Woody Hayes once said: “There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.” If that’s true the Ohio State Buckeyes have the cleanest soul on the planet! 24 hours later and another viewing of USC’s beatdown of Ohio State have us believing that USC is very good, but that Ohio State is very average. The way that Ohio State has played in its first three games this year, would only make them a middle-of-the-pack team in the Big 12 or SEC, and we would right now make them only the co-favorites with Wake Forest if they moved over to the ACC conference. As Pete Carroll said after the game, USC did nothing special, and we completely believe that after watching the game again and seeing USC run the same defense and offense that they have been using for 3 years now. USC is just like any other college football team, they can be beat, but before scheming or gameplans even become a consideration, a team must be willing to play with passion and to be very physical to take on and beat the Trojans. Ohio State did not bring either of those key components to the Coliseum, and on top of that they are a step slower than USC and that is why they got destroyed by 32 points.
Although we are not holding our breath, if Jim Tressel hired Coaches Hot Seat on our standard $1 dollar consulting contract to give him and his staff some advice on what the Buckeyes could do to play better against USC and the better teams in the Big 12 and the SEC, our advice would be very simple. We would recommend that instead of the “pillow fights” (term stolen from one of our favorite Buckeyes Chris Spielman) that Ohio State now has instead of real football practices (as seen on the Big Ten Network), that Ohio State start actually practicing the game of football. If we took over this Buckeye team after that pitiful performance against the Trojans, we would tell the players to be in full-gear and ready for a scrimmage. We would then take them to the practice field and on one end of the field we would scrimmage the first team offense vs. the second team defense and we would do the opposite on the other end of the practice field. If any players were not going full-speed in these full-contact scrimmages we would be running them, as in running one-hundred yard sprints until they either quit the team or decided that they wanted to play football for Ohio State University. We would scrimmage the players for about an hour, full-speed, full-contact, and then take a 30 minute “halftime” break so that we could decide which players really wanted to play football and which one’s didn’t, and then we would scrimmage the “new” first-team offense against the “new” first-team defense, at full-speed, full-contact. We would send the “new” second-teamers to the other end of the field to scrimmage each other, and we would run off any of the players that we thought didn’t want to passionately wear a Buckeye football uniform. By having a full-on scrimmage every week of football season, coaches can find out who wants to play football and who enjoys “pillow fights,” and from us watching a tape of the Ohio State – USC game on Saturday night, we would say that about 85% of the Buckeyes enjoy “pillow fights.” That is the reason why the mighty (well, more like “pillowlly”) Ohio State Buckeyes got their ass handed to them by the USC Trojans. Memo to Coach Tressel: We are always willing to come help you out for our standard $1 consulting fee. Of course, after watching your team on Saturday night, we really doubt if more than 5% of the Ohio State football team would survive a practice that we would run, unless of course they wanted to give up their “pillows” and play the game of football.
Enough on the Buckeyes beatdown, because the more you think about, the more you watch it, the more you ponder it, the worse it gets for Ohio State, and it ain’t gettin’ any better anytime soon. We are done with Week 3 of the college football season, and the ballots are in on the Post Week 3 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings. As always there was a lot of movement in the rankings from top to bottom and some coaches have really improved their ranking this year, and some coaches are starting to get their rear-ends scorched from where they started at the beginning of the season. Such is the great game of college football! Tonight after dinner at Coaches Hot Seat Central we had 10 TVs going with tapes of all of the games that we did not get to see over the weekend, and once again there was some very good, and unfortunately, some very poor football being played all over the map. Nothing like having 10 college football games going at once, because the twists and the turns, the hits and the mistakes, the passion and the fire, all just keep coming nonstop. Well, on to the Rankings!
