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Post Week 11 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings – Cue it up Johnny Cash!

What a couple of weeks here at Coaches Hot Seat as we have moved between being sick from the H1N1 virus to be under a funk from medicine taken to combat the symptoms of the H1N1 virus.  One thing we do know, you don’t want you or your family to get H1N1! 

Ok, let’s quickly get to the latest Coaches Hot Seat Rankings:

Cue it up Johnny!

Post Week 11 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings

Top 10 Coaches on Post Week 11 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings

1.  Charlie Weis, Notre Dame – We cannot imagine anyone is really surprised that Notre Dame has lost their last 2 games to Navy and Pitt after the way their ’09 season has gone.  Out of Notre Dame’s 6 wins in ’09 they could have easily lost 4 of the games and of their 4 losses there were really only dominated by Pitt on Saturday.  It has been an up and down season and when you get right down to it Notre Dame is just not a very good football team because they have struggled even to beat very mediocre teams: Michigan State, Purdue, and Washington and they played very poorly against the best team they face this season in Pitt.  In Charlie Weis’ fifth year at Notre Dame his Irish team should be playing much better football and beating mediocre teams by wide margins and not losing to teams that they should handle easily.  Weis is now 35 – 25 (.583) at Notre Dame, but in his last 37 games he is 16 – 21 and we just cannot imagine in our wildest dreams that winning 16 of your last 37 games could be acceptable in South Bend, unless they have dramatically scaled back their expectation foe the Irish football program.  We here at Coaches Hot Seat certainly believe that just based upon Charlie Weis’ win/loss record, especially over the past 3 seasons, the Irish not only should fire Weis but if they kept him on for the 2010 season they would be making a important statement about the Irish football program, namely that winning championships is no longer the primary goal.   

Maybe they have lowered expectations for Notre Dame football because certainly some of the stupid decisions made in South Bend in recent years would make one thing that these are either the gang that can’t shoot straight boys or these are just flat-out very dumb people.  The latest stupidity at Notre Dame came to light on Sunday when Matt Hayes of the Sporting News reported that if the Irish fire Charlie Weis they will own him 18 million dollars for the six remaining years on his contract.  What?  We all remember the new contract that former Irish AD Kevin White rushed through in Weis’ first year at Notre Dame to fend off the supposed NFL teams that were after Charlie (If Charlie Weis’ agent had come into our office and said in Weis’ first year that NFL teams were calling about Weis and that Notre Dame has better sign him to a lucrative long-term deal we would have tossed that agent out on his ass, but then we would never be pushed around by an agent.  Military service tends to toughen one up a good bit and if there is a group of people in our country that need toughening up it is athletic directors.  Maybe 2 years in Iraq for all ADs and they would quit getting walked over by agents!), but we could not imagine that Kevin White and the folks in South Bend were stupid enough to give a head coach a contract that didn’t have a buyout clause.  That was just a very stupid decision to sign Weis to a contract that paid him for the entire length of his contract and any AD or college/university that has an athletic coach under contract without a buyout clause (we have recommended a buyout equal to 1 year’s full salary for coaches) are just acting in a very stupid and irresponsible manner and putting their athletic department possibly on the hook for big monetary payouts.  There are several other coaches in the game today without buyout clauses, Nick Saban at Alabama and Mike Sherman at A&M come to mind, and we just cannot understand why a school that is the entity hiring and employing a coach would on their stupidest day on this planet every sign a contract that did not have a buyout clause, but here is Notre Dame owing Charlie Weis for the remaining 6 years on his contract if they fire him.  Please, someone cue Forrest Gump.

Frankly, we could really care less that Notre Dame has to pay Charlie Weis 18 million dollars or 2 cents, because we are not alumni, students or boosters of a school that would sign such a stupid contract, but since the Irish AD has said that economics will play no role in the decision to fire or retain Weis we might as well move to consideration of who will replace Charlie Weis as the head coach at Notre Dame, because the Weis boat has sailed!

