Saturday, August 10, 2013

Coaches on the Hot Seat: 2013 Edition 1

The Bilo College Football Report returns for the 2013 season with our first edition, Coaches on the Hot Seat. We return after taking some time on hiatus in 2012, and there will be some changes to our format in 2013. That being said, we will strive to bring you the most informative and entertaining material that we can provide for you during the college football season, from the opener on August 29th, through the final bowl games in January.

We begin the 2013 campaign with Edition 1 of Coaches on the Hot Seat. If you are unfamiliar with this series, we select a group of coaches using both national sources and our own informed opinions on which coaches across the country will have the most pressure on them to win now. Those who fail to meet early expectations will be shifted into our Coaches Swimming in the Dead Pool series, which will begin in early September. We hope that you will enjoy this post, and all that come after it. Let us begin...

Coaches on the Hot Seat: Edition 1

Paul Pasqualoni: UConn (10-14, 3rd Season)
Pasqualoni was never a great hire in Storrs, and came off as a truly desperate move when Randy Edsell bolted before a Fiesta Bowl appearance for Maryland. While Edsell has been nothing short of a disaster at Maryland, Pasqualoni has failed to keep the Huskies moving in an upward manner as they were a couple of seasons ago. There is no buzz on any moves with the Huskies in the near future, but another lackluster effort in 2013 could increase the heat factor significantly. Being that the national consensus has the Huskies finishing in the lower half of the AAC, Pasqualoni should start to sweat early.

Tony Levine: Houston (6-7, 1st Season)
Levine has only had one full season with the Cougars, and some people have high hopes for the future. I am not entirely buying in. After what Kevin Sumlin, and Art Briles before him, were able to build up, the pressure is amazingly high to keep up momentum, and the return on 2012 fell well short of that standard. Both coordinators are brand new, and the defense seems to be the area that will go through the most transition, and the defense was never strong to start with. The schedule doesn't seem to be very high on the brutality factor, so there is a manageable expectation that Houston can succeed this year. If they don't, there could be issues.

Al Golden: Miami (13-11, 3rd Season)
There is no doubt that Golden has had one of the most difficult jobs in America. From NCAA scandal to apathetic fan support, the Hurricanes are not enjoying one of their golden eras. That being said, expectations are extremely high this season, with an ACC title that seems to be within reach. I am not buying in on Miami, nor am I buying in on Stephen Morris at QB. Golden needs to win, but he will survive in 2013 no matter what happens, because it's not likely that the Hurricanes could find anyone else dumb enough to step into the fire in the midst of all of the legal issues that the program has going on. Had Golden knew what was happening before accepting the job, he never would have come either.

Jim Grobe: Wake Forest (73-74, 13th Season)
Grobe has been in Winston-Salem forever, but that run could be coming to a close if he cannot recapture the magic of earlier runs to the Orange Bowl. Talent is thin on the roster, and expectations for 2013 are extremely low. Grobe has been given a long rope at Wake Forest, but if the Deacons want to be a player in the ACC in an era where championships are the goal, Wake may need some flash, and they have none of that in Grobe. The offense was a mess last fall, and the defense was a sieve. Add poor special teams, and you have the makings of an upcoming train wreck.

Randy Edsell: Maryland (6-18, 3rd Season)
Edsell came on to "save" the program after a rather successful run under Ralph Friedgen. That hasn't worked out very well. Look at the record after the last two seasons, and you really have to see very little else to explain why Edsell makes it to the list. There are at least 6 losses on the schedule before we even begin, so improvement to match long term expectations may be difficult to come by. Edsell was the wrong guy for this job, and the Terps fired the guy who was right for them.

Mack Brown: Texas (150-43, 16th Season)
We all know that college football has become a game of "what have you done for me lately". That is nowhere more evident than in Austin, where Mack Brown may literally have to win at least 10 games this season to retain his job. The Horns finished 9-4 last fall, and had to come from behind to beat Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, something that has Horns fans nervous. The defense was a complete mess last season, so that will have to be shored up if Brown wants to stay alive in his position. The schedule is full of pot holes and challenges, so anything can happen.

Charlie Weis: Kansas (1-11, 1st Season)
Weis has walked into a train wreck of a program. He was a bit of a mess at Notre Dame, so is he really the correct guy to take on this challenge? The answer is yet to be revealed, but I am betting against him, and I am not alone. The Jayhawks are picked to finish 10th in the Big 12 this fall, which, strangely enough in a new math fashion, is last. Remember that the Jayhawks have not won a Big 12 game since 2010, and that was against a team no longer in the conference (Colorado).

