Countdown to Firing Day – Nov. 20, 2013
A look at where things stand with 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 (Ohio )
4. CARL PELINI, Florida Atlantic
5. RON ENGLISH, Eastern Michigan
DEAD MEN WALKING
1. NORM CHOW, Hawaii (0-10)
Why he stays: There’s that season-ender with Army that is winnable. You can’t cut a coach loose with a winning streak, can you? He’s not going to quit. If he quits he doesn’t get buyout money.
Why he goes: The University of Hawaii volunteers him for Alzheimer’s research. There was a time he could actually coach, but apparently he’s forgotten how in his old age (he’s 67).
2. DANA HOLGORSEN, West Virginia (4-7)
Why he stays: It won’t be because he can coach. Maybe he has compromising photos of some of the alums and boosters out on the prowl with him late at night? There has to be a reason we keep hearing rumors that Oliver Luck will keep him one more year and that one is the most logical.
Why he goes: He lost to Charlie and the Cheeseburgers. That’s like being in the room with someone with a wino with a three-day old stink. The wino might leave, but the stench lingers. Also, Pep Hamilton is available to become the head coach.
3. RICH ELLERSON, Army (3-7)
Why he stays: Beating Navy would cure a whole lot of ills.
Why he goes: He has never beaten Navy and he’s not going to do it this year. His oldest player was five years old the last time Army beat Navy.
4. CHARLEY MOLNAR, UMass (1-9)
Why he stays: Really, who else would want this job? It doesn’t pay well, you’re forever from the nearest conference rival, there is no fan support and the closest Division I prospect lives in Pennsylvania.
Why he goes: The UMass administration finds a sucker who would actually take the job.
Why he stays: If Baylor beats Oklahoma State and Texas beats Texas Tech and Baylor, Texas wins the Big 12 championship. That’s a lot of ifs but that’s what it will take.
Why he goes: He gets Baylored in the last game. It’s one thing to lose. It’s another thing to get Baylored. Baylored means giving up between 40-71 points and 600-800 yards. Actually, he’s a goner if he loses by one point to Baylor, but nobody loses by one to Baylor. Just ask Oklahoma.
ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
1. SKIP HOLTZ, Louisiana Tech (4-6)
Why he stays: He wins the last two to finish 6-6 and some bowl is desperate enough to fill a slot with a team that will travel with at least 387 fans.
Why he goes: He loses to Tulsa and/or Texas San Antonio, which means a losing season that opens the door for Lousy Tech to ask Coach O if he wants to come home to Louisiana
2. MIKE LONDON, Virginia (2-8)
Why he stays: There are eight million (dollars) reasons why he stays. Since Virginia can’t pony up that kind of jack, instead it fires the AD and the lawyers who came up with that ridiculous contract.
Why he goes: What you know you will have to do eventually might as well happen now. Mike’s the nicest guy in the world. Just can’t coach a lick.
3. CHARLIE WEIS, Kansas (3-7)
Why he stays: The man just ended the 27-game Big 12 Conference losing streak plus he’s got better lawyers than the Kansas administration. Just ask Notre Dame. He’s got a chance to finish the season with four wins.
Why he goes: The president of KU can live with a football coach who scored higher on his SAT (Charlie made a 1600) but decides it’s not unreasonable to have a football coach who is actually pleasant to be around.
4. PAUL RHOADS, Iowa State (1-9)
Why he stays: It’s Ames, Iowa. It will be the dead of winter by the time they can start bringing in candidates. Starkville is almost a resort by comparison, so it’s simply easier to keep him another year.
Why he goes: He commits the unpardonable sin and loses to Charlie and his Fabulous Fighting Cheeseburgers this week.
ON LIFE SUPPORT
1. KEVIN WILSON, Indiana (4-6)
Why he stays: Tis better to score 35 and lose than beat Pur-don’t or anyone else, 9-7. Fortunately, for Wilson, Pur-don’t is the last game on the schedule. The Hoosiers will have nine or more midway through the first quarter. As long as Wilson revs it up for 40 or so points, he’s good for next year.
Why he goes: The entertainment value defense wore off last week when the Hoosiers only scored three against Wisconsin. Urban Meyer needs style points. Can you imagine what Ohio State is going to do to Indiana this week?
2. BOBBY HAUCK, UNLV (5-5)
Why he stays: He gets at least one win in the last two games to get UNLV to a bowl game for the first time since 2000. Albuquerque here we come, baby!
Why he goes: He is 11-37 in his UNLV career. Two more losses and it’s four straight losing seasons.
3. DAN ENOS, Central Michigan (4-6)
Why he stays: Western Michigan (1-10) and Eastern Michigan (2-8) are all that stands between Enos and .500. And, who knows? Maybe there is some bowl out there that is truly desperate to match up a couple of 6-6 teams that would have problems beating the Texas state high school champs.
