 20--and apparently almost was--after the team quit on him in Tuscon and was steamrolled by Arizona.
Neuheisel will coach Friday's game in Oregon and, win or lose, he's finally out--an exit many hard-core fans have been longing for all season. A going-away victory would be a nice present but, considering that UCLA is a 30-point underdog, winning isn't a realistic option. If UCLA winds up in a bowl game, coordinator Mike Johnson will serve as temporary coach.
What prompted Guerrero to speed up Neuheisel's exit was probably the fact that so many coaches were fired in the last 24 hours that he didn't want to be last in line approaching hot prospects. Vacancies at schools like Kansas, Arizona State and Illinois have to be filled. And somebody has to fill JoePa's shoes at Penn State.
The hottest prospect out there is probably Boise State's Chris Petersen. Guerrero covets him, but so does everybody else. And Cincinatti's Butch Jones will have athletic directors camped outside his house. The next week or two will be very interesting.