It’s about time for that coaching carousel to start cranking up in full gear. And it figures to spin fast and furious this year. So before it gets going too fast, let us take our annual peak at who figures to be on the hot seat this year.
Mark Richt, Georgia: Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, you knew this already. The good news for Mark Richt is that he has built up a sizeable amount of goodwill over the years, and this should be enough to keep him around another year or two at least. Also, getting rid of Willie Martinez will go a long way toward removing the heat.
Al Groh, Virginia: The pressure on Groh seems to have been building for several years now, and has reached a fever pitch after an 0-3 start which included embarrassing losses to William and Mary and TCU.
Ralph Friedgen, Maryland: Ralph Friedgen, the erstwhile assistant to George O’Leary at Georgia Tech, took Maryland to the Orange Bowl back in 2001, his first year. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done much of anything since. And with Maryland foundering to a 2-6 start this year, the fans are kind of restless.
Bobby Bowden, Florida State: Sad to say it, but it’s true. After owning the ACC all through the 90s and early 00s, Florida State has become something of an afterthought in recent years. And the fans are not liking it. Rumor has it that Bobby Bowden will be back next year, but all he will do is hold the clipboard. Jimbo Fisher will do the rest.
Rich Rodriguez, Michigan: For a coach who is only two years into his tenure, Rich Rodriguez sure is taking a lot of heat. With a 1-4 run that includes a 38-13 beatdown at the hands of lowly Illinois, he has not done himself any favors. The fact that NCAA investigators are swirling around Ann Arbor digging into whether or not Michigan broke time limits during summer practice is not helping matters any.
Ron Zook, Illinois: Illinois had a good run of success through the mid-00’s, including a Rose Bowl appearance in 2007. But now Illinois is foundering at 2-6 at the bottom of the Big Ten. Wonder if fireronzook.com is back up and running?
Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville: Since replacing Bobby Petrino at the end of 2006 he is 13-17. His teams have lost their last 8 against BCS opponents. He has dropped 3 straight to rival Kentucky and 2 straight to a dreadful Syracuse team.
Tommy West, Memphis: Since winning 17 games in 2003-04, he has been positively dreadful.
Mike Sherman, Texas A&M: Supposedly he is rebuilding, but it is not going well at all. He suffered an embarrassing loss to Arkansas State in his first year, and just a couple of weeks back he got punked 62-14 by a really bad Kansas State team. Texas A&M may not keep him around if they can get a program-changer like Cincinnati’s Jim Kelly or TCU’s Gary Patterson.
Bob Toledo, Tulane: At 8-20 in three seasons, he has largely proven to be a bust. But with the Saints winning, maybe no one will notice.
Charlie Weis, Notre Dame: At the start of this season, the speculation was that anything short of a BCS bowl would not be enough to save his job. Good news: If Charlie Weis gets canned, maybe Notre Dame will poach Urban Meyer from Florida and save us all a lot of heartache. Bad news: That fourth-quarter rally against Southern Cal may have taken some of the heat off.
Mike Locksley, New Mexico: Granted it’s only his first year, but starting out 0-7 will not win you very many plus points.
Paul Wulff, Washington State: 3-18 in three years. ‘Nuff said.