We are not quite sure what is going on up in Eugene, Oregon with the University of Oregon football team, but the string of arrests, scuffles and now curious postings on the Internet sure brings to mind at least smoke if not an outright fire. We probably wouldn’t go as far as The Oregonian columnist John Canzano and claim Oregon head coach has “lost control” of the Duck football team (UO coach Chip Kelly, even after Jamere Holland, clearly has lost control, The Oregonian), but we do believe we have an unique insight into Oregon football since the University of Oregon is the only school in the country where a couple of Coaches Hot Seat members are enrolled in school (in graduate and professional studies).
We talk to our CHS friends up in Eugene on a regular basis and although they do not interact with many Oregon undergraduates or Duck football players they have passed along that they have heard and overheard about a “different” vibe among Oregon football players since Chip Kelly took over. We asked them over the weekend to define “different” and they both said that from what they have heard the Oregon players “like” Chip Kelly but they do not “completely respect” Kelly and that there is a general feeling that starting football players can get away with things that with regular Oregon students and student-athletes would never be tolerated.
Now that is a damn interesting, but not altogether unusual vibe that our good friends have picked up on the Oregon campus, because most everyone reading the Coaches Hot Seat Blog understands that there is generally a double-standard for star football and basketball players at most colleges, which is a sad indictment of collegiate athletics. As to Chip Kelly directly, we still believe that Kelly has control of the Oregon football program but we have some real concerns relative to if Kelly, and even some of the Oregon assistant coaches, to if they have the respect of their football players. With former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti we always got the impression from talking to our Oregon friends that have lived in Eugene for years that things were looser than at say Mike Riley’s OSU program up the road in Corvallis, and that too many times players that should have been shown the door were allowed to hang around, often just creating more problems.
“Athletic director Mike Bellotti, who football coach when Holland transferred to Oregon from Southern California after the 2006 season, told The Oregonian he was frustrated with Holland.
“We’ve given this guy so many chances,” Bellotti said Sunday while attending Oregon’s stunts and gymnastics meet. “We’ve had many sit-down, very serious talks.””
The above quote from current AD and former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti tells you all you need to know about the Oregon football team, because if people are having to sit down with a kid about his behavior when he is on scholarship and is being given every opportunity in the world to earn a degree and play football then there are already very serious problems. What we have never quite understood is why any head coach, AD, or university president would ever tolerate any of this outrageous behavior by student-athletes, but then when you are talking about starting football players and “stars” then maybe that double-standard is very much alive and well.
Way before LaGarrette Blount punched the Boise State player and had to be dragged from the field in Boise by police officers, he was in Bellotti and Kelly’s doghouse. Of course, Blount was allowed back on the team and he went off at the end of the Boise game clearly frustrated that after running his mouth for weeks leading up to that game that he was not able to back up his big talk. After Chip Kelly and Mike Bellotti said that LeGarrette Blount was finished for the ’09 season, they indeed changed course let Blount back onto the Oregon football team and in our minds here at Coaches Hot Seat sent a very clear message to the other Duck players: You can do bad things, even embarrass the University of Oregon on national television and make a fool of yourself and your family, but in the end you will be allowed to return and play football. Evidently, the message sent by Kelly and Bellotti with Blount was a MESSAGE THAT WAS RECEIVED LOUD AND CLEAR BY THE OTHER DUCKS! (What was the message you ask: “Psst….Hey, we got your back even if you do wrong things)
“The trouble is, nobody really knows what happens when you get arrested for assault. Nobody really knows what happens, either, when you get a DUII. Nobody really knows what the consequences are at Oregon when it comes to anything other than insulting the head coach. And therein is Kelly’s biggest issue.
Was Kelly really surprised that Holland felt so cavalier about calling him out? Really?
The bad actors need to go, Coach.
Suspend the ones who are facing charges pending the outcome of the investigations. Do it swiftly. Do it with authority. Do it regardless of talent and without fear that it will cost you the trust of your athletes.
Anything else amounts to Kelly wilting. And that includes a hollow, “I’m still gathering the facts,” on star players whom police have already charged, jailed and sent away on bail.
Kelly can’t reasonably expect us to take him seriously as a mentor, coach and leader as long as he’s unwilling to draw stronger lines around the privilege of wearing a Ducks uniform. And cutting Holland loose, while appropriate, isn’t enough.””
We couldn’t have said or written it any better. If Chip Kelly wants to turn the University of Oregon into the new “Thug U” then he is off to a great start, but if he wants to hold his players accountable for their actions then there should be a very clear policy: If you are arrested by the police I am not going to be “gathering facts,” but rather suspending you from the football team until the issue is resolved. Once the issue is resolved we will then consider lifting the suspension, with the key word being “consider,” because bad citizens and thugs will not be part of Duck football or the University of Oregon for that matter.
We rather doubt that Chip Kelly or Oregon athletics will adopt such a disciplinary policy because it would put their starters at risk if they did do something wrong, and therein lies the difference between 2010 and 1985, at least for those of us here at Coaches Hot Seat. If any of us here at CHS had been picked up by the police for beating up our girlfriend, or stealing, or being the cause of a fight, we knew full well to not bother calling our head coach or showing up at the athletic offices because we already knew what the punishment would be. No, the coach would not be “gathering the facts,” but rather kicking our asses if we got within punching distance and complete and total suspension for embarrassing the coach for offering a scholarship to us and bringing such a total idiot to the school.
It will be fascinating to see what happens at Oregon in the coming weeks and months, because our friends up in Eugene have the ability to discern when something is not right, and right now something is not right in the Oregon athletic department. The problem is we don’t believe the people in the Oregon athletic department have any interest in all in really fixing the problem and are hoping that it will all just go away and everyone can return to Autzen Stadium this fall and watch the Ducks play football. If Kelly and Bellotti did want to solve the problem they would just make it very clear to the Oregon football players that if you go out into the community and make an ass of yourself and/or break the law, be assured you will be suspended from the team and put your scholarship at stake. Oh, that is way to black and white for the folks in Eugene….
