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The Loop

Apocalypse Now

No college football coach has ever made a more dramatic entrance than TCU's Sonny Dykes helicoptering right into the stadium

November 30, 2021

The college football coaching carousel is out of control. It’s spun free of its moorings and gone whizzing across the nation like a giant frisbee. Lincoln Riley absconded to USC in the dead of the Norman night. Brian Kelly traded his corned beef for a $95-million-dollar pot of gumbo. There are big-ticket openings everywhere and big-ticket names to fill them. If you’re a guy like Sonny Dykes and a program like TCU, you have to go the extra mile if you want to be noticed. If you’re a guy like Sonny Dykes and a program like TCU, you gotta GET TO THE CHOPPAH.

This is like a scene out of ‘Apocalypse Now.’ Short of Kelly riding into Death Valley abreast an actual tiger, Lincoln Riley driving a Trojan sword into the L.A. Coliseum soil, or Urban Meyer leprechaun stepping into South Bend (still an distinct possibility), this will go down as the most dramatic coach entrance in college football this season, maybe ever. Helicopters are a risk, folks. We’ve lost some great ones—Stevie Ray Vaughn, Davey Allison, Kobe Bryrant—to those hell birds over the years. Dykes packed his family into one and dropped straight down onto Moncrief Field guided only by some purple DJ lights. That should tell you just how big a deal this is for Horned Frog nation.

As for Dykes, the jury is still sequestered. He led SMU to their best season since 1984 in 2019 and is entering a significantly depleted Big 12 that feels ripe for the taking. At the same time, he posted three losing seasons in four tries at Cal before being fired in 2017, and we all know about the level of Pac 12 competition during his tenure. Is he the right man for the job? Will he be able to rekindle the Gary Patterson glory days in Fort Worth? All TBD, but if Day 1 is any indication, he’s got a chance.