Zenger: Fire Gill and Hire Stoops. No, Really. A Workable Plan.
I think Zenger is about to prove whether or not he's better at his job than Gill is at his. The tests have come early and often for Zenger, who stepped into both conference realignment and the Gill situation as a rookie. He will either be a huge success or fail miserably, but only time will tell. Anyway, I digress. Tressel will not come to Kansas. That would be a greater fall from grace than just disappearing from Ohio State into oblivion. Mangino is a more of a possibility but less of a practicality (who wants to date an old girlfriend after she's been with another guy?). Leach runs counter to the culture of Kansas period, and Sheahon would be too afraid to make that hire. He is in the tough spot of needing to time the firing of Gill with the availability AND willingness of a capable coach's hire at KU. Not an easy thing to do because so much of it is out of his control AND because he's going to have to offer a high-dollar, short-term contract. High dollar to attract the coach, short-term to appease an untrusting fanbase who's just been burned badly.
I think Mark Stoops, younger brother of OU's Bob Stoops, would be an excellent candidate (do not confuse with Mike Stoops, former head coach at the University of Arizona). It would put him in the same conference as his more recognized sibling, and a name like Stoops can be trusted in college football and brings instant credibility to Kansas. Stoops is a defensive coordinator at Florida State University who is currently making 400K a year. One-fifth Gill's annual take. If I'm Zenger, I either offer the coaching job outright to Stoops or, and this might appease all parties best, double Stoops' salary to bring him to Kansas as defensive coordinator to help Gill, whose offense seems to have found some traction. Eight hundred large is a lot of cheddar for a DC, but A., it won't be wasted, and B., it's cheaper than 6 million (the cost of Gill's buy-out). If Gill doesn't produce wins in '11-'12, axe him and promote Stoops to the head coaching job.
Here's the math. At that point (the END of next season), you would owe Gill 4M and you will have paid Stoops an additional 800,000. Plus, Stoops' hire could be arranged for, say, 1M for each of the last two years remaining on Gill's contract bringing the total to 6.8 Million. Keeping Gill on and doing absolutely nothing would cost you 6 Million. This also doesn't factor that you can subtract from Stoops' 800K what is currently being paid to defensive coordinator Vic Shealy (150K). That reduces the cost for this plan to 6.65M, a mere 650K more than what it would cost to just keep Gill here. Seems reasonable to me. Furthermore, through 7 games this season, FSU ranks 19th nationally in points scored against (source: http://espn.go.com/college-football/team/_/id/52/florida-state-seminoles). I don't know where Kansas ranks, but I'm guessing it's hovering around 120th in Division I-A. That is to say, LAST.
If I were Zenger, I'd be on the phone with FSU officials asking for permission to speak to Stoops. Kansas could certainly do worse.