UPDATE: Later Sunday evening Miami hired Manny Diaz to be the new head coach.
Uh oh, Oregon fans.
Déjà vu, anyone?
Today's news that former Miami coach Mark Richt has retired should strike fear into the hearts of Ducks fans in love with the direction of the program under coach Mario Cristobal, who played at Miami, was an assistant coach at Miami, was raised in Miami and whose mother resides in Miami.
But Cristobal leaving won't be cheap. Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens prepared for this day by building in a massive buyout of $10 million should Cristobal try to leave after one year. Still..
The Cristobal pull to Miami could be even greater than what convinced Willie Taggart to leave Oregon after one season to take the Florida State job a year ago this month. Taggart didn't play for Florida State and he grew up in Palmetto, Fla., which is 4 1/2 hours south of Tallahassee, where FSU is located.
But Taggart grew up a Florida State fan and simply could not refuse the opportunity to accept his dream job.
There has to be zero doubt that Cristobal would love to one day coach at Miami. However, it doesn't appear logical that such a marriage would go down right now.
First of all, Miami, still a marquee program despite not having won a national title since 2001, should have a shot at a lot of high-end coaching candidates with better resumes than Cristobal's, who is 35-52 as a head coach.
The Ducks (8-4) will be playing in the Redbox Bowl on Monday against Michigan State (7-5), not in a New Year's Six bowl. This is Cristobal's first season as a head coach in a Power Five conference. He spent his first six years as a head coach at Florida International where he went 27-47 before being fired despite rebuilding what was a horrific program.
However, the same could have been said for FSU's interest in Taggart, who went 7-5 in his lone year at Oregon after compiling a record of 40-45 at his previous two spots, Western Kentucky and South Florida.
Still, the won-loss record for both coaches is skewed because each took on poor programs and rebuilt them. The combined record of Oregon, WKU and USF the year before Taggart took those jobs was 7-27. Cristobal took over a better situation at Oregon, obviously, but when he landed at Florida International, that train wreck was coming off of a 0-12 season.
So, maybe Miami will view Cristobal in the same light as FSU sees Taggart. These are two young, up-and-coming coaches with an amazing ability to recruit and to lead.
Roll the dice and see what happens. That's what FSU is doing. Maybe Miami will follow suit.
That all said, the path to Miami for Cristobal is more difficult than it was for Taggart to Florida State because of how the latter left Oregon.
Burned by the Taggart departure, Oregon protected itself with that hefty buyout of $10 million, which Cristobal would owe UO if he left before Jan. 31, 2019.
So Miami would have to pay off that buyout and then pay Cristobal. Are the Hurricanes in a position to pay $10 million for the right to hire a coach, let alone one with Cristobal's largely unproven resume?
Cristobal's buyout decreases by $2 million for each season thereafter. So, next year it would be $8 million, then $6 million, then just $4 million after Cristobal has spent four years as Oregon's coach.
During Cristobal's introductory press conference, I asked him flat out about the potential lure of Miami. He said then that he wanted to be at Oregon long term and finish the job of rebuilding the Ducks into a national power.
He is off to a solid start. Despite what could be considered a disappointing 8-4 season given that the Ducks have a future first-round NFL Draft pick at quarterback and played a very soft schedule, the future is bright. Most of the starters, including quarterback Justin Herbert, will return and the team just inked a recruiting class that when it's all said an done will finish in the top seven in the nation.
Cristobal has many reasons to remain at Oregon. So did Taggart. But unlike Taggart the road back to the state of Florida could be a lot more difficult and expensive to navigate.