Tuesday, June 14, 2016

2016 Coaching Hot Seat Meter: AAC

It's only June, but we already have a pretty good idea of who may or may not be coaching for their lives this season. In this feature, I take a good look at every FBS head football coach, and grade out whether their seats are reasonably cool, or scorching hot in 2016, and we begin with the AAC.

American Athletic Conference
Matt Ruhle, Temple
Seat Temp: Ice Cold
There is no way that Ruhle will be going anywhere this season. He cannot, however, allow the Owls to slide back into oblivion. He is 18-20 in his 4th season, but the program is in an upward trajectory.

Willie Taggert, USF
Seat Temp: Cool
A year ago, I felt that Taggert had no idea where the program was headed. He was 6-18 overall heading into last season, but the tide turned, and he took the Bulls to a bowl after going 8-4. He has to keep the needle moving, as he is just 14-23 heading into season 4.

Tommy Tubberville, Cincinnati
Seat Temp: Room temperature and warming
UC was supposed to run away with the AAC last fall, only to finish 7-5, and then the Bearcats lost to San Diego State in the Hawaii Bowl. Tubberville has not gotten the program performing to their talent, and that is a bad thing. Another under performing season, and we could be having a different conversation.

Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina
Seat Temp: 1st season cool
Montgomery was hired away from Duke to replace the popular Ruffin McNeil. Honestly, I was not a fan of the hire, nor were many ECU fans at the time. He has to seel himself and bring ECU back to the top of the pack in short order to gain the trust of Pirate Nation.

Bob Diaco, U Conn
Seat Temp: Ice Cold
Diaco is just 8-17 heading into year 3 in Storrs, but 6 of those wins came in 2015. The Huskies have moved forward a great deal since Diaco took over, and if this trend continues, there is nothing to worry about.

Scott Frost, UCF
Seat Temp: 1st Year Cool
Frost was on many lists last off season, and UCF finally landed a guy who has a frosty resume on offense. UCF usually was not terrible on defense under George O'Leary, but many UCF teams under him could not be called fun to watch. Imagine who Frost can recruit in the state of Florida, where speed has long been king.

Tom Herman, Houston
Seat Temp: Couldn't get colder
Herman is considered to be the best coach in the Group of Five right now. His Cougars could be so good in 2016, that they will likely crash the NY6 bowls, and could even be good enough to crash the final 4. Houston shelled out big bucks to keep him, and he doesn't want to go anywhere.

Mike Norvell, Memphis
Seat Temp: 1st year cold
I was not exactly over the moon with this hire, but Norvell has the offensive pedigree that the Tigers wanted to bring in after Justin Fuente left for Virginia Tech. I am not sure that Norvell is up to the task of keeping Memphis football relevant long term, but we will have to see.

Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
Seat Temp: Icy
Coach Ken is a fixture at Navy, especially after turning down a dream gig at BYU this off season. Nobody thought he would come back for more work at Navy, but here he is. He is the best coach in Navy history at this point.

Phillip Montgomery, Tulsa
Seat Temp: Very cold indeed
Montgomery has turned the fortunes of Tulsa football in the right direction after just one season. Tulsa went bowling in his first season, but fell to Virginia Tech to finish at 6-7. The Golden Hurricane will be better in season two.

Chad Morris, SMU
Seat Temp: Relatively cool
Nobody has been expecting any miracles at long suffering SMU, and Chad Morris gave them none in his first season, with the Mustangs finishing 2-10. Morris was a coach with a huge offensive pedigree,but he has to prove that he can build something in Dallas, and the chips are stacked against him.

Willie Fritz, Tulane
Seat Temp: 1st year cool
Never, ever bet against Willie Fritz. This man is a huge winner, and has won everywhere he has ever been. He breathed life back into a stumbling Georgia Southern program, and he largely put Sam Houston State on the map before that. This man can flat out coach, and he is exactly what Tulane needed. His impact should be felt immediately.

Next Up: 2016 Coaching Hot Seat Meter: ACC

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