Yes, there was a time when being a student-athlete on an athletic scholarship at a I-A school was a “privilege,” but like many things in America today that entire thought has been turned on its head and it is now the coaches that have the “privilege” of coaching the athletes. That attitude is not prevalent at all major college athletic departments but it is true at way more than people realize and until the selfishness, the thugness, the sense of entitlement and the utter lack of respect that some of these players have for the coaches, fellow players, family, and even their school is completely extinguished the arrests and problems will continue.
One thing about losing control of your football team….it often leads to your ass landing on the Hot Seat, and if you look at the head coaches that are now high up on the Coaches Hot Seat Rankings one will find coaches that do not have total, or even partial, control of their team and players.
The story on the Big Ten talking to Texas about joining their conference in the Lawrence World-Herald yesterday, Big Ten making overtures to Texas, was an entertaining read but we don’t think there is a chance in Hell that Texas joins the Big Ten. If you don’t believe that then you have not been to a Texas football game in Austin or at the other Big 12 college towns where there are always thousands of the great Texas fans with their RVs and cars loyally following the Longhorns. Does anyone really believe that Texas is going to join the Big Ten and then play games in Ann Arbor, Columbus, Madison, State College, etc., that far from where the vast majority of Texas fans live in the great state of Texas?
Please, not going to happen.
As we said a few weeks a back in this blog we believe that the Big Ten would be smart to move to a 14 team league by adding:
Pitt (if not Kentucky)
OK, Kentucky is not a member of the Association of American Universities, but UK is still a very good public institution and it would bring some great athletic teams to the Big Ten.
If Kentucky did jump to the Big Ten (Big 14?) the SEC could just call over to the Atlanta and add Georgia Tech back into the SEC, which the Yellow Jackets left in 1964. Georgia Tech in the SEC instead of Kentucky? That might make it an ever better conference and add the Atlanta TV market which they already have a sizeable hold over.
What would the ACC do if Georgia Tech went to the SEC? Simple. Call up the Big East for a merger and create the first super Uber-conference of 18 teams. How would that look:
Now that would be a great conference, and talk about the basketball games! Wow!
The Pac-10 you ask? From where we sit the Pac-10 should move to 14 teams as well and add:
OK, Boise State and BYU to a lesser extent are not at the same level academically as the Pac-10 schools, but both are very good schools and will be growing very strongly in the coming years as the Western US continues to fill-up. Boise State is a terrific university and is sitting in one of the best towns in the United States.
How would the Pac-10 then look like?
Now that is a great college athletic conference!
What would the MWC and WAC do? Merge again of course!
What would the Big 12 do if they lost Colorado? Add TCU, Houston and SMU to the Big 12 to create a 14 team conference. Another great athletic conference! The Big 12 also needs to hire someone that really knows the TV business and how to leverage the media assets that the conference is not now taking advantage of to the fullest extent. The Big 12 should be as big as the SEC, and a smart media person could do wonders for the Big 12 to raise its presence in the world of sports.
This is all so simple! Can’t wait for the Pac-10 TV Network!
Several of us here at Coaches Hot Seat are down on the Monterey Peninsula this week for the AT&T PGA Tour event at Pebble Beach…
…..and a couple of other nearby golf courses but we will be gathered around the big flat-screen tonight to watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. Talk about a great venue for an Olympic Games. Vancouver and nearby Whistler ski resort are great towns and will be stunning spots for the Winter Olympics and if you get the chance to visit Vancouver/Whistler in the future…GO!
Good Luck to the American Olympic Team! Let’s bring home lots of medals….Especially gold medals!
Over the past few weeks we have been watching with great interest the assistant coaching moves (or stays) and the salary increases of those coaches and of course, recruiting has had some of our attention recently as well. We were determined to not get the Final 2009-10 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings in front of National Signing Day because we are acutely aware of how negative recruiting is used out on the recruiting trail these days. We do have a good deal of respect for several of the head coaches that we now have on the Hot Seat (some, but not all) and after quietly visiting a few college athletic departments over the past few weeks and getting an inside look at some of the more volatile situations around the country and also due to some personal reasons related to recruiting, we stayed quiet for the past few weeks and tried to keep Coaches Hot Seat below the radar. Of course, the subscribers to Coaches Hot Seat still got their full amount of Daily Coaches Hot Seat News which all of us here at Coaches Hot Seat have been reading with great interest as well. Now that National Signing Day is behind us, it is time to move on to the Final 2009-10 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings!
Top 10 Final 2009-10 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings
1. Dan Hawkins, Colorado – Watching what Chris Petersen has done over the past 4 years at Boise State (49-4), Dan Hawkins must be kicking himself as he thinks back on his decision to take the head coaching job at Colorado. Much like the coach before him that left Boise State for “greener’ pastures, Dan Koetter, who put up a record of 40-34 in 6 seasons at Arizona State, Hawkins is learning that things are often not what they seemed at a “bigger” school. In 5 years at Boise State Dan Hawkins was 53-11 and now after 4 years at Colorado Hawkins 16-33 and we rather doubt that Hawk somehow forgot how to coach when he left Boise for Boulder, even considering the fact that he stepped up to much tougher competition in the Big 12. The most surprising thing about Dan Hawkins tenure at Colorado is his overall record, 16 – 33, and the huge drop-off from Gary Barnett’s last few years at CU that were considered a disaster by many Buff fans.
