Countdown to Firing Day
A look at the college football coaching potential firings by guest columnist Franz Beard.
EXTINCT SPECIES LIST
1. LANE KIFFIN, Southern Cal
2. PAUL PASQUALONI, UConn
3. DON TREADWELL, Miami of Ohio
4. CARL PELINI, Florida Atlantic
DEAD MEN WALKING
1. MACK BROWN, Texas (6-2)
Why he stays: New athletic director Steve Patterson has to consider replacing Brown and basketball coach Rick Barnes. He will give both of them a year to either sink or swim … Brown could win the Big 12 this year.
Why he goes: The sooner Patterson cans Brown, the sooner he can bring in his own guy … If Nick Saban wants the job, then Mack Brown is a goner … If Baylor beats Texas, the decision is made and Texas will have a new coach next year.
2. RON ENGLISH, Eastern Michigan (1-8)
Why he stays: It’s Eastern Michigan. It’s not like English forgot how to coach suddenly and the program went south. The program has been south all along. Firing him is a gigantic hassle and who wants to to be a head coach bad enough to take the Eastern Michigan job?
Why he goes: It’s not like English is going to lure good football players to a school that drew 3,257 to its last home game … The Fighting EMUs are 113th in points for and 125th in points against.
3. NORM CHOW, Hawaii (0-8)
Why he stays: Someone in Hawaii finds a virgin or two willing to be cast into the volcano to satisfy Pele, the goddess of fire, who is still pissed off that they let June Jones walk.
Why he goes: There are no virgins to be found, at least none willing to be sacrificed, and Pele lets it be known that unless there is a new coach molten lava will continue to spew out of Kilauea.
4. DANA HOLGERSON, West Virginia (4-5)
Why he stays: West Virginia wins its last three games, which actually could happen although Saturday Texas comes to town. The other two are Kansas and Iowa State and if he can’t beat them, even with a bad team, he doesn’t deserve to be coaching next year.
Why he goes: He loses to Texas which means the best he can do is 6-6 … Athletic Director Oliver Luck didn’t get the Texas AD job and will consider a loss to Texas insult to injury … Rich Rodriguez has done enough penance in the desert and can be forgiven for ever leaving in the first place.
5. RICH ELLERSON, Army (3-6)
Why he stays: He beats Navy. A lot of sins can be forgiven when you beat Navy.
Why he goes: He lost to Air Force. If he loses to Navy, too, that’s unacceptable.
6. CHARLEY MOLNAR, UMass (1-8)
Why he stays: It’s not his fault the school decided to go Division I without a lot of preparation.
Why he goes: You really don’t think the AD and the administration are going to blame themselves for this fiasco, do you?
ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
1. TERRY BOWDEN, Akron (3-7)
Why he stays: He’s tripled last year’s win total and almost beaten Michigan in The Big House.
Why he goes: How can you be within a play of beating Michigan in The Big House and then lose by 40 to Ohio U?
2. SKIP HOLTZ, Louisiana Tech (3-5)
Why he stays: Three of the last four games are winnable, which means Lousy Tech could be bowl-eligible.
Why he goes: The Secretariat Rules apply here. Secretariat was the greatest race horse ever but as a stud, his offspring were mostly pluggers. Skip has the pedigree but as they’ve figured out in less than a year in Ruston, Skip is a plugger. At best.
3. MIKE LONDON, Virginia (2-7)
Why he stays: London stays because his lawyers are better than the lawyers at UVa. It will cost $8 million to buy him out and another $3 million to buy out his coordinators.
Why he goes: What must be done eventually should be done now. Another year isn’t going to turn London into a decent football coach.
4. CHARLIE WEIS, Kansas (2-6)
Why he stays: They are still paying off Mark Mangino and Turner Gill and nobody wants to dip into the basketball budget to pay Charlie off. Charlie’s lawyer is a shark. Just ask Notre Dame.
Why he goes: It’s not going to get much better. Maybe there is another Mark Mangino out there who can actually win at this dead end.
5. PAUL RHOADS, Iowa State
Why he stays: The people in power at I-State realize that three bowls in four years is about as good as it will get in Ames … Fans remember those fun-filled nights in Detroit at the Motor City Bowl.
