Before we look back to the Week 8 Coach of the Week, “Goat” Coach of the Week, and luckily another week without a “Cry Baby” Coach of the Week, we must first look at a football game tonight involving the Auburn Tigers and the West Virginia Mountaineers that has not one, but two coaches facing MUST WIN games. With the rest of the MUST WIN games for coaches in Week 9 coming tomorrow, we focus on what has got to be one of the most intriguing Thursday night games in years.
Auburn vs. West Virginia, Thursday October 23, 2008
MUST WIN Games
Tommy Tuberville, Auburn – Tommy Tuberville is a long-term successful head coach in the SEC at Ole Miss and Auburn, but he is also a man that has made a few too many enemies along the way and anyone that has followed the Auburn football program closely surely realized that if and when Tubby stumbled, there would be many people out to get their piece of his hyde. For people that have not followed the goings on at Auburn over the past half a dozen years it must be hard to understand how a head coach that is 84-36 (.700) in 10 years (including one SEC title) on the Plains could be on the Hot Seat, but Tubby’s problem has nothing to do with his win and loss record, but rather the enemies he has made and more importantly now what is going on in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with Nick Saban and the Tide. Now entering the eighth game in his tenth year at Auburn, Tommy Tuberville is facing the most critical game of his career as his Tigers face off with a struggling West Virginia team on the road. After the Tony Franklin debacle that included wrong decisions by everyone involved, Tuberville and Auburn are at 4-3 and neither he nor his team is in a position where they can really afford to go to 4-4, especially with games at Ole Miss, Georgia at home, and a trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium to play Alabama to end the year. If Auburn did lose to West Virginia tonight, there would be a very good possibility that the Tigers could finish the season at 5-7, and we do not believe that even with a $6 million dollar buyout that Tommy Tuberville would return to Auburn with that record in ‘08. Maybe the economy is just bad enough and looking even worse going forward that there will be some reluctance to pony up $6 million dollars to buy out a football coach, but if Tuberville does go 5-7 and remains in the Auburn head coaching job, he would be in one the weakest positions of any SEC coach entering the 2009 season. In his news conference on Monday Tuberville said he wants to be at Auburn for 10 more years, which is the first time in a long time that we have heard Tommy so emphatically say he wants to be at Auburn long-term, so we are going to take his words at face value. A word to the wise though Tommy Tuberville, you might just want to find a way out of the Auburn job and get paid a lot of money while you are heading out the door, because if Tommy wants to admit it or not, the tables have been turned in the state of Alabama and it is our opinion that Auburn is in for a regular butt kicking by Alabama and Nick Saban for the foreseeable future. If the Crimson Tide is once again going to be the dominant college football program in the state of Alabama, we seriously doubt that Tommy Tuberville is going to enjoy being on the receiving end of what he has been giving to Alabama for 6 years. We also doubt that the Auburn fans and more importantly the large Auburn boosters are going to tolerate their football program playing second-fiddle to the boys in Tuscaloosa. Yes, that is the real issue here, the worry that Nick Saban has already turned the tables and that Tommy Tuberville is no longer moving the Auburn football program forward. Tommy Tuberville is facing THE key game of his coaching career and West Virginia is a MUST WIN game for Tommy Tuberville and the Auburn Tigers.
Bill Stewart, West Virginia – Bill Stewart is not in immediate danger of losing his head coaching job, but in his first year with the Mountaineers his football team is not playing anywhere near the level it played under Rich Rodriguez and that woeful play has led to many questions, and rightfully so. Now sitting at 4-2, and with West Virginia’s 4 wins being over I-AA Villanova, Marshall, Rutgers, and Syracuse, no one really knows yet if Stewart can lead this West Virginia football team to legitimate wins and conference titles. Now a really struggling Auburn team that is desperate for a win shows up in Morgantown and this is not a game that Bill Stewart and West Virginia can afford to lose either, because if the Mountaineers lost and went to 4-3 they would find it very hard to put up a very good record with the remaining games on their schedule. With games at UConn, Cincinnati, at Louisville, at Pittsburgh, and South Florida, there is a real possibility that if WVU lost to Auburn that they could end the season with a losing record and that would be a disaster with the amount of talent that is on this West Virginia football team. Yes, much like Tommy Tuberville tonight, Bill Stewart is facing a MUST WIN game against the Auburn Tigers.
Now on to the Week 8 Coach of the Week, “Goat” Coach of the Week, and the non-award of the “Cry-Baby” Coach of the Week:
We had several coaches nominated for the Week 8 Coach of the Week including: Dick Tomey, Mike Stoops, Ralph Friedgen, Jim Tressel, and Mack Brown, but the Week 8 Coach of the Week goes to….
