With Sunday’s news, it’s officially the craziest season for the ever-insatiable Illini fan base: Coaching Carousel season!
Who will the next Illini Football Head Coach be? Who knows! There are *very credible* rumors that Urban Meyer is going to take the gig (lol). Former Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn is available, too, if Josh Whitman is looking for an (expensive) home run hire. If not, it’ll probably be some up-and-coming coach from the MAC or something.
As someone who spent their undergraduate years watching Tim Beckman make up acronyms, the thought of another MAC hire makes me shudder. We’ve seen this movie before. Instead, I implore you, Illini Nation, to consider a modest proposal that was brought to my attention this weekend:
A computer as the next Head Coach of your Fighting Illini. At first it sounds absurd, but I promise you the more you consider it the more sense it makes. Not only is it the fiscally responsible choice, but also the strategically prudent one.
1 – It’s much cheaper than paying a human coach. 5 million? Psh. A team of students could build this algorithm in exchange for pizza and a big Einstein’s gift card. Even with the increased power bill from the computer, there would still be leftover money – think of the possibilities! Plus, the DIA is hurting for cash right now; it’s simply the most cost-effective solution.
2 – Efficiency. Plain and simple, a computer could analyze more film than a human ever could. Food? Don’t need it. Sleep? Nope. The amount of tendencies that a computer could pick up on is far and above that of 40 coaches in a room. Eventually, with advances in Machine Learning, the computer could teach itself faster than any human could program it, which means that very little human oversight would be required, leaving more time for recruiting. The only downfall in this part of the plan, unfortunately, is the potential evisceration of the human race by sentient AI à la Skynet in Terminator.
3 – No emotional coaching. Every single decision on the field would be a simple risk calculation with the best possible outcome in mind. Fans could still argue that kicking a field goal down 7 is bad or whatever, but at least we’d know that the coach made the statistically-correct choice.
4 – As computers are non-biological, nepotism would not be an issue.
5 – No scandals! A computer can’t chew tobacco on the sideline. It doesn’t have a mouth.
6 – MONEY! Can you imagine the ad revenue that would come in to a terrible program that did this? Everyone would want to watch. Maybe, eventually, Illinois would land a Jordan Brand sponsorship. How cool would that be?
Sure, the University would still need humans to handle recruiting, and many other tasks, but this could allow them to be more highly-funded and avoid budgetary constraints and potential compliance issues. Plus, the job of calling plays in a game is actually pretty well-suited for a computer, and what better place to take the first step than one of the cradles of advanced computing: the University of Illinois.
We can call it: HAL the Coach. It might not bring us to the national championship, but at this point I think Illini fans would maybe be willing to try out a computer football coach.
Anyway here are some great tweets: