We are in somewhat of a holding pattern but things should start to move forward quickly over the next day or two and hopefully, if things go well, there could be a new coach at Pitt by the end of the week.
As I was tweeting about on Monday - Paul Chryst appears to have made a great impression on the committee with an excellent interview and that is a significant difference from the first time around (last January post-Haywood and pre-Graham). Chryst didn't interview well last January and if your remmeber he had issued an "I've been told I'm no longer a candidate" statement almost before he landed back in Madison. But this time was different - he had better answers, a better grasp on the process and while he is never going to be a "wow you" kind of guy, he at least showed enough of a personality and has so many of the right characteristics that he really has put himself in a good position if things don't go the way they seem to be heading with Mario Cristobal, whose team is still playing as I type.
Cristobal has not been offered the job formally (it won't be offered unless they are sure he is going to take it), but he appears to be the first guy who is going to get an offer once the process moves forward again tomorrow (now that he is done with his season) and it will be very interesting to see what takes place once that happens.
I have a number of people around Cristobal telling me he wants the job, it is the moving Pittsburgh part he is not so sure about and that while a raise in the area of $1 million per year can go a long way towards easing some of those concerns, it may not be enough. By now we've all read the stories about him in Miami, rebuilding that program, how much he and his wife are a part of that community and everything else so there is no need to rehash all that.
I'm told if it is going to happen with either of these two, it will happen this week - a Thursday news conference - and while Cristobal is still on the fence about some things, if Chryst is offered the job, he will take it.
The third candidate, Luke Fickell, has become somewhat of the forgotten man and Chris Peak from Pantherlair sent me this audio of him talking with Rivals.com and if you listen to it, he really seems like a guy who is resigned to the fact that he isn't likely going to get this job. I had concerns about that when he began talking to the media on Friday, despite some reports he was the top candidate and had been offered the job, because one thing this committee makes clear to every single candidate is this "if you talk to the media about this, we are done here" They are all sworn to secrecy, which is why Fickell's approach seemed to indicate he either didn't really want the job or knew he wasn't going to get it.
Chryst and Cristobal have both issued no comments repeatedly and Cristobal has even gone the extra mile of having some really strange curve balls thrown our way to get us off the scent, but Fickell has been rather loose with his comments.
So this is a waiting game at this point and frankly, anyone who says they know how it will end is lying to you. I think it will end with either Cristobal or Chryst as the coach and my gut says that at the end of the day the money may be too much for Cristobal to pass up, but this could go either way.
One thing that will not happen is San Francisco 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula getting involved in this search, getting an interview or becoming anything more than "the obligatory obscure Pittsburgh guy whose name surfaced as a candidate..." It is not true, there is nothing to it and it is not even worth discussing.