Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Coaches on the Hot Seat: 2016 Volume 3

Welcome back for another edition of "Coaches on the Hot Seat", where I take a look all around the country and discuss which coaches are starting to feel some heat, and are starting to get themselves into must win scenarios. Once a coach get beyond the Hot Seat, and they are headed towards certain doom, they end up in our Dead Pool, which is coming up next. Let's take a look at who is starting to feel a little heat this week:

Steve Addazio, Boston College
It could be that scoring 26 points on the way to beating U Mass last weekend cooled the temp somewhat on the his job this week. Still, BC needs to show that they are moving the needle in the right direction consistently, and remember, the Eagles are still winless in ACC play dating back to last season. Addazio is just 18-22, and is now in year 4. The Eagles will be at Virginia Tech this week, where a decent showing will be a must.

David Beaty, Kansas
Beating Rhode Island is normally not a big enough deal to get excited about. The Rams are one of the worst programs in FCS football with just terrible facilities. That being the case, it was still a huge win for Beaty last week, as it was his first win dating back to last season. He is now just 1-13, but consecutive trips are coming up to Memphis and Texas Tech, so by the end of that, Beaty could be right back in the pool again.

Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Stoops never gets too much heat in Norman, but this week is huge for him, as Ohio State and Urban Meyer are coming to town. If Ohio State gets a beat down in front of the Norman faithful, it could be very bad for Big Game Bob, and Oklahoma administrators could finally run out of patience after what could be a 1-2 start to a season that saw OU ranked 3rd walking in.

Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Gundy is another guy who always gets a pass, but there are reasons for that. With that in mind, a loss to Central Michigan in Stillwater, no mater how the game got screwed up by officials, is just bad for business. Oklahoma State is just 1-1, and just 97 yards rushing per game is part of the problem. Gundy needs to fix that, or this season is going to sink fast.

Kliff Kingbury, Texas Tech
Giving up 68 points to Arizona State last week was atrocious, given especially that ASU is hardly one of the better teams in the PAC-12. Defense has never been a forte under Kingsbury, but the Red Raiders are giving out points like candy at Halloween, at a clip of 42.5 per game. That will bury the seasonquickly, despite having one of the best offenses in the nation. Kingsbury is on thin ice.

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
Patience has got to be running thin in Evanston, evem for Mr. Wildcat himself. Northwestern has the talent to be a pretty good football team, yet is scoring just 14 points per game while starting off at 0-2, with those losses coming to a MAC team (Western Michigan) and an FCS program (Illinois State). This is a Big 10 team. This does not fly. Fitzgerald has been largely uneven during his tenure, as his 70-58 record indicates heading into his 11th season. It may be time to consider options, Especially if they start out 0-3 if they fall to Duke this week.

Charlie Partridge, FAU
The Owls are 1-1 after struggling to beat Southern Illinois, and getting beaten up in the second half against Miami in a loss there. Partridge is now just 7-19 overall, and they travel to Kansas State this week, where he will likely fall to 7-20 in his 3rd season. That's not a selling point. The Owls are scoring just 24 points per game and are rushing for just 2.75 yards per attempt. I say start there.

Bob Davie, New Mexico
Davie pulled himself off of the seat last fall by going to a bowl game, but he is now just 19-33 after losing to in state rival and perpetual loser New Mexico State last weekend. That loss alone just got Davie back on the seat. The Lobos now have a tough trip at Rutgers before coming home to take on San Jose State. Winning both of those games would calm the temp down.

Ron Caragher, San Jose State
Caragher is now just 16-23 in his 4th season with the Spartans, and the season started off badly with a 45-10 loss at Tulsa. They did bounce back last week in a 66-33 win over FCS Portland State. The Spartans get Utah and Iowa State next on the schedule, with Iowa State being on the raod, which will be followed by a trip to New Mexico. I would bet that Caragher has to win two of those to be comfortable on any level.

Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
He did just get an extension, but Arizona has to feel duped about it right now. They are underplaying to their ability in every single way possible. An opening loss to BYU showed that the offense stinks, and it wasn't any better until the second half against Grambling, where the Cats trailed to the FCS Tigers 21-3 at half before waking up to sneak away with a stolen win. Rodriguez flirted with South Carolina to get his extension, but at this point, would it have been better to just have let him go?

Clay Helton, USC
Helton is in his first full season with the Trojans after a couple of stabs at the interim gig. Trojan fans are already having buyers remorse with their handing the job at one of the premier programs in the nation to a guy who was basically their 8th choice last off-season. Helton is just 7-5 since taking over from the embattled Steve Sarkisian/Lane Kiffin debacles, and that 52-6 stinker to open the year against Alabama showed just how far from glory this team is under Helton. USC did rout Utah State last week, but it was misleading, as the Trojans still looked sloppy at times.

Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Auburn is just plain streaky. As it was under Chizik, it is under Malzahn. Both win titles or came close, both had hard falls afterward. Malzahn cannot find a QB, and he is supposed to be an offensive guru. I'm thinking that his offense is just plain offensive.  Three QBs have combined for 2 TDs and 3 INTs this season. The ice is wearing thin on the plains.

Les Miles, LSU
Conventional wisdom is telling me that Miles is a Dead Pool guy this week, but I am not entirely sold on this just yet. Sure, the loss at Wisconsin exposed glaring weaknesses, and the win over Jacksonville State was hardly a complete effort, but Miles is a crafty coach who knows how to win games, and he may just yet pull this season out.

Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
We know all about the off field crap, so we have to focus on what is happening on it. Ole Miss had the utter collapse against Florida State that led them to their only loss so far. Alabama is next at home. One has to wonder if a 1-2 start after potentially losing to the Tide would be enough to get the grumbling going at the Grove next week. Remember that Freeze is now 35-19. Other higher profile programs in the SEC have fired coaches for records similar to that.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Mason blew it in the opener, as the Commodores choked away a 10-0 lead against South Carolina to lose 13-10. Last week, Vandy came back to handle a big threat in Middle Tennessee, and that could cool things down for a short bit. Make no mistake, if Vandy falls short of where the fan base wants them to be this season, Mason will be a Dead Pool guy.

Trent Miles, Georgia State
Miles came up out of the Dead Pool last season by getting the Panthers to a bowl, which was rather shocking. This season, the Panthers are floating back down to the bottom, and as of this moment, Miles is just 7-32 after an 0-2 start, which included a season opening loss to Ball State at home. Miles gets a road trip to Wisconsin this week, and they will lose. A trip to Appalachian State follows, and you probably know where I am going with this. That would equate an 0-4 start. It's hard to rebound from that.

Coming Up Next..."Coaches Swimming in the Dead Pool"

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