All right kids, you know how this works. Every year right about this time, the legendary college football coaching carousel starts to crank up. As a matter of fact, the carousel is cranking up this year much earlier than before–one of the coaches on our list has already lost his job. So, as a public service to our readers, we take a look at those coaches who are most likely to be out of a job by season’s end. Here’s the rundown for this year:
Tommy Bowden, Clemson
Well what do you know, he’s already gone. And he didn’t even have much of a chance to be on the hot seat this year. But he’s been on the hot seat for most of his time at Clemson, so I guess that doesn’t count.
Philip Fulmer, Tennessee
It was widely believed that when Philip Fulmer came to Athens last weekend he would be coaching for his very job. But given the way Tennessee had performed in recent years against favored Georgia teams, it was not safe to draw any conclusions about Fulmer’s hot seat status until after the Georgia game. Well now it is perfectly safe to say that Fulmer is squarely on the hot seat.
Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
Last season Tommy Tuberville fired Al Borges, the offensive coordinator who led him to a perfect season in 2004, and brought in a brand new offensive coordinator only to return him slightly used midway through the season. So compelled was he to make the change, that he had no regard for the idea that his actions would raise serious questions about his ability to make fundamental personnel decisions. Does anybody else get the impression that this guy is teetering on the brink of desperation here?
Al Groh, Virginia
Groh was hired to take the Virginia football program to a new level. Well he has, all right–a new level of dreadfulness. How else do you say it after getting thumped by UConn and Duke? Recent wins over Maryland and East Carolina may have taken some of the pressure off.
Ty Willingham, Washington
After being dumped by Notre Dame and taken in by Washington, Ty Willingham is 11-30 after 3 1/2 seasons. True enough, he has an extraordinarily difficult schedule this year, but an 0-5 start is just not helping matters any for him. Very few think he will survive, and many think he will be gone before the season is over.
Joe Glenn, Wyoming
Joe Glenn came very highly recommended. He was one of the hottest coaches in the country after winning two 1-AA national titles at Montana back in the early 00’s, but he’s just not getting it done at Wyoming. His best record at Wyoming so far is 7-5 in 2004, and already he has matched the five losses.
George O’Leary, Central Florida
Central Florida was 10-3 last year, and George O’Leary is one of the most respected coaches in the profession. But in the wake of Ereck Plancher’s death following a spring team conditioning event, troubling reports about his conditioning methods have surfaced in the local media. A 2-4 start this year will not help matters any for him.
Mike Stoops, Arizona
With a 17-29 record in 4 seasons, the glamour of being a Stoops is wearing off quickly. Fans at Arizona are pining for the days of the Desert Swarm defense of the early 90’s.
Mark Richt, I hope you’re paying attention to developments over in Tucson. If it doesn’t work out for Mike Stoops at Arizona, then you need to do whatever you’ve got to do to get him as your defensive coordinator.
Greg Robinson, Syracuse
Syracuse was once a proud program, but now people have just forgotten about it. It’s gotten so bad that the fans who do bother to show up for the games are gone by halftime. Syracuse’s only win so far this year was against 1-AA Northeastern.
Mark Richt, here’s another guy you ought to consider as your defensive coordinator.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Kirk Ferentz guided Iowa to an impressive run of success in the early part of the decade. The program has backslidden since then, and off-the-field problems over the summer have cast a serious pall over the program. He is off to a 4-3 start this year, but he needs a strong finish to show that he has regained control over the team. Otherwise, he’s out the door.
Dave Wannstedt, Pitt
Going into this season, Dave Wannstedt was 16-19. And up until Pitt’s big win over West Virginia at the end of 2007, you could easily have made a case that Pitt was worse that year than they were when he started out. Pitt is off to a 4-1 start this year, and if that holds up then a lot of the pressure could be off.
Charlie Weis, Notre Dame
After going 9-3 in 2005 and 10-3 in 2006, Charlie Weis came down hard in 2007. Kinda like Ty Willingham, who started out well in 2002 and 2003 and then came down hard and was shown the door. If Charlie Weis continues to struggle, the comparisons between him and Ty Willingham will continue, as will the talk about how Ty Willingham got a raw deal. But Weis has recruits coming in, and an easier schedule than usual this year. So far he is off to a 4-2 start, and if he keeps it up the pressure could be off.