Kirk Ferentz: Iowa (100-74, 15th Season)
How seriously stale does this program have to get before people finally wake up and realize that Ferentz needs to go? There have been numerous missed opportunities, numerous off-field issues, and numerous wasted seasons. The only consistency under Ferentz has been, at best, mediocrity in what was a previously proud program. Iowa has been chosen to finish last in the Legends division, and the schedule shows as many as 8 losses this season. Come on people, it's time...

Norm Chow: Hawaii (3-9, 2nd Season)
2012 was a mess in Honolulu. Chow was a terrible hire, and I don't see anything getting any better moving forward. Hawaii was such a mess that I often called for Chow's head in his first season. I normally don't believe in moving a coach so early in their tenure, but sometimes the mistake is obvious. The Rainbows don't show a win for the 2013 season until October 12 against UNLV, and that's not a guarantee.

Dave Christensen: Wyoming (22-28, 5th Season)
Christensen had a very public blow up last fall after a loss to Air Force, where even his daughter was begging him to shut his pie hole. He went nuclear meltdown, and I figured he was as good as gone after last season. Somehow, he managed to survive one more season, but if indications are correct, it could be his last. The schedule is in the Cowboys' favor, and so the pressure could be extra high for 8 wins this fall. If they don't get there, Christensen could be looking for work.

Troy Calhoun: Air Force (47-31, 7th Season)
Calhoun is well liked at the Academy, and he has had chances to leave. The problem is that the Falcons have been falling lately, and the goodwill is bound to run out. Here is the problem for 2013...the schedule could be very difficult, and I see 6 losses on the slate. If the Falcons can turn some of those mid season contests into some wins, Calhoun could reduce some heat. I don't really see him going anywhere after 2013, but a poor showing could make him a prime Dead Pool candidate in 2014.

Bobby Hauck: UNLV (6-32, 4th Season)
Hauck is in major trouble this fall, and has not won a road game in 3 seasons (0-20). Expectations are not high in Vegas at all, but even saying that, wins have to come, and this program his bleeding money by the truck load. Hauck was so good at Montana, so why has it gone so wrong in Vegas? The Rebels were 2-11 last fall, and that's not going to cut it.

Lane Kiffin, USC (25-13, 4th Season)
Kiffin is a mess. USC is a mess. They have no QB. The only proven receiver, Marquise Lee, is banged up in camp. The defense was a mess last fall, and UCLA is overtaking the Trojans in LA under Jim Mora. Kiffin recently got the dreaded vote of confidence from AD Pat Haden, but there is no program in America that is more overrated nationally than the Trojans right now. Kiffin has to beat UCLA, win 10 games, and win the Pac-12 South to stay in his job.

Gary Pinkel: Missouri (90-61, 13 Season)
All you need to know is that Texas A&M flourished in season 1 in the SEC, while Mizzou flailed wildly (5-7). Pinkel has struggled to keep Missouri relevant in recent years despite the highly publicized move to the SEC, but if you make bold moves, you have to back it up, and the Tigers are far short of that. Pinkel needs a huge season to make this work, but the schedule from October forward may be preventing anything good from happening.

Dan Enos: Central Michigan (13-24, 4th Season)
Enos is a good guy. He is out of his league coaching the Chippewas. His record has been a mess, the output of this program has fallen steeply since he took over, and there is massive pressure to get back to the top of the MAC. I only see 4 wins on the 2013 schedule, so this could lead to a dark finish this fall.

Ron English: Eastern Michigan (10-38, 5th Season)
English had turned things onto the right track in 2011, saving his job. In 2012, the Eagles completely collapsed and returned to their losing ways. 2013 is do or die for English, and there will be no excuses. The bad news is that there are low expectations, as the Eagles are expected to finish last in their division. A new AD will be in place during the 2013 season, so if the team does not amp up to bowl eligibility, The AD will likely bring in their own guy for 2014.

Rick Stockstill: Middle Tennessee (43-44, 8th Season)
Stockstill actually won 8 games last season, but that's not why he is on this list. Off-field issues are starting to become a normal thing for the Blue Raiders, and four more players were kicked out of school and are on trial for rape as we speak. This kind of activity kills good coaches, as it shows that Stockstill does not have control over his kids and his program. If the Raiders win big this season (they are expected to compete for a spot in the CUSA title game in their first season), people may turn a blind eye. With that in mind, Stockstill has also had a knack for under performing in years in which expectations were high.

Please join us for our next installment for 2013, a new series that we call "Buy, Pass, Sell".

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