Below are the Top 10 Coaches from the Post Week 3 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings:
1. Greg Robinson, Syracuse - It looks to us that Greg Robinson is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and Coach Robinson needs to remember that this is only a game, and that no matter what ends up happening at Syracuse, he is still a good football coach. There are plenty people that have failed at jobs in America and have come back roaring later in their life, and there is no reason Robinson cannot have come back from this debacle at Syracuse. For whatever reason, it has not worked out for Robinson at Syracuse, and there is just no excuse for a Syracuse head coach in his fourth year at the school to lose at home to Penn State 55-13. Of anyone in the coaching game, Joe Paterno is not going to run the up the score, so the end-result against another good football team could have been much worse and that is why Syracuse is heading towards a coaching change at the end of this season. Whatever happens in the future though, Greg Robinson and his staff need to make sure that they not only prepare the Orangemen players well for the upcoming games, but that they keep their player’s heads up, because these guys are at school to both earn a degree and play football and there is no reason that bad results on the football field should leak into their educational studies. Northeastern is up next for Syracuse and this is a great chance for the Orangemen to go out and get a win and try to build some momentum for a game against Pittsburgh in two weeks. Play hard Orangemen!
2. Ty Willingham, Washington – We predicted that UW would be 0-3 after their first three games in ’08 and here we are at 0-3, but we did not envision that the Oklahoma Sooners would come into Husky Stadium and lay a 55-14 beatdown on the Huskies. Several of us here at Coaches Hot Seat have been to more than two dozen games at Husky Stadium over the years, and we cannot recall a Washington team getting beat so badly, and only imagine what the score might have been if someone besides Bob Stoops was on the OU sidelines. This Oklahoma team could have beat UW by 100 points, and that fact goes straight to a very important issue, there is just no excuse for the University of Washington football program to lose to any team, including the Seattle Seahawks if they played them, 55-14 at Husky Stadium. Yes, it looked to us that Washington played hard throughout the game, and you have to give credit to Willingham and his staff for keeping the Husky team up, but 55-14? There is no explaining that final score, and the Huskies must quickly recover from the OU game and get ready for their next 4 games that are all very winnable. It’s not a stretch to say that Washington could very easily be 4-3 on the evening of October 25, with wins over Stanford, Arizona, Oregon State, and Notre Dame. Yes, Washington has the talent to play with all four of those teams, and now they need to add to their effort very good execution if they want to start putting up some wins on the board. Up to this point in the season, the Washington players have been very sloppy in their execution and they have had a number of breakdowns in key spots that have cost them dearly in games, and that has to end. Washington has a bye week before they face Stanford at home on 9/27, and UW better be prepared for a much more physical Cardinal football team than in the past and a Stanford team that plays with a very hungry attitude about getting more wins in ’08. Stanford will not be a pushover anymore under Harbaugh, and if we had to predict the Stanford – Washington line today, we would make it a pick ‘em or UW a slight favorite, even though the game is in Seattle. Yes, Stanford will be a very tough game for the Huskies, so prepare well boys!
3. Al Groh, Virginia – Whatever is really going on with the Peter Lalich’s (Cavs QB) suspension at Virginia, there is still no explanation for the 45-10 whipping that UConn laid on the Cavaliers Saturday. So far this year, Virginia hardly showed up for USC, they were on the ropes to I-AA Richmond, and they got destroyed by UConn. All of that adds up to Al Groh’s rear-end being hotter than a Blue Giant Red Dwarf Star (about 2,000,000 degree Fahrenheit!). There are reports that QB Lalich is back at practice, pending the outcome of a court hearing on 26 September, and UVA plays at Duke the next day. In case anyone hasn’t been paying attention, David Cutcliffe has Duke playing some good football, and that is why the next two weeks (bye for UVA this week) are the most important two weeks of Al Groh’s career. Al Groh cannot afford to take his Virginia football team to Durham, even without QB Lalich, and lose to first year coach Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils. If Virginia should lose that game to Duke, we would recommend that Groh not look in the UVA AD Craig Littlepage’s top desk drawer, or he will find a list of coaches that Littlepage is considering as his replacement. If the Virginia football team does have any fight left in them after that disgraceful performance at UConn, they need to find it, and QUICK! Prepare hard Cavaliers!