Why he goes: All the mulligans have been used up. That’s what happens when your produce three wins in three of the last four seasons and your sterling example of progress is 7-6.
4. RON TURNER, Florida International (1-9)
Why he stays: Who they really need to fire is athletic director Pete Garcia. Either that or some smart alum needs to give Pete a copy of “The Peter Principle” with the good parts highlighted. Pete is the guy who hired Turner in the first place. That doesn’t look good on a resume.
Why he goes: You can get tickets for Saturday’s game with Marshall for $4 on Stub Hub. That’s less than a Happy Meal.
5. TERRY BOWDEN, Akron (4-7)
Why he stays: Okay, so the three D1 teams he’s beaten are 4-27. There’s that almost win at The Big House. Hey, it was Michigan, right?
Why he goes: Toledo hangs 50 or more on the stunt double for the Pillsbury Doughboy and puts Jim Tressell in charge of hiring the new coach.
6. DAVE CHRISTENSON, Wyoming (4-6)
Why he stays: He could still get to .500 by beating Hawaii and Utah State.
Why he goes: Patience is a virtue and when it comes to Christenson, the virtue has been used up for awhile. If he loses to Hawaii, firing is your basic no-brainer.
SAFE FOR NOW
1. TIM BECKMAN, Illinois (3-7)
Why he stays: Pur-don’t is on the schedule this week, which should mean a fourth win and a 100% improvement over last year.
Why he goes: He loses to Pur-don’t, which is like losing to Kansas if you’re in the Big 12. His defense is worse than Indiana’s.
2. RANDY EDSALL, Maryland (6-4)
Why he stays: The Terps are bowl-eligible for the first time since they ran The Fridge and head coach in waiting James Franklin out of town. Fridge is living fine thanks to that buyout money. Franklin has Vanderbilt going to its third straight bowl game and Maryland is stuck with Edsall and more red ink than you’ll find at a Hallmark Cards plant.
Why he goes: Maryland is about to go to the Big Ten, a conference where you don’t have to play Florida State and Climpson (there is a P in it … just ask someone who went there to say the word), and they might actually win some games if they have a decent coach.
3. BO PELINI, Nebraska (7-3)
Why he stays: If they figure out how to stop anybody — debatable — the Huskers could easily win their division in the Big Ten next year behind dynamic Tommie Armstrong at quarterback and stud runner Ameer Abdullah.
Why he goes: Husker fans were a lot more patient with Dr. Tom, who needed 22 years to win a national championship. They fired Frank Solich after he went 58-19.
4. DAN MULLEN, Mississippi State (4-6)
Why he stays: AD Scott Stricklin really likes Mullen and will like him even more if the Bulldogs beat Ar-Kansas and Ole Miss to get to a fourth straight bowl game. Even a trip to Shreveport is a big deal for MSU fans and they won’t mind the rule that says you have to stay an extra week if you lose the Independence Bowl.
Why he goes: If Mullen leaves, it’s probably on his terms. His name is out there and there will be opportunities to bolt.
5. KIRK FERENTZ, Iowa (6-4)
Why he stays: You can buy a home in Detroit for as little as $100, important to know because the Hawkeyes are probably heading to Detroit for the Motor City Bowl. Think about it Hawkeye fans: urban blight, football and a chance to own an entire city block for a couple thousand bucks. Does it get better than this?
Why he goes: (A) He takes a job somewhere else but who would hire him?; and (B) the boosters pony up the $21 million it would take to buy him out. And you thought Charlie Weis was the only one who had a shark for a lawyer.
6. BRETT BIELEMA, Arkansas (3-7)
Why he stays: Although the majority of the fan base think Bielema has been in Fayette Nam seven games too many, AD Jeff Long is determined to stand by his man. The faithful liked Frank Broyles a whole lot more than they like Jeff. Meanwhile up in Wisconsin, they LOVE Gary Anderson and nobody seems to miss Brett.
Why he goes: The folks who write the big checks with last names like Walton, Tyson and Reynolds chip in and buy him out.
7. JIM GROBE, Wake Forest (4-6)
Why he stays: This was supposed to be a bad year but by Wake Forest Gump standards, 4-6 with a chance to beat Duke Ellington and Gloria Vanderbilt is more excitement than they could have ever dialed up.
Why he goes: Grobe has done enough in his time at Winston-Salem to write his own exit strategy.
8. WILL MUSCHAMP, Florida (4-6)
Why he stays: Jeremy Foley says so.
Why he goes: Jeremy Foley changes his mind, which isn’t going to happen, at least this year.
Photo: Michael Mulvey, AP