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An ode to college football's FlightAware season, which has hit Michigan

FlightAware is the ultimate #source.

FlightAware, the wonderful flight-tracking website, is the absolute best way to cover a coaching search. This is non-debatable. And since Michigan is likely going to be in the market for a new coach this offseason, MGoBlog found our first FlightAware guessing game of the year.

Yes, MGoBlog is kidding about the gravity of that link. But that is a University of Michigan plane flying from Jackson, Tenn., to Monterey, Calif., almost definitely because the Wolverines are hiring Jim Harbaugh.


Well, that's probably not true for many reasons, not the least of which being that Monterey isn't even the closest airport to where Harbaugh lives in Palo Alto.

But right now, FlightAware is all we've got, and for all of its failures it's actually been somewhat successful at times. Here's a look back at its best moments and its worst misses.

The multi-stop Auburn trip

When Auburn was looking for a coach in 2012, Tigers fans became enamored with one plane that made three strange stops in a row, from Montgomery, Ala., to Jonesboro, Ark., to Fort Worth, Tex., to Boise, Idaho.

That seems like an incredibly random trip from Montgomery, and coincidentally the three cities the plane went to were the homes of three candidates rumored to be on Auburn's list of potential coaches: Gus Malzahn from Arkansas State, Gary Patterson from TCU, and Chris Petersen from Boise State.

As it turns out, FlightAware (sort of) accurately predicted this one, as the Tigers hired Malzahn.

Les Miles to Michigan?

Despite its uncanny success, FlightAware has steered Michigan fans wrong before. One of the Wolverines' private planes landed in Baton Rouge shortly after the university fired Rich Rodriguez, and many fans thought that meant they were getting Les Miles from LSU.

Either FlightAware was wrong or Michigan couldn't seal the deal. The Wolverines ended up hiring Brady Hoke, which is why we've come full circle with FlightAware.

James Franklin to Penn State

Some Penn State reporters were so confident in FlightAware that they waited at the State College airport to see if James Franklin would get off a flight from Destin, Fla., where he has a home.

Alas, Franklin was not on that plane. But the media was at the State College airport when he did eventually get hired.

FlightAware's biggest blunder

After Kansas fired Turner Gill, there were rumors that the school was going to hire Mike Leach. Believing there was a plane on the way carrying Leach, some Kansas fans showed up at the airport. They were just a bit off the mark.

Due to its decision to hire Charlie Weis, Kansas is now on the lookout for another new head coach. If KU fans want any help getting an insider's scoop, we can tell them where to go to find it. We just don't know if it will be accurate.