Gary Barnett’s records in 7 years at CU:
1999 – 7-5
2000 – 3-8
2001 – 10-3
2002 – 9-5
2003 – 5-7
2004 – 8-5
2005 – 7-5
Overall – 49 – 39 (.557)
Dan Hawkins records in 4 years at CU:
2006 – 2-10
2007 – 6-7
2008 – 5-7
2009 – 3-9
Overall – 16 – 33 (.327)
There is just no getting around the fact that Dan Hawkins has really struggled at Colorado, even compared to what were some very disappointing last few years for Gary Barnett at CU. There really is only one way out of this mess for Dan Hawkins and that is to find a way to get CU to at least 6-6 record in 2010 and back into some kind of postseason bowl game. Even a 6-6 record might not be good enough, but using 6-6 in 2010 as a baseline, let’s look at the Buff’s ’10 schedule:
9/4 – Colorado State, Denver
9/11 – at California
9/18 – Hawaii
10/2 – Georgia
10/9 – at Missouri
10/16 – Baylor
10/23 – Texas Tech
10/30 – at Oklahoma
11/6 – at Kansas
11/13 – Iowa State
11/20 – Kansas State
11/26 – at Nebraska
That is a very tough schedule and unless Colorado’s play becomes much better between now and the kickoff against Colorado State in September it is going to be immensely difficult for Hawkins and the Buffs to get to 6-6. If Colorado is to become a bowl team in 2010 then they will have to do it by becoming a much better team on defense, because we don’t see the CU offense getting significantly better in the offseason. In 2009, Colorado average scoring on offense 22.25 points and gave up on defense 28.83 points and any first grader can tell you that ratio can’t last for long. In ’09 Colorado was 57 th in total defense, 88 th in scoring defense, 80 th in rushing defense, and 69 th in pass efficiency defense which coupled with an anemic offense easily illustrates why CU was 3-9 in 2009.
Yes, Dan Hawkins is on Hottest Seat in college football entering the 2010 season and there is only one sure-fire way to get off the Hot Seat: WIN FOOTBALL GAMES.
2. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland – The win/loss numbers on Ralph Friedgen are very simple:
First Three Years at Maryland, 2001 – 2003
31 – 8 (.795)
Last Six Years at Maryland – 2004 – 2009
35 – 38 (.479)
Does everyone now understand why Ralph Friedgen is on the Hot Seat? Thought so. Whatever changed after Friedgen first three very good to great years at Maryland, something has gone terribly wrong in the last six, and the 2009 season was the culmination of a lot of problems that have been building in College Park for a long time. We here at Coaches Hot Seat have had the opportunity to watch Ralph Friedgen under Bobby Ross and George O’Leary at several different stops and now at Maryland and we believe that there has been a fundamental change in Friedgen over the last few years that goes to the heart of the problems he is now having at UM. We believe that Ralph Friedgen has lost the overarching desire and drive that he used to have to win football games as a head and assistant football coach and that unless he regains that desire and drive to field a winning football team, 2010 will be his last season as a college head football coach. We haven’t a clue to why Ralph Friedgen is no longer the fiery, driving, work like crazy, get in your face, stick a dagger in the opposing coach and team that he used to be, but maybe it is because Friedgen has had a very successful career in coaching on many different levels and maybe a sense of satisfaction has set-in, which is by far one of the most dangerous attitudes for any coach or any athlete to hold. We here at Coaches Hot Seat know what Ralph Friedgen can do when he is totally focused on achieving the goals of his football team, which at Maryland should be to win the ACC Atlantic division, the ACC Championship, and the National Championship, but in recent years there has been more questions and uncertainty at Maryland than goal achieving.
How can Ralph Friedgen turn this thing around at Maryland? For starters, Friedgen must get his old fire back and to do that he must again start holding his Maryland players accountable for their actions on the football field; he must identify the players that will lead his football team; and he must no longer accept the mediocre play, stupid penalties, dumb decisions and slopping around on the field that has become all too commonplace at UM in recent years. In short, Ralph Friedgen must become Ralph Friedgen once again.
It is too late to put the “coach in waiting” genie back in the bottle at Maryland, but like all such decisions where a coach on the current staff is designated to succeed in the head coach, we believe the decision to anoint James Franklin to follow Ralph Friedgen was a terrible idea. Not that we think James Franklin is a bad coach or that he is not qualified to be a head football coach, because by all accounts he is ready to hold such responsibilities, we more oppose the entire idea of designating any coach to take over a for a head football coach because we believe it creates a lot of uncertainty with the football team over who is really in charge; it could create some animosity on the current staff; it locks in a coach to succeed the head coach at a future but uncertain time which by its very nature creates more uncertainty; and lastly the entire “coach in waiting” concept is anathema to entire concept of what being a head football coach and leader is all about. First and most of all a head football coach is “in charge,” or should be, and a designated “coach in waiting” candidate undermines that fact. Second, an organization, especially an organization like a college football team that is made up of younger people that are still finding their way in life need “one” person to look to as the final decision maker. With a “coach in waiting” in place the team can be put into a position of having two different leaders and that in itself could open up divisions within the team when things don’t go right, which as we have found is often the case with “coach in waiting” scenarios. The last reason we oppose “coach in waiting” situations is that an organization that designates a “coach in waiting” to take over a football team on some future date goes against the very nature of life which is filled with uncertainty and unknowns that can dramatically change in a very short period of time that can change the way all the parties involved view who should be the future head football coach. It is impossible for any of us to know what even tomorrow will bring, forget about several years from now, and locking in a particular coach in a “coach in waiting” situation for a period of years runs directly counter to how football team should be led and run and the core principle that life is uncertain. Yes, a “coach in waiting” situation has a chance of working when a team is doing well, but when things turn bad, a “coach in waiting” scenario can make things worse, much worse, and that is why we have opposed the entire “coach in waiting” concept from the start.