Week 8 Coaches Hot Seat Coach of the Week
Coach: Al Groh
Yes, Al Groh is the Week 8 Coach of the Week! After being left by the side of the road after starting 1-3 after losing to Duke, Groh and his Cavaliers have reeled off wins against Maryland, East Carolina, and North Carolina, and the comeback win over the Tar Heels gets Groh the Coach of the Week Award. One can only wonder what Virginia’s record might be if now dismissed QB Peter Lalich was still in school, because it seems very clear to us that UVA’s current starting QB Marc Verica is playing much better and in his last two games he is 49/70 (.700) with his passing. It also strikes us that the Virginia offense is playing much harder than they were earlier this year, and no doubt that has a lot to do with Verica’s play and the return of running back Cedric Peerman. Of course, for most of the North Carolina – Virginia game it looked like Butch Davis was going to get away with another win, but on the last drive of the game the combined play of Virginia aggressively moving the ball down the field and North Carolina deciding to not rush the QB and play the “Victory Defense” led to a big overtime win by the Cavaliers. Now with a big win over North Carolina, Al Groh must quickly refocus his football team, because they have a brutal home stretch of games to finish the season. With a trip to Georgia Tech this Saturday, Miami, at Wake Forest, Clemson, and at Virginia Tech to end the year, it is still going to be very hard for Virginia to finish with more than 7 wins in ’08. First up is a tough trip to Georgia Tech, but for Week 8 Al Groh is the Coaches Hot Seat Coach of the Week. If he beats Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Groh might just be the first back-to-back winner of the award!
We considered several coaches for the Week 8 “Goat” Coach of the Week, Butch Davis, Jeff Tedford, Jim Grobe, Mike Sherman, and Bobby Petrino, but the Week 8 “Goat” Coach of the Week is……
Week 8 Coaches Hot Seat “Goat” Coach of the Week
Coach: Gary Pinkel
After losing a tough home game to Oklahoma State we fully expected the Missouri Tigers to come out against Texas and play the Longhorns tough, but as the game kicked-off the Missouri football team was no where to be found. We seriously doubt that if Missouri had lost their way to the stadium if Texas would have been able to score 35 points in the first half if they had played against air, but there was the score 35-0 and yet the Missouri football team was on the field. Yes, Missouri was on the field, but they were not playing football, and although the Tigers’ offense struggled, the Missouri defense looked like they were at ballet practice rather than playing in a football game. The Missouri defense has been the big problem for the Tigers in ’08 and we cannot help but wonder that instead of practicing each week that the Missouri defensive players have been hanging out on sorority row baking cookies, making lemonade, and having pillow fights. The Missouri defense sure hasn’t been playing football because we cannot recall a Tiger defensive player hitting anyone all year, but rather when they run up to a ball carrier they seem to stop right before they make their “pillow fight” tackle and ask, “Would you mind if tackled you?” Maybe Gary Pinkel needs to fly his defense out to San Francisco this week and let his Tigers play in one of Coaches Hot Seat’s flag-football games so that his defensive players can actually learn what it is like to get tackled when one of us “accidently” takes the opposing team’s ball-carrier to the ground. No doubt, there has been much more hitting in the Coaches Hot Seat flag-football games this season than anything the Missouri defense has done in ’08 and we can only ask the question: Is Missouri going to continue holding pillow fights or are they going to play football? Good question, and an impossible one to answer, because probably at this very minute the Missouri defensive players are over at the Tri-D House doing needlepoint so they can get a jump on Christmas presents for their mommas. Yes, the Week 8 “Goat” Coach of the Week is Gary Pinkel! Congratulations to Coach Pinkel and to his defense, which we have no doubt will be giving out some beautiful needlepoint gifts this Christmas, because they sure aren’t playing the game of football. Hey, if any of you Missouri defensive players get any extra needlepoint time, could you make up a few “Princess” designs, which we could pass along to our daughters? Alas, our daughters don’t have time for needlepoint, because they are playing soccer or field hockey and yes sadly, there is more contact going on in those girls’ soccer and field hockey matches than has gone on with the Missouri defense in ‘08!
Week 8 Coaches Hot Seat “Cry Baby” Coach of the Week
No “Cry Baby” Coach of the Week Awarded in Week 8
There you have the Coaches Hot Seat Coaches Awards for Week 8.
Let’s hope we have a couple of great football games tonight against the Auburn Tigers and the West Virginia Mountaineers to kick-off Week 9!