Potential Replacements for Charlie Weis at Notre Dame:

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Jon Gruden, former Tampa Bay HC

Jim Harbaugh, Stanford

Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Brian Kelly, Cincinnati

Gary Patterson, TCU

Bo Pelini, Nebraska

Chris Petersen, Boise State

Greg Schiano, Rutgers

Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

If we were the AD at Notre Dame and we knew were going to replace Charlie Weis at the end of the season, our very first call would be to Bob Stoops at Oklahoma to see if he was interested in the job.  Bob Stoops looks to us that he has become a little frustrated at OU and he might need a new challenge, although a year off from the game might do Stoops some good as well (or maybe we are reading Bob wrong, but we don’t think so).  If Bob Stoops was not interested, our second call would be to Brian Kelly at Cincinnati who is one of the top young coaches in the game and would be a terrific fit in South Bend.  If Stoops and Kelly weren’t interested, we would then call Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech to see if would be interested in Notre Dame and if Johnson was happy at Tech our fourth call would go to Greg Schiano at Rutgers.  If none of those coaches were interested, we would then check-in with Chris Petersen at Boise State, Gary Patterson at TCU, Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern, Bo Pelini at Nebraska in that order, and then lastly we would call Jon Gruden.  Since we have followed Jon Gruden very closely since when he was a lowly assistant with the 49ers and then as the head coach at Oakland we rather doubt if Gruden would be interested in a college job and all the recruiting work that comes with such a position, but if Jon was motivated to do the job right and we could not find a highly-qualified current college head coach interested in the job then Gruden might be the way to go.

Whatever Notre Dame decides to do, if they are going to replace Charlie Weis then they MUST HIRE a proven college head football coach that has a proven track record of at least winning lots of football games but is also preferably a proven winner of championships.  If Notre Dame does fire Charlie Weis and write him a check for $18 million dollars then we sure hope that Kevin White (now AD at Duke) even everyone else that signed off on that contract for Weis thinks about what kind of an impact $18 million dollars could have on the poor folks in our country that are desperate to eat, forget about having a job.  Yes, the Catholics at Notre Dame should think long and hard about paying a football coach $18 million dollars to buy out a contract for a football coach that should have never been offered in the first place, but then let’s not confuse anyone with what is going on in real world.  Stupid, that is what anyone and everyone that had anything to with Charlie Weis’ contract is…VERY STUPID!

2.  Ralph Friedgen, Maryland – When you lose your fifth straight game at home by 27 points and that runs your record to 2 – 8 on the season then you know you have a hellava mess on your hands and the folks at Maryland have a hellava mess on their hands.  We don’t know what has gone wrong for Ralph Friedgen at Maryland, but Ralph is now 35 – 36 in his last 71 games with the Terps and there is just no way anyone can possibly justify that kind of record for any coach at any school in the ACC (OK, maybe at Duke that could be justified).  It seems to us that is already a forgone conclusion that Ralph Friedgen will step down or be fired at the end of this season, because this Maryland football program has gone way off the track and we cannot imagine that anyone that has been following the Terps closely in 2009 really believes, and we mean really believes, that Ralph Friedgen will be able to turn this mess around.  Current Maryland OC James Franklin is supposed to take over for Friedgen, but if Ralph is kept on for another year and the football program continues to digress Franklin might find himself on the outside looking in because right now it looks as if no one on this Maryland staff is doing a very good job getting the Terp players ready to play or for that matter coaching them very well.  Yes, Maryland has a hellava mess on their hands.

3.  Al Groh, Virginia – After losing to Boston College at home on Saturday and the Cavs ’09 record dropping to 3 – 7 it no longer a matter of IF Al Groh will be fired, but WHEN will Groh be fired.  With a trip to play at Clemson and then Virginia Tech at home (two very motivated teams by the way) to finish the season, the Cavs are looking at 3 – 9 record in 2009 and a new head football coach in 2010.  As anyone that has ever visited Charlottesville, VA knows, UVA is a very nice school that is situated in a very nice area of the country and we don’t see why UVA shouldn’t be able to hire a very good football coach to replace Al Groh.  With that in mind…. 