It should be very clear to everyone at Maryland that not only is Ralph Friedgen coaching for his job in the 2010 season, the entire “coach in waiting” situation with James Franklin is on the line as well. Since James Franklin was designated as the “coach in waiting” in February 2009, Maryland has put up a record of 2 – 10 and if Friedgen, Franklin, and even AD Yow don’t think there is a lot riding on the upcoming football season then they have not been paying attention. We believe that Ralph Friedgen needs an above average season this fall to return in 2011 and that means struggling to a 6-6 record and into a meaningless bowl game will not be enough to keep the Friedgen era at Maryland going or the Franklin era from starting as well.
3. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M – We here at Coaches Hot Seat have still not figured out why Mike Sherman was hired at Texas A&M and Sherman’s overall record of 10 – 15 in two seasons in College Station only confirms our confusion. In 2009 Texas A&M had three “gimme” out-of-conference games at home against New Mexico, Utah State and UAB and even with those 3 sure wins on the schedule Sherman and the Aggies were only able to go 3 – 7 against the 10 legitimate teams they did play. In two years at Texas A&M Mike Sherman has coached 25 games and has an overall record of 10 – 15, but let’s really get into those numbers and see just what Mike Sherman has really accomplished as the head coach of the vaunted Aggies:
25 total games as head coach at Texas A&M
Overall Record: 10 – 15
Record against winning or .500 teams – 2 – 13
Record against teams with losing records – 8 – 2
So let’s get this straight. Against teams with winning or at least. 500 records, Mike Sherman is 2 – 13 and against teams with losing records Sherman is 8 – 2 at A&M. Yes, that is the mighty Texas A&M for you!
Please, is there really anyone with a working brain that doesn’t believe that any random man, woman, dog or cat couldn’t have put up a record of 10 – 15 in two seasons at Texas A&M realizing that there were cupcakes galore on both of those schedules and that a 2 – 13 record against winning teams is the standard that would have to be met? Come on, any random man, woman, dog or cat, or even Charlie Weis, could have posted 10 – 15 over the past two years at Texas A&M and if the fans, alumni, boosters and administration don’t understand that very basic fact then they are living in a fantasyland.
The folks at Texas A&M have been kind enough to line up another group of Candy Ass Cupcakes for Mike Sherman and those vaunted Aggies in 2010 with the following meat grinder of an out-of-conference schedule!
9/4 – Stephen F. Austin
9/11 – Louisiana Tech
9/18 – Florida International
10/2 – at Oklahoma State
10/9 – Arkansas, Dallas
10/16 – Missouri
10/23 – at Kansas
10/30 – Texas Tech
11/06 – Oklahoma
11/13 – at Baylor
11/20 – Nebraska
11/25 – Texas
OK, the dog with fleas that lives up the street could coach Texas A&M to a 3-0 start against Stephen F. Austin, La. Tech and Florida International at home. After the 3 cupcake games, that we wouldn’t drive from Houston or Dallas to attend on a bet, the Aggies have the Big 12 schedule and that game against Arkansas in Dallas (The Hogs whipped the Aggies 47 – 19 in ’09) to face and if Mike Sherman cannot win at least 9 games in his third year at A&M with 3 cupcakes and 7 home games overall then Mike Sherman should be fired. After all, this is Texas A&M, isn’t it? Oh, we forgot that the Texas A&M fans have been so dumbed down in recent years that they might see Sherman put up another despicable 6 – 6 record in 2010 and scream with delight! No, that is not the Texas A&M fans that we know and if the Aggies are going to settle for being sorry, then please don’t call yourself an Aggie any longer. Properly call yourself a Candy Ass, because that is what you are if you are willing to accept mediocrity in the A&M football program, or any other Aggie sport for that matter.
Here’s the real kicker: Mike Sherman’s contract with Texas A&M runs through March 31, 2015. If Mike Sherman is fired without cause on December 1, 2010 by Texas A&M, according to his contract….
“In the even of early termination without cause by the University, the University is obligated to pay Sherman $150,000 per month for each month or portion thereof from the effective date of termination until the expiration of the contract.”
What does that all mean and add up to? If Mike Sherman is fired on December 1, 2010, Texas A&M will owe Sherman:
That Texas A&M signed a guy that has never been a head coach in college football and had an overall record of 59 – 43 in 6 seasons in the NFL to a contract that would pay him such an obscene amount of money is not only beyond outrageous, beyond stupid, beyond intelligence, it is the epitome of everything that is wrong in college football today. A side note: The only members of the Texas A&M Board of Regents to vote against Mike Sherman’s contract as presented to them for approval: Coach Gene Stallings. Do you think Gene Stallings might know more about college football than the idiots running Texas A&M athletics? Please, Gene Stallings knows more about the game of college football than most folks and if you doubt that fact we only have one word to shut your trap up: JUNCTION.
Not only is Mike Sherman coaching for his job in 2010, he is coaching for the jobs of about a dozen other people in the Texas A&M athletic department and maybe even a A&M Regent or two. If Mike Sherman falls on his face again in 2010 then not only will Sherman need to be shown the door, it will be time to clean out the entire A&M athletic department and hire a new athletic director that will really launch a national search to hire the best coach available, which is what was claimed was going to happen the last time around and didn’t. Texas A&M needs a winning head football coach leading its football program, not some has-been from the NFL that would have been lucky to land any head coaching job when he was hired by A&M, forget about what used to be one of the best jobs in college football.
Yes, it is either win big in 2010 or hit the road for Mike Sherman, and many other folks in College Station. Of course, the Aggie fans have become so used to mediocrity that maybe Sherman will put up another pitiful record and they will just accept it and move on… If that happens then there is one thing we will know for sure. Texas A&M football is finished and the supposed Aggie fans that fill Kyle Field each Saturday are little more than sheep which will take any crap, like bogus football schedules that include Stephen F. Austin, La. Tech, and Florida International, that come their way. Maybe the rumor is true, an Aggie will salute you and run into any battlefield situation, but can he really think for himself? That is something we may just find out in 2010.
4. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan – We have been very clear on our thoughts of Rich Rodriguez being hired at Michigan from the first day the idea of Rodriguez moving to Michigan made it into the public domain. IT WAS A BAD IDEA AND RODRIGUEZ IS A TERRIBLE FIT AT MICHIGAN. We certainly weren’t the only one’s saying such things about Rich Rodriguez leaving West Virginia for Michigan, because anyone with an IQ above room temperature knew that there was probably not a more awkward fit offense-wise than Rodriguez’s spread offense and what Michigan has run in its recent history and the offensive personnel that were in Ann Arbor when Rodriguez was hired. Even with all that being said, we still believe that Rich Rodriguez is a very good football coach and that he has the coaching ability to rise above the challenges he has had to face at Michigan and to prove our opinion of Rodriguez just go to his win/loss record.
In 7 years at West Virginia, Rich Rodriguez was 60-26 (.698) and if you throw out his first year season of 3-8 his 6 year record at West Virginia was 57-18 (.760), which is the record of one of the top head coaches in the college game. What Rich Rodriguez’s coaching ability has not been able to overcome is the installation of a spread offense at Michigan that not only did not fit the personnel that were on campus when he arrived but also how awkward the spread offense fits in the mind of Michigan players, fans and alumni. Even heading into year 3 it is still just very hard to get one’s head around the idea that Rodriguez is running a spread offense out onto the field under those Michigan helmets and uniforms and when something is not working well, like the UM offense over the past two seasons, then there will be lots of questions that know one including the head coach will be able to answer very well.
Of course, there is no going backwards to the fall of 2006 when Rich Rodriguez should have walked from Morgantown to Tuscaloosa to take the Alabama job, especially if he was so unhappy at West Virginia, and there is no going back on Rodriguez getting hired by Michigan. No, the only thing to do now is to go forward and the way forward is that Michigan is going to run a spread offense under Rich Rodriguez and thus that means this is a race between either Rodriguez getting his spread going in Ann Arbor or Michigan finding themselves a new head football coach. How much time is left in this race? Good question. One key factor in Rich Rodriguez’s future at Michigan surely revolves around the fact that he now has a new AD that did not hire him at UM and that the new AD is a guy that is old enough to remember what Michigan looked like on the field under Bo Schembechler and Lloyd Carr. Yes, not only does the new AD know what Michigan used to look like on both offense and defense, but every Michigan fan over the age of 15 knows as well, which puts Rich Rodriguez into a spot where he is going to have to prove that what he is trying to implement at UM will work and the only way to win that battle is by winning football games.
Could Year 3 be Rich Rodriguez’s last year at Michigan? Yes, it could be, but we believe that Rodriguez will be given every chance to install his spread offense at Michigan and to prove that he can win in Ann Arbor, but…and that is BIG BUT, Rodriguez must show progress in year 3 at UM. What is showing progress in Year 3? Good question. We believe that progress in Year 3 is at a minimum taking Michigan to a post-season bowl game and probably also finding a way to get to a .500 record in Big Ten play. Remember, those are not very high goals for Rich Rodriguez in 2010, because after all, this is MICHIGAN. Rodriguez went 3 – 9 and 5 – 7 in his first two years in Ann Arbor and even as bad as the Michigan offense and defense have struggled in the first two seasons, UM could have easily won another 5 or 6 games if they had just played with more poise and with the experience that comes with more games playing in this new system.
With a 6-6 record and a .500 record in Big Ten play as the minimum standard for Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, let’s go to UM’s 2010 schedule:
9/4 – UConn
9/11 – at Notre Dame
9/18 – UMass
9/25 – Bowling Green
10/2 – at Indiana
10/9 – Michigan State
10/16 – Iowa
10/30 – at Penn State
11/6 – Illinois
11/13 – at Purdue
11/20 – Wisconsin
11/27 – at Ohio State
Not forgetting that we are talking about MICHIGAN, the above schedule to us looks very manageable. We don’t see any reason that MICHIGAN couldn’t go at least 3-1 in their out-of-conference games in ’10 and we certainly don’t think that MICHIGAN should have much trouble putting up at least a 4-4 record in the Big Ten in the upcoming season. After all, THIS IS MICHIGAN!
Will Rich Rodriguez be fired if he doesn’t at least take the Wolverines to a post-season bowl? Yes, we believe that Michigan will fire Rodriguez and move in another direction if UM is not in a bowl game at the end of the 2010 season, which should be very liberating for Rich Rodriguez and his staff, because they know exactly what they have to do.
5. Lane Kiffin, USC – 12 – 21…..12 – 21…..12 – 21…..12 – 21…..12 – 21…. Those are the numbers that keep coming up when we think of Lane Kiffin, and of course the record 12 – 21 is Kiffin’s overall win/loss record in 1.5 seasons with the Oakland Raiders and 1 season at Tennessee. 12 wins and 21 losses! Can you believe it? 12 wins and 21 losses and the University of Southern California, one of the most storied football programs in the history of college football, just hired a guy that has three years experience as a head coach and he has an overall record of 12 – 21. One can only wonder what the morons at USC were thinking, but then we wondered what the morons at Tennessee were thinking when they made one of the worst hires in college football history by bringing Lane Kiffin to Tennessee in 2008. We have heard from many folks in recent weeks, including Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton that Lane Kiffin was not a good “cultural fit” for Tennessee, but we heard none of the folks in Tennessee admitting that they could have hired any random dog or cat off of any street in any town in the state that could have won 7 games at UT in 2009. Tennessee played 8 HOME GAMES IN 2009 and there are people that really think Lane Kiffin actually achieved something by winning 7 football games at Tennessee in 2009. Yes, there are some mighty stupid people walking around out there, but then haven’t you heard? Lane Kiffin is the head football coach at Southern Cal! Yes, USC AD Mike Garrett and the folks that hired Lane Kiffin and his “Gang” at USC are very stupid people and one can only wonder what will happen to them after Kiffin burns down the USC football program and makes everyone in Heritage Hall look like bumbling idiots….