4. Bill Stewart, West Virginia – Bill Stewart and the Mountaineers had the weekend off, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t working like hell in Morgantown to try and right the ship before the Thursday night trip to Boulder to play Colorado. Since Bill Stewart was hastily hired to be the head coach at West Virginia in the wake of the Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma, there have been lots of whispers in the wind that Stewart is over his head in this job. We don’t know much about Bill Stewart, so we have no idea if he has the ability to be the head coach at a big-time college football program, but the answer to that question will be forthcoming in short order. After the uninspiring game against a good East Carolina team, everyone will be tuned in on Thursday night when they face Colorado, and with the Mountaineers coming off a bye week, they better be ready to play some football against the Buffs. Colorado is picked to be a mid-level Big 12 team and West Virginia is loaded with talent and a Heisman contender at QB, and Stewart must have his team ready to take the field and prove that not only can their coach handle this job, but also that West Virginia is still a real player in the game of college football. If West Virginia loses to CU, a very HOT high pressure system will start building in Morgantown, contract or no contract.
5. Chuck Long, San Diego State – With the loss to San Jose State on Saturday, Chuck Long and the Aztecs are off to a 0-3 start, and could be headed for an outright debacle in 2008. The fan support was already thin for the Aztecs in San Diego, but we are guessing that hundreds of high school football teams in the state of Texas will draw more fans at their games this year, than will be at the Idaho – San Diego State game in two weeks. Idaho vs. San Diego State! Wow! What a battle of titans, and if the San Diego State athletic department started dropping free tickets to that game from helicopters all over San Diego beginning today, they might be able to get a few stumblebums out to the game. Hell, put some oak trees up inside the stadium and announce that you are going to cut them down and that will guarantee the Aztecs that every lunatic on the West Coast will be in attendance. Just don’t think it will be easy to get them to leave after the game is over! (Hey that could be a positive though, with a 100 or so lunatics guaranteed to be at every game. Start planting oak trees SDSU!) Chuck Long has got to get serious with this football team and get it moving in a positive direction, or the SDSU football program is going to implode. The first thing that has to happen is that the Aztecs must beat Idaho in two weeks, because if San Diego State cannot beat Idaho at home, they might as well shut down the football program. Get those Aztecs ready Chuck!
6. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan – Anyone that got to see the Notre Dame – Michigan game on Saturday can tell that there is a serious problem in River City for the Michigan Wolverines. We knew the transition from Lloyd Carr to Rich Rodriguez was going to be a shock to the Michigan football program and in the other direction even to Rich Rodriguez and his staff, but we don’t think anyone envisioned that Rodriguez would have fielded such a poor team in his third game on the job against the Irish. There is a lot that has gone on behind the scenes since Rodriguez left West Virginia for Michigan, and we believe that this transition has been tremendously difficult for Rodriguez and his family for many reasons, primarily being that the culture at Michigan is so different than the culture that Rodriguez grew up and coached in for his entire career. It is only 353 miles from Morgantown, West Virginia to Ann Arbor, Michigan, but it might as well be another country for people that have only lived in one of those places during their entire lifetime. Rodriguez would have had a much easier transition to Alabama or to another southern school, and the difficult transition for Rich Rod in Ann Arbor is certainly having an effect on the Michigan football team in ‘08. Rich Rodriguez is a very good football coach, but it is going to take some time to get the entire Wolverine football program on the same wavelength that he coaches on, and even though Michigan was a very good football program when Rodriguez took over, it will probably take two or three recruiting classes before all the UM players buy into the new regime. We still cannot help but think that in an ideal world Les Miles should be the head coach at Michigan right now, and no matter how often Miles tells people in Louisiana that he has found a new home, no one will ever be able to convince us from our conviction that if Miles and Rodriguez could switch jobs right now, both football programs would be better off in the long-run. Don’t get us wrong, both coaches will win lots of football games at their current schools, but both coaches are not at places that fit their particular personalities and cultural backgrounds very well, and that is something that only very good football coaches can overcome in the long run. With all of that being said, after the performance of the Wolverines against the Irish, Rich Rodriguez is now on the Hot Seat. With Wisconsin up next in the Big House, Michigan needs to get better in a hurry! Prepare hard Wolverines!
7. Mike Price, UTEP – The Miners had an off-week after the home loss to Texas, and now Mike Price and his team face a key game against close-by rival New Mexico State this coming Saturday. Hal Mumme and his NMSU team got blasted at Nebraska Saturday, and Price needs to have his UTEP team ready to play, because a 0-3 start would be a disaster for the Miners with the schedule they have left to play in ’08. After NMSU, Price and the Miners host UCF, and then they have to travel to Southern Miss, so this next game is vital to build some momentum for the upcoming Conference USA schedule. Prepare hard Miners!