Potential Replacements for Al Groh at Virginia:

Head Coaches

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Al Golden, Temple

Jim Harbaugh, Stanford

Bobby Hauck, Montana

Butch Jones, Central Michigan

Brian Kelly, Cincinnati

Mike London, Richmond

Gary Patterson, TCU

Chris Petersen, Boise State

Greg Schiano, Rutgers

Assistant Coaches

Tom Bradley, Penn State DC

Bud Foster, Virginia Tech DC

Charlie Strong, Florida OC

Brent Venables, Oklahoma DC

Kevin Wilson, Oklahoma OC

Virginia should be able to hire a very good football coach because UVA is a very good school and Charlottesville is a very good place to live, especially if one is looking for a nice place to raise a family.  Another great thing about the Virginia job, the pressure is not the same as some other schools in the ACC where they are looking for an ACC title every year.  Virginia wants a competitive football team that has a coach that respects the academics at UVA and that means they want a football teams that wins most if not all of its home games, many of its road games and challenges for the ACC title at least every 3 to 4 years.  Hell, UVA sounds like a great job to us! 

4.  Dan Hawkins, Colorado – After the loss to Iowa State on Saturday, Dan Hawkins is now 16 – 31 (.340) in his fourth year at Colorado and he is now assured of putting up his fourth non-winning season in his four years at CU.  The biggest thing that would worry us if we were the one’s that hired and are now employing Dan Hawkins is this very simple question:  Is the Colorado football program getting better or getting worse under Dan Hawkins.  A very good argument could be made that is has gotten better off the field, because there were all kinds of problems at CU when Hawkins arrived that had nothing to do with football, but we cannot imagine that anyone could form a coherent argument around the idea that the Colorado football program on the field is better today than it was when Hawk arrived four years ago.  Dan Hawkins took over for Gary Barnett at Colorado and following are Barnett’s yearly records at CU:

1999:   7 – 5

2000:   3 – 8

2001:   10 – 3

2002:   9 – 5

2003:   5 – 7

2004:   8 – 5

2005:   7 – 5

As you can see, Gary Barnett in 7 seasons at CU had 2 losing seasons and his last 5 seasons he has 1 losing season.  Dan Hawkins seasons at Colorado:

2006:   2 – 10

2007:   6 – 7

2008:   5 – 7

2009:   3 – 7

Dan Hawkins is now assured of losing at least 7 games in every season he has been at CU, which is a stunning number when one considers how good the Colorado football program has generally been for the last 20 years, or rather since Bill McCartney turned the CU program around in the late 1980s.

The tea leaves in Boulder still read as if Dan Hawkins will be back for the 2010 season, but if he is brought back for a fifth year he will certainly be under the gun to noticeably step the program up or be assured of being fired at the end of the season. 

5.  Mike Sherman, Texas A&M – After his Aggies got blistered 65 – 10 by the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday one has to really wonder what direction the A&M football program is going because a better OU team in 2008 beat the Aggies 66 – 28 in College Station.  Well, at least the A&M defense held the Sooners to fewer points in ’09; well make that 1 LESS POINT!   Mike Sherman is now 9 – 13 in his second season at A&M and we believe that the Aggies program is in worse shape right now than when Sherman took over the program from Dennis Franchione.  How else does one explain getting blown out by Arkansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma and getting beat by woeful Colorado except by understanding that A&M is going no where quick under Mike Sherman, unless of course you count mediocrity as a destination.  Yes, it was only just a few years ago that Texas A&M had a mighty football program, but that was before Big Bubba Boosters 1, 2 and 3 got their hands into Aggie football and sent the program reeling.  In 14 years at Texas A&M, R.C. Slocum put up a record of 123 – 47 – 2 (.715), and in the last 7 seasons A&M is 41 – 41 (.500), which should tell you all you need to know about the intelligence of Big Bubba Boosters 1, 2 and 3!  What makes all of this chicanery at Texas A&M look really stupid is that Mike Sherman has a buyout somewhere in the $9 million dollar range which if the Aggies did fire him it would only make the people that hired Sherman and gave him such a stupid and asinine contract look like even bigger buffoons.  Now at 5 – 5 on the year and with Baylor and Texas left to play at home in College Station we have some advice for Mike Sherman:  Do not lose to Baylor at home, because everyone and their great Aunt Edna knows Mack Brown and the Longhorns are not going to get beat in that last game of the year, so no, don’t lose to Baylor at home because that would mean a 5 – 7 record in ’09 and that would mean that MIKE SHERMAN’S ASS WOULD BE HOTTER THAN THE UNDERSIDE OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE AT LIFTOFF!  No, don’t lose to Baylor on Saturday Mike, that is something we strong recommend you not do!  Space Shuttle to Mike Sherman:  Yes, you have a HELLAVA Problem!