What was Pete Carroll’s record in the NFL when he was hired by USC? In 1 season with the Jets and 3 seasons with the Patriots, Carroll had an overall record of 33-31 and he had coached at 9 different places, including Ohio State, NC State, the Minnesota Vikings and with the San Francisco 49ers. What has Lane Kiffin done? He coached for 1.5 years with the Oakland Raiders and put up a record of 5-15 and 1 year at Tennessee putting up a record of 7-6, a record that any random dog or cat off the streets of any town in Tennessee could have achieved. That is what Lane Kiffin has done….yet, Lane Kiffin is the head football coach at Southern Cal.
One thing about many of us here at Coaches Hot Seat. We have lots of ties to the Los Angeles area either thru living and working in the area for a number of years, marrying women that grew up in the LA area, traveling to LA on business on a regular basis, and lastly by having a couple of dozen very good friends that are USC graduates. For years, even before Pete Carroll arrived at USC in 2001, several of us went to USC (and UCLA) games on fall Saturdays and we had many happy times at the LA Coliseum, especially in the last 8 years when Pete Carroll was in town. Attending so many games at the LA Coliseum and living and working in the LA area one can’t help but meet, get to know and become friends with USC alumni and boosters, because it is hard to spend much time in LA (or San Francisco) and not run across lots of Trojans. With that in mind, we have been talking with our USC friends a good bit lately, especially since Pete Carroll announced that he was leaving for the Seattle Seahawks job and since Lane Kiffin was hired at USC. We asked our USC friends in the days after Lane Kiffin was hired at USC what they thought of the hire and here is what first came out of their mouths…
“What the F _ _ _ are they thinking?” – “Couldn’t believe it.” – “Idiots.” - “That stupid son of a bitch will blow this thing up.” – “Lane Kiffin replaces Pete Carroll….does that makes sense to you?” - “A snot-nosed kid is now they head football coach at USC…I still can’t believe it.” – “I was thrilled when Kiffin went to Oakland. I laughed when Tennessee hired him. I laughed when USC did.” – “I just told my son to pay no attention to what Lane Kiffin says. He asked: “Why?” I said: “Because he’s an idiot.” – “I thought it was a joke.” – “I guess Howdy Doody turned us down. That’s the only way we could have gotten down to Kiffin.” – “They said Norm Chow was coming, but I knew Norm would never work for this fool.” – “I give him 3 years, if not less.” – “My daughter now wants to go to UCLA!” – “I laughed when UCLA hired Neuheisel. I can only imagine what the UCLA fans are saying now!”
We could go on, but you get the point… Now that Lane Kiffin is the head football coach at USC, we must turn to what are the expectations for Kiffin and what will he have to do to keep his job and stay off the Hot Seat. Well, we have Lane Kiffin on the Hot Seat right now because he has an overall record of 12 – 21 and by all rights there is not a high school in the country that would have him as their head coach, but we digress…
Let’s see here, Pete Carroll’s record at USC over the past 9 years was 97- 19 (.836). Carroll won 9 or more games in 8 of 9 seasons and 10 or more games in 7 of 9 seasons at USC. Pete Carroll won 2 national championships and 7 Pac-10 titles in 9 seasons at USC. With all that mind, it should be made very clear that Lane Kiffin (or any other coach that would have been hired to replace Carroll) will be required to continue the success of Carroll and keep USC at or near the top of the Pac-10. Rivals.com says that USC has the best recruiting class in the country this year and USC has been recruiting very well for years, so we all know there is plenty of talent at USC, which means the bar will be set very high for Lane, as it should be at a school like USC. Let’s go to the Trojans 2010 schedule:
9/2 – at Hawaii
9/11 – Virginia
9/18 – at Minnesota
9/25 – at Washington State
10/2 – Washington
10/9 – at Stanford
10/16 – California
10/30 – Oregon
11/6 – Arizona State
11/13 – at Arizona
11/20 – at Oregon State
11/27 – Notre Dame
12/4 – at UCLA
OK, a rented mule as the head coach at USC could win 9 games at USC in 2010. A rented mule that had kicked a football once in his life could win 10 games! So, how many games will Lane Kiffin win at USC in 2010? Anything less than 10 games and Kiffin will be on the Hot Seat for most of the year…. Anything less than 9 wins and Mike Garrett may not be the AD at USC come December 2010. Anything less than 8 wins and USC will look like a bunch of fools. Anything less than 7 wins and….well, do we really need to go there?
As for us personally here at Coaches Hot Seat, we are thrilled that Lane Kiffin is the head football coach at USC, and for all the Pac-10 coaches that are worried that Monte Kiffin is something more than just a decent defensive coordinator, maybe you should get a copy of that Chick-fil-A bowl game where Virginia Tech put up 37 points on the Vols in Monte Kiffin’s 12 th game at Tennessee. No, we welcome Lane Kiffin to the Pac-10 and we only hope that we can keep him around for a few years, because this is going to be rather fun watching Lane Kiffin destroy all of what Pete Carroll built at USC. Rather fun indeed! The pressure is on Lane, and if you mess up this time you will be lucky to be coaching 70 lb. Pee Wee football in Costa Mesa!