8. Mike Stoops, Arizona – After a nice 2-0 start Arizona traveled to Albuquerque on Saturday night and they could not match the passion of the New Mexico Lobos, and that loss is another devastating setback for Mike Stoops at Arizona. The upside for Mike Stoops as he looks ahead to the Pac-10 schedule is that there is only one team in conference that is playing really good football, and the upcoming teams for the Wildcats of UCLA, Washington, and Stanford are all winnable games. Arizona travels to the Rose Bowl this Saturday and with the Bruins coming off of a 59-0 drubbing by BYU, Mike Stoops now faces the most critical game of his coaching career. Everyone knows that UCLA is beat-up pretty good. Everyone saw how to take them apart with the BYU game. Everyone knows that Neuheisel is going to have a tough first-year with the roster he has to work with. Since we know all that, Mike Stoops and Arizona MUST go into the Rose Bowl and come out with a victory. If Arizona can beat UCLA, then they have a chance to get on a roll, but if the Wildcats lose to the Bruins…. WATCH OUT! If Arizona loses to UCLA it will be hotter in Tucson….., well, no place is hotter than Tucson! Let’s just say it will be very Hot for Mike Stoops and Company!
9. Phil Fulmer, Tennessee – 59-0! 59-0 is the key number for Phil Fulmer right now, because that is the score that Tennessee fans would like to talk to Fulmer about, not the 35-3 score in the Vols’ win over UAB. What is 59-0? That is the score of the BYU – UCLA game, involving the team that beat Tennessee in the opening game of the season. Yes, BYU beat UCLA 59-0! So let’s get this straight…. The mighty Tennessee Vols, SEC member, Neyland Stadium, great football history, lost to a football team in the opening game that turned around got beat 59-0! What? Phil Fulmer now knows that he and his offensive staff blew it when they didn’t come out and run the ball down UCLA’s throat, and that loss to the Bruins may come back to haunt Fulmer later this season if the win/loss numbers don’t add up. The really bad news for Phil Fulmer and the Vols is that the Florida Gators and Tim Tebow are headed to Knoxville on Saturday, and Fulmer is now facing about the tenth must-win game in his coaching career. The good news for Fulmer is that he has won a lot of those must-win games, and he now needs another great performance by his Tennessee team to stem the tide before it sweeps everybody out to sea. If Tennessee does lose to Florida, then Fulmer and the Vols would have a 1-2 record, with a trip to Auburn staring them in the face. Yes, times are tough at Tennessee, and with a schedule that still includes Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky in ’08, times might get a lot tougher. Get ready for a battle Vols, because the Gators are coming town!
10. Tommy Bowden, Clemson – The story out of Clemson, South Carolina is that the Clemson football team is still feeling the effects of that debacle in the opener against Alabama, and their performance against a very mediocre NC State did not reassure very many Tiger fans. Tommy Bowden needs to grab a hold of his football team and get them out of this funk, because after a money game with South Carolina State, a suddenly revitalized Maryland team is up next, and then on 9 October, a trip to play Wake Forest. Without a doubt, Maryland will be a MUST WIN game for Tommy Bowden, and if Clemson can travel to play the Deacons with a 4-1 record, they will have an opportunity to erase a lot of that embarrassment from that opener against Alabama. Before that happens though, Tommy Bowden must get his team ready to play Maryland, because a loss in Death Valley to the Terps would be an unmitigated disaster, and would put a tremendous amount of unwanted pressure on Clemson to win the Wake Forest game…..or else…… Prepare hard Tigers, because to reclaim your manhood, putting wins up on the board is a necessity!
Well, there you have the Top 10 Coaches in the Post Week 3 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings. We have a lot more comments to come on the MUST WIN Coaches/Games for Week 3 and our observations on what coaches had their teams ready to play this past Saturday, and which one’s didn’t.
Several of us are up early out here on the West Coast on this Monday morning, around 4:00 AM PCT, to see how the financial markets open, and it will be fascinating (or rather frightening!) to watch if the meltdown of several major investment companies and insurance companies over the weekend causes problems in our financial system. Talk about being on the Hot Seat. Treasury Secretary Paulson is on the Hot Seat of all Hot Seats right now!