6.  Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville – Steve Kragthorpe and his Cardinals tried like Hell to lose to Syracuse at home on Saturday, which would have been a new low in the Kragthorpe era, but somehow the UofL football team rallied and got a big win over that powerhouse Orangemen team!  Now at 4 – 6 on the season, there is still an outside chance that Louisville could get to 6 – 6 on the year and get to a bowl game, but with a trip to Tampa to play USF and Rutgers at home to finish the year we don’t like the Cardinals chances.  Well, hold on a minute, USF looked like a pitiful football team last week vs. Rutgers and if somehow Louisville can sneak a win in Tampa then they could return home and play the game of their lives and beat the Scarlett Knights! ……………………….Yes, it could happen, so we will give Steve Kragthorpe a reprieve of sorts this week and see what he and his football team can do in Tampa on Saturday!  Go Cardinals!  One thing for sure, Greg Schiano laid out a great blueprint on how to frustrate that USF offense and QB! 

7.  Paul Wulff, Washington State – After getting whipped by the UCLA Bruins on Saturday, Paul Wulff is now 3 – 20 (.130) in his second year at Washington State and we really wonder if anybody cares.  Does anybody really care that Paul Wulff’s WSU teams are getting the Hell beat out of them by Pac-10 teams or have the folks in Pullman just given up on the Coug football program all together.  Maybe they have given up on the Washington State football program, because right now we believe that WSU could get beat 500 – 0 by the St. Mary’s for the Blind football team and the news media in Washington state would write that Wulff needs to “recruit hard and get ready for 2010!”  Are these people in Washington living on the same planet as the rest of us?  Washington State is getting crap beat out of them by every team that knows how to line up correctly on the field and if the folks are Washington State are OK with that…….then they are a bunch of idiots!  Let’s just face facts:  The Washington State football program is in free-fall and we cannot see why anyone could possibly think that Paul Wulff will be able do anything to stop this free-fall in the 2010 season.  Why would anyone think that Paul Wulff can turn this around next season, when in 23 rd game at Washington State he just got beat 43 – 7 by an average UCLA team?  Frankly, we don’t know what is going on with the Washington State football program and we don’t believe the folks in Pullman have a clue what is going on with the WSU football program either.  With Oregon State and at Washington left, Paul Wulff and the Cougs are looking at 1 – 11 in 2009!  Hell, Wulff one 2 games in 2008, probably 1 game in 2009, which could mean…….ZERO WINS in 2010!  Someone drop us an email when Washington State rejoins I-A football because right now we know several high school teams that could beat the Cougs and not even work up a sweat!

8.  Greg McMackin, Hawaii – After starting 2-6, Greg McMackin and the Warriors are now feasting on the minions of the WAC conference after getting 2 straight wins over Utah State and New Mexico State, with San Jose State up next.  Now at 4 – 6 on the season, the game at San Jose State is HUGE for Greg McMackin, because after SJSU the Warriors have to play Navy and Wisconsin at home and both of those games are going to be very hard to win.  Even with a win over San Jose State, losses to Navy and Wisconsin would add up to a 5 – 8 record for Hawaii in 2009 and we cannot imagine that the folks at UH would be very happy with that kind of record after all of the work June Jones did to build up their football program.  If Hawaii did finish with a record of 5 – 8 in ’09 that would mean that McMackin’s two year record at UH would be 12 – 15 which is a stunning reversal to June Jones winning 23 of his last 27 games with the Warriors.  With Dick Tomey retiring and San Jose State now sitting at 1 – 8 on the ’09 season, we will be watching the Hawaii – SJSU game very closely, because if McMackin and Hawaii lose to the Spartans then that will say a lot about where the Warriors football program is at today.