6. Dennis Erickson, Arizona State – No doubt, Dennis Erickson is one of the very good to great head college football coaches in the past 30 years and he is a slam-dunk future first-ballot College Football Hall of Fame member, but all of that matters little when you are leading a Pac-10 football program that is coming off two straight losing seasons. It really was only three seasons ago when Erickson in his first year at Arizona State put up a record of 10-3 leading the Sun Devils back to the top echelon of the Pac-10, but 5-7 in ’08 and 4-8 in ’09 and Erickson finds himself on the Hot Seat. Now 19-18 overall in three seasons at Arizona State, Dennis Erickson may be facing a make or break year at ASU in 2010 because we rather doubt any Pac-10 program that is spending as much money on football as the Sun Devils are, will tolerate three or more straight losing seasons. The BIG problem for Erickson and Arizona State is that the Pac-10 is getting dramatically better with almost every team in the conference being able to beat any other team (save Washington State) and that means that ever conference game out is a toss up between a win and a loss. That is what the SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten have been like for years, and that means that Erickson must both improve ASU’s play from the past two seasons and find a way to win some games in ’10 that he isn’t supposed to win. Let’s go to Arizona State’s 2010 schedule:
9/4 – TBA
9/10 – Northern Arizona
9/18 – at Wisconsin
9/25 – Oregon
10/2 – at Oregon State
10/9 – at Washington
10/23 – at California
10/30 – Washington State
11/6 – at USC
11/13 – Stanford
11/26 – UCLA
12/02 – at Arizona
We are guessing that the TBA will turn into a decent opportunity for a win, but with road games at Wisconsin, at Oregon State, at Washington, at California, at USC and at Arizona, Erickson and the Sun Devils will have their work cut out for them just to get to a .500 or better schedule. Erickson hired Noel Mazzone as the new OC and supposedly to call the offensive plays in 2010 and if ASU is going to have any chance to win more games than they lose they will have to score lots of points. Yes, 2010 could be Dennis Erickson’s last season on the sideline after a storied career as a college head coach or it could be the jumping off point to another 5 years of so, but only if he can get Arizona State back into the mix for the Pac-10 title. Better than .500 would be nice for ASU in 2010, but we have a feeling that a lot better than .500 will be needed to keep the folks in Tempe happy.
7. Ron Zook, Illinois – Yes, it really was only 3 seasons ago that Ron Zook took the Illini to the Rose Bowl after putting up a 9-4 regular season record, but when you follow up a Rose Bowl trip with records of 5-7 and 3-9 then you should expect to find yourself on the Hot Seat and that is exactly where Ron Zook is sitting as he heads toward the 2010 season. Another factor working against Ron Zook is his overall record at Illinois of 21-39 (.350) and only 1 winning season in 5 years with the Illini. A very interesting item is that the coach that preceded Ron Zook at Illinois, Ron Turner, took the Illini to one major bowl game (2001 Sugar Bowl) after putting up a 10-2 record in 2001, but Turner and Zook have pretty much matched each other’s record in the other years on the job. Ron Turner’s overall record at Illinois in 8 seasons was 35-57 (.380) which is scary close to Zook’s winning percentage of .350 with the Illini. Yes, Ron Zook is facing a do-or-die season in 2010 and we believe that he will need 7 or more wins to even have a chance to return in 2011. With Paul Petrino now hired as the new OC and slated to call the offensive plays we fully expect Illinois to score some points, but can the Illini stop anyone? That is the question that Ron Zook had better answer before the 2010 season because Zook is on a very Hot Seat that will only be cooled off with one thing….WINS!
Illinois 2010 football schedule:
9/4 – Missouri, St Louis
9/11 – Southern Illinois
9/18 – Northern Illinois
10/2 – Ohio State
10/9 – at Penn State
10/16 – at Michigan State
10/23 – Indiana
10/30 – Purdue
11/06 – at Michigan
11/13 - Minnesota
11/20 – at Northwestern
12/04 – at Fresno State
That is a pretty tough schedule but it is a schedule that Illinois in a good year where they could win 7 or more games and no doubt the Illini will need to be at worst 2-1 when the play Ohio State on October 2. We certainly wouldn’t want to be going to Fresno State in early December with only 5 or 6 wins though!
8. Greg McMackin, Hawaii – It is very easy to understand why Greg McMackin is on the Hot Seat, and that is because McMackin took over a Hawaii football program from June Jones who put up a record of 76-41 (.650) in 9 seasons at UH and McMackin’s two-year record of 13-14 pales in comparison to Jones’ achievements. We rather doubt that Hawaii is going to tolerate the Hawaii football program to continue to take a big step backwards from all that June Jones built at UH and that means that McMackin will have to move the Warriors forward in a dramatic way in 2010 or face a very Hot Seat during the upcoming season. Can Greg McMackin put up another .500 or worse record and return for the 2011 season? Not a chance in Hell. What does Hawaii have to face in 2010? Well, their 2010 schedule is not out yet, but they do have USC, at Army, at Colorado, Charleston Southern and UNLV out-of-conference which along with the WAC slate will make putting up a .500 or better record a very hard thing to do indeed. Yes, Greg McMackin is on the Hot Seat and rightfully so!
“Brewster’s extension, which runs through 2013, contains a new bonus incentive based on total victories in a season that pushes his potential incentive package to more than $1 million — provided he wins the BCS title game and Big Ten title.
However, Brewster received an adjusted buyout package that reduces his payment from $400,000 per years remaining on his contract to $200,000 per years left. That means Brewster would receive $600,000 if he’s fired after next season — $200,000 times three years. He would have received $400,000 had he not received an extension, but $1.2 million had the university extended his buyout at its original base.
Brewster’s $1 million annual salary — $400,000 base, $400,000 supplemental and $200,000 in deferred retirement — remains identical to the terms of his original contract signed after taking the job in 2007.
“The absence of a significant pay boost is simply a reflection of the serious budgetary situation the university faces,” university General Counsel Mark Rotenberg said Thursday. “The bonus for wins in a season is consistent with President Bruininks’ views on most all of the revenue coaches’ contracts — President Bruininks wants incentive for performance.””