Why he goes: The people in power are brain dead enough to think that I-State can actually compete for championships.
ON LIFE SUPPORT
1. KEVIN WILSON, Indiana (3-5)
Why he stays: The Hoosiers can’t stop anybody (116th in PA) but they sure are fun to watch (10th in PF). Entertainment value trumps winning. It’s better to lose 42-39 than win 9-7.
Why he goes: Someone in power doesn’t appreciate entertainment value and thinks that if you can score this many points you ought to be able to stop the people in the different colored shirts from scoring just as many or more.
2. BOBBY HAUCK, UNLV (5-4)
Why he stays: He needs one win in three changes to make the Rebels bowl-eligible. Firing a coach who gets you to a bowl is not good form at a place like UNLV, which hasn’t gone bowling since 2000.
Why he goes: He goes 0-3 down the stretch and the Rebels get blown out a couple of times, marking four straight years without a winning record.
3. DAN ENOS, Central Michigan (3-6)
Why he stays: The next three games are Western Michigan, UMass and Eastern Michigan. Win those three and the Chips are bowl-eligible, saving the school prez from doing the distasteful job of firing the football coach.
Why he goes: Western Michigan, UMass and Eastern Michigan are a combined 3-24. If you can’t win those three games you have no business being anybody’s head coach.
4. RON TURNER, Florida International (1-7)
Why he stays: He’s only been on the job one year.
Why he goes: Turner proves The Peter Principle. He’s been elevated to his highest level of incompetence, which means things are not going to get better at FIU.
SAFE FOR NOW
1. TIM BECKMAN, Illinois (3-5)
Why he stays: The Illini already have one more win than last year and with Pur-Don’t on the schedule he could easily double last year’s total.
Why he goes: Five wins in two years? They were doing better than this with the Zooker.
2. RANDY EDSALL, Maryland (5-3)
Why he stays: The buyout is too costly for an athletic program with more red ink than Hallmark at Christmas … With one win, the Yertles are bowl-eligible.
Why he goes: He has a lower popularity rating than Obama. The folks in College Park are starting to understand why he has a career record (85-91) below .500.
3. BO PELINI, Nebraska (6-2)
Why he stays: Nebraska could win its division and serve as the sacrificial lamb for Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Why he goes: They fired Frank Solich after a 9-3 season because fans didn’t like him. The fans like Bo Pelini even less. Hey, isn’t this guy supposed to be a defensive guru? So why can’t the Huskers stop anyone?
4. DAN MULLEN, Mississippi State (4-4)
Why he stays: AD Scott Stricklin understands just how tough a job this is and won’t fire a coach who got the Bulldogs to three straight bowl games. Mullen’s job is safe at least until next year.
Why he goes: He realizes that he’s peaked at Mississippi State and stays one step ahead of the grim reaper by taking a job up north, like maybe UConn. If he waits until next year, he’s damaged goods and won’t have many options.
5. KIRK FERENTZ, Iowa
Why he stays: Ferentz has smarter lawyers than U-Iowa. If they fire him they have to pay him $3 million a year NOT to coach until 2020. Like him or not – they don’t – they’re stuck with a coach good enough to get them to Shreveport every year.
Why he goes: The boosters pony up the big bucks. Metors will strike Iowa City first.
6. BRETT BIELEMA, Arkansas (3-6)
Why he stays: He’s only been on the job one year. He will get next year although it’s not looking any more promising than the rest of 2013, which probably ends on a nine-game losing streak.
Why he goes: Boosters with bucks and last names like Walton, Reynolds or Tyson write the buyout checks.
7. JIM GROBE, Wake Forest (4-5)
Why he stays: Even though Wake Forest Gump will get hosed by FSU this weekend, Grobe is safe. Nobody expected four wins this year and there’s a chance the Deacs will go 6-6 and make it to a bowl.
Why he goes: When Grobe leaves it will be on his own terms. He’s earned that right.
8. WILL MUSCHAMP, Florida (4-4)
Why he stays: He’s a year removed from 11-2 and he’s lost two of his top three offensive tackles to season-ending injuries and a third is out indefinitely … Jeremy Foley likes him.
Why he goes: If he digs in his heels and refuses to make some changes on his offensive staff, some of the big boosters won’t write checks.