9.  Dennis Erickson, Arizona State – After getting blown out by Oregon on Saturday, Dennis Erickson’s Sun Devils fell to 4 – 6 on the ’09 season and Erickson is now 19 – 16 in his third season at ASU.  Now needing two wins just to get to .500 and potential postseason game, Arizona State must play at UCLA and then Arizona at home and a loss in either of those games and Erickson will have posted two straight losing seasons after a big year 1 in Tempe.  Maybe we are reading this whole thing wrong, but wasn’t the point of hiring Dennis Erickson to put the Arizona State football program in the top echelon of the Pac-10 conference?  If that was the reason that Dennis Erickson was hired, then that goal has been missed spectacularly.  In fact, if Arizona State does finish with another losing season then a very good argument could be made that the ASU program has gotten worse under Erickson since the Dirk Koetter years, not better.  Let’s go to the records:

Dirk Koetter at Arizona State:

2001:   4 – 7

2002:   8 – 6

2003:   5 – 7

2004:   9 – 3

2005:   7 – 5

2006:   7 – 6

Dennis Erickson’s Records at Arizona State:

2007:   10 – 3

2008:   5 – 7

2009:   4 – 6

Clearly, something has gone wrong at Arizona State over the past two years under Dennis Erickson.  Now, if Arizona State is OK with their football program getting worse, not better then that is A-OK with us!  Actually, Dennis Erickson and his coaching staff better get off their asses and start coaching their football team, because they are looking at 4 – 8 for the ’09 season and that would be an unmitigated disaster.

10.  Lane Kiffin, Tennessee – What a big difference between the way a legitimate head football coach, Mack Brown of Texas, and an illegitimate one, Lane Kiffin of Tennessee, handled a law enforcement problem with a member(s) of their football team.  Over the weekend, Texas freshman D. J. Monroe was arrested for driving while intoxicated and taken to jail.  Here was Mack Brown’s response to that arrest:

“We’re disappointed anytime one of our players is accused of wrongdoing,” UT Head Coach Mack Brown said. “We have talked to D.J. and his family and have decided to suspend him indefinitely, pending the completion of the legal process.”

At Tennessee, three freshman football players were out after midnight and arrested and charged with attempted armed robbery.  Have these three Tennessee players been “suspended indefinitely, pending the completion of the legal process?”  No, Lane Kiffin is keeping the trio on lockout “until I get all the information.”  One wonders what planet one was raised on where three football players getting arrested and charged with attempted armed robbery would not lead to an immediate and indefinite suspension from any sports team, but then we have a lot of questions about Lane Kiffin.  As we here at Coaches Hot Seat remember back to what members of our college sports teams were suspended for: missed team meetings, late to team meetings several times, missed practice, late to practice twice, yelling at a coach, talking back to a coach, missing curfew, missing curfew by 10 minutes, drinking after a sporting event while wearing a team shirt, and on and on of what today we guess would be considered minor infractions.  At Tennessee, we have three freshmen out after midnight of a game week with someone that has drug paraphernalia and they are arrested for attempted armed robbery, and they are not suspended from the football team but are on “lockout.”  Yes, that makes a lot of sense, but then hiring Lane Kiffin at Tennessee made a lot of sense…..right?

Back to the football field, Lane Kiffin’s Vols are now 5 – 5 on the season after they got whipped by Mississippi on Saturday and Lane is now teetering very close to the “Tuna” standard in that any random Tuna caught out of any ocean on the planet could have been hired by Tennessee in the offseason, put in a salt-water aquarium on the Vols’ sidelines and have won 6 games in 2009.  Tennessee has 8 homes games in 2009, which they are 5 – 2 in up to now, and only 4 road games, which they are 0 – 3 in after the Ole Miss game.  Now with 2 – 9 Vanderbilt coming to Knoxville on Saturday we would certainly hope that the Vols with the massive talent advantage they have over the Commodores would be able to win this game, because a loss to Vandy would be very ugly indeed.  If Tennessee does beat Vandy then they will finish the season at Kentucky and although the Vols will be going to a bowl game with a very mediocre 6 wins no matter what happens against Kentucky, it would be mighty ugly to finish the ’09 season with the same record that any random Tuna could have achieved!

Lane Kiffin is back on the Hot Seat because his team got the Hell beat out of them by Mississippi, but also because he does not have a clue how to be a head football coach.  If Kiffin did have a clue or had any understanding of how the real world works, as opposed to the fantasyland he has lived in all his life with his Daddy hovering over his entire career (although apparently not there to tell Lane to shut his mouth when little Lane was taunting kids), he would have immediately suspended all three of the Tennessee players indefinitely from the team until they worked through the legal process.  No, don’t confuse the idiots with common sense, because knowing that these three Tennessee players should have been indefinitely suspended the minute the head coach heard about it is high-on thinking indeed, like……Jethro Bodine thinking!

Jethro

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