So Brewster’s buyout if he is fired after the 2010 season has been reduced to $600,000 from $1.2 million if Minnesota has extended his buyout at its original base. Yes, there is some uneasiness at Minnesota about Tim Brewster. In his three years at Minnesota Brewster is 14-24 overall, but he did have that disastrous first season of 1-11, which we will throw out, so Brewster’s record over the past two seasons has been 13-13 with two trips to the Insight Bowl. Of course, .500 might not be good enough, because anyone that has been on the Minnesota campus lately and seen the beautiful new TCF Bank Stadium can easily understand that the folks at UM are not going to tolerate .500 schedules for much longer and that means that Tim Brewster in year 4 is on the Hot Seat.
Could Tim Brewster be fired after the 2010 season if he doesn’t improve on a .500 record and move up in the Big Ten conference? Absolutely, so let’s look at Minnesota’s 2010 schedule:
9/2 – at Middle Tennessee
9/11 – South Dakota
9/18 – USC
9/25 – Northern Illinois
10/2 – Northwestern
10/9 – at Wisconsin
10/16 – at Purdue
10/23 – Penn State
10/30 – Ohio State
11/6 – at Michigan State
11/13 – at Illinois
11/27 – Iowa
Wow! That is a tough schedule and we think that unless Minnesota makes a dramatic leap over its play in the last 2 seasons, the Gophers will have a very hard time getting to much better than a 6-6 record in 2010. That means Tim Brewster better prepare his rear-end to be on the Hot Seat for much of the 2010 season.
10. Paul Wulff, Washington State – In two years at Washington State Paul Wulff has put up a record of 3 - 22 (.120) which includes 1-17 record in the Pac-10 conference. Who were those three wins against? I-AA Portland State and a winless Washington team in 2008 and last minute win over SMU in 2009. There is just no getting around the win/loss record that Paul Wulff has put up at WSU in his first two years in Pullman and from what we have been hearing, there had better be a lot more wins in 2010 or there will be a coaching change and possibly some athletic department changes come December 2010. The thing is, Paul Wulff did not take over a team that was as bas as 3 – 22 in two seasons and in fact the five seasons that the previous head coach Bill Doba was in charge, Washington State put up a respectful record of 30-29. Previous to Bill Doba, Mike Price in 14 seasons at Washington State put up a record of 83 – 78 which combined with Doba is a record of 113 – 107 (.514) over the past 19 seasons and that record is a far cry from what Wulff has done at WSU. A mighty far cry. Unlike some of the other coaches that are now on the Hot Seat, the task for Paul Wulff is very clear, Wulff must make considerable progress in 2010 and “considerable progress” means putting up at least a 6 – 6 record and going to a postseason bowl game or come very close to achieving that goal. Let’s look at Washington State’s 2010 schedule:
9/4 – at Oklahoma State
9/11 – Montana State
9/18 – at SMU
9/25 – USC
10/2 – at UCLA
10/9 – Oregon
10/16 – Arizona
10/23 – at Stanford
10/30 – at Arizona State
11/13 – at Oregon State
11/20 – California
12/4 – Washington
With the above schedule we don’t think there is a chance in Hell that Wulff and Washington State will come close to winning 6 games in 2010. To that we can only say, coach hard Coach Wulff!
Besides the above 10 coaches that are in the Top 10 of the 2009-10 Final Coaches Hot Seat Rankings, below are the other 15 coaches that we believe are on the Hot Seat as we head for the 2010 season:
11. Todd Dodge, North Texas
12. Bill Lynch, Indiana
13. Bob Toledo, Tulane
14. Stan Parrish, Ball State
15. Steve Roberts, Arkansas State
16. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt
17. Doug Martin, Kent State
18. Steve Fairchild, Colorado State
19. Mike Haywood, Miami (OH)
20. Ron English, Eastern Michigan
21. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
22. David Bailiff, Rice
23. Brady Hoke, San Diego State
24. Mike Locksley, New Mexico
25. Mario Cristobal, Florida International
We will be keeping a close eye on all of the 120 I-A head coaches and football programs in the offseason and we will of course adjust the Coaches Hot Seat Rankings if anything happens to justify moving a coach up or down the Rankings.
Reflections on Recruiting……
Several of us here at Coaches Hot Seat went through recruiting when we were considering college and we must say what has become college football recruiting in today’s world is a spectacle indeed! As we watch all of these young and eager kids sign those letter-of-intents we can only wonder if they know what is coming down the road once they get to the campus! No, it will not be pretty! Once they adapt and get used to everything though it really isn’t all that bad, but still imagining trying to go through a fall football practice or the offseason conditioning for any college sport sends shivers down our spines!
Our only hope is that once these young kids get to campus that the head football coach delivers the clear message that the school is going to do everything in its power to give you every opportunity to earn a college degree, which if getting that college degree is achieved will change the lives of everyone of these kids. Demand a lot from these kids coaches, on the practice field, away from football but also in the classroom, because most kids only get one good chance to go to college and besides having a great time, getting that college degree is very damn important!
We will be back early next week with our 2009-10 Coaches Final Grades.
Have a great weekend and let’s hope from a Great Super Bowl! Coaches Hot Seat will be gathering together on Super Bowl Sunday for the first time we have fully gotten together in 2010 and we have a lot to discuss and a football game to watch. Yes, get me another cold one!
Meanwhile in the Real World…
We don’t know how many of you out there like Jazz music, but last Sunday Brian Lamb of C-Span did a Q&A with Terry Teachout who recently finished the book: Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong.
It was a great interview and Pops is a great book on the Great Louis Armstrong. If you don’t know much about Louis Armstrong you really can’t go wrong reading Pops and learning about this Great Man’s life and what he can teach all of us on how to live our lives in what are the very tough times we face in today’s world. If you don’t listen to or know Jazz, especially the great American Jazz, Oh, you have missed a lot!
Here is the C-Span Q&A with Terry Teachout on his book on Louis Armstrong
Here is the Great Louis Armstrong
What a Wonderful World
Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash – Blue Yodel No. 9