Over the past week, the biggest open secret in college football in the good ol' midwest was that Cincinnati's Luke Fickell was the top target to succeed Mark Dantonio after the longtime Michigan State boss surprisingly resigned his position in East Lansing.
Today, however, the head coach is reportedly going to remain a Bearcat -- and Sparty is suddenly in a truly rough position, as they pivot toward spring without a leader for their program.
The circumstances surrounding Dantonio's departure from the MSU program remain suspect. There's an active lawsuit against the him that accuses him of having committed NCAA violations as head coach, and his resignation came not just hours after new allegations were filed in federal court, but fewer than three weeks after he earned a $4.3 million retention bonus.
Add all this to the fact that other top coaching targets in Colorado's Mel Tucker and Pitt's Pat Narduzzi have already publicly declined interest in the job. San Francisco 49ers assistant Robert Saleh reportedly isn't amenable to leaving. Folks, all is not well in East Lansing.
It's hard to figure where the Spartans go from here. Salvaging what was already a difficult situation is now even more of a trying task with Fickell renewing his vows in the Queen City.