Rumor Mill: Purdue, Colorado both have Cincinnati’s Butch Jones high on their wish lists

If a six-year old were to sit on Santa’s lap, in all likelihood he might ask for something related to Sponge Bob or Thomas the Tank Engine, or, heck, even an XBox if the kid is really feeling ambitious.

Cincinnati Bearcats Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Butch Jones during the first quarter against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE)

If good ole Santa were to ask the likes of a Purdue or Colorado football fan what they might want for the holidays, the answer would be far more cut and dry: A genuinely respectable football program.

With an eye on exactly that — respectability — the athletic departments at both schools are not seeking out Santa, but rather current Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones.

Jones, thus far, has been on the Brian Kelly Path to Success: Win the Mid-American Conference title (twice) before accepting the head coaching job at Cincy, promptly tie for first in the Big East, and win a bowl game.

The next step for Kelly, of course, was the major jump to Notre Dame, where in just his third season at the helm of the nation’s most historically rich school, he has the Irish sitting at 12-0 and jetting to Miami to play in the BCS National Championship game.

Jones was an assistant under Kelly at both Central Michigan and Cincinnati, but he has made a name for himself in his own right. In fact, when Woody Paige spoke with an athletic director from a neutral school, the praise came in bunches.

“On a scale of one to 10, Butch is an 11,” an athletic director at a major school in another section of the country told him Thursday. “A lot of schools are going after Butch because he’s a special coach, and Colorado could not do better.”

Cincinnati gave Jones a five-year contract in 2010, then a new one this year. He receives $1.575 million in 2012, with increases every season until 2017. However, if Jones were to leave after this season, the contract buyout would be approximately $1.75 million.

The updated contract this season was Cincy’s attempt to keep Mr. Jones on campus, and it has reportedly included stipulations to guarantee that Nippert Stadium will be renovated within a defined period of time, as well as incentives to continue his winning ways for the Bearcats.

He will receive an additional $50,000 for making a non-BCS bowl appearance this year, plus $8,000 for having eight wins and a $25,000 bonus if UC wins a share of the Big East championship.

Most individuals wouldn’t mind that type of salary, but if Butch Jones does, there just might be some greener grass waiting for him on the other side. Purdue has struggled recently, but the Boilermakers do have all the amenities, facilities and advertising revenue that the Big Ten can offer (which seems to be more than enough for both Maryland and Rutgers).

Colorado, of course, is a big-time program, but their facilities are currently far below modern college football standards. In fact, this according to the Daily Camera:

“The football facilities at CU are considered among the worst in the Pac-12 Conference and the worst at the BCS conference level and are likely so aged they would prevent some coaches from even taking the CU job seriously”

If facilities are what Jones is looking for, Purdue might be a great choice, but if he wants to continue to win football games in 2013, his best bet might just be to stay home in Cincinnati.

Then again, Jon Gruden just turned down the position at Tennessee.

Oh the rumors.

Sources: Indy StarThe Denver PostThe Daily Camera

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