Countdown to Firing Day – Nov. 28, 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 of Ohio
4. Carl Pelini, Florida Atlantic
5. Ron English, Eastern Michigan
DEAD MEN WALKING
1. NORM CHOW, Hawaii (0-11)
Why he stays: He’s the original buyout poster child. UCLA once paid him $500,000 not to coach. Since they can’t afford to fix the overflowing toilets and the leaky showers in the UH locker room, they definitely can’t afford the $1.65 million they would have to pay Norm not to coach.
Why he goes: He’s 67, loses track of time while trying to decide whether to watch “The Property Brothers” on HGTV or “Rachel vs. Guy” on the Food Channel. Over at the Hawaii football complex no one notices that he hasn’t shown up for work in a week.
2. DANA HOLGORSEN, West Virginia (4-7)
Why he stays: Did you hear the one about the hillbilly lawyer who gave a coach with the morals of a mink a contract with an $11.3 million buyout?
Why he goes: Video surfaces of the HBC dancing on a bar with a stripper wearing a champagne bucket as a hat.
3. RICH ELLERSON, Army (3-7)
Why he stays: He beats Hawaii this week and Navy next week to end the season on a two-game winning streak. Of course, donkeys could fly, too.
Why he goes: Donkeys do not fly. They fly in the Air Force, which beat Army already, and in the Navy, which will make it 18 years since the last time Army won that game.
4. CHARLEY MOLNAR, UMass (1-10)
Why he stays: The pay is crappy, the facilities are lousy, the weather sucks and there isn’t a top 1000 D1 prospect within 250 miles that you can convince to come play football at UMass, so nobody else will take the job.
Why he goes: Someone in Amherst brain farts with this incredible notion that if Georgia Southern can knock off Florida in The Swamp, why can’t UMass
ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
1. TERRY BOWDEN, Akron (4-7)
Why he stays: Okay, so three of the wins are against teams with a combined 5-29. You gotta start somewhere, right? That’s three more wins than last year. It’s not like the expectations are out of sight in Akron.
Why he goes: Toledo hangs 50 or more on the Zips Friday night.
2. SKIP HOLTZ, Louisiana Tech (4-7)
Why he stays: He works cheap. Because USF has to pay him $500,000 a year for the next five years from his previous coaching disaster, Lousy Tech simply matches that amount and saves about $300 big ones a year.
Why he goes: Skippy is the Bizzaro Holtz, which is to say he’s actually pleasant and doesn’t remind someone of an old man whose sell-by date expired 10 years ago. On the other hand that old man who looks like he hasn’t had a good dump in 10 years can coach. Skippy can’t. Did anyone in Ruston bother to call the folks in Tampa before they hired this guy?
3. MIKE LONDON, Virginia (2-9)
Why he stays: The old boys on The Grounds are a bit perplexed. They are so smart. They are so much hipper than their Ivy League brethren who only wish they could party like a UVa grad. So how is it that they got snookered into an $8 million buyout for the HBC and another $3 million buyout for the coordinators? Why, to pay for that would mean giving up happy hour for the foreseeable future. We can’t have that, can we?
Why he goes: Those uncouth hillbillies from Blacksburg, the ones that don’t know a gentleman would never wear a striped tie with a plaid jacket, win for the 10th straight year. Oh, the shame of it all. And poor Muffy! Why she had to watch these hillbillies swill beer while tailgating behind – gasp – a pickup truck!
4. CHARLIE WEIS, Kansas (3-8)
Why he stays: The Fighting Cheeseburgers have tripled last year’s win total. Besides, they would have to dip into the basketball money to buy him out. Charlie’s lawyer is a shark!
Why he goes: To paraphrase the immortal words of Al Pacino, “Just when you think you’re out off the endangered species list they pull you back in!” How can you beat West Virginia in Morgantown one week then lose to Iowa State, 34-0, the next?
5. PAUL RHOADS, Iowa State (2-9)
Why he stays: The Lord, he do provide! When Paul Rhoads needed a win in the worst way, the Lord sent Kansas.
Why he goes: West Virginia lights up the Cyclones Saturday. Kansas beat West Virginia so there is a very low tolerance level for a loss in Ames. A close loss and they probably give him a mulligan for three bowls in six years. A blowout and all bets are off.
ON LIFE SUPPORT
1. KEVIN WILSON, Indiana (4-7)
Why he stays: As long as Wilson can entertain the folks with lots of points and keep the AD from dipping into the basketball budget he’s got a job. Tis better to lose 65-42 than 9-7.
Why he goes: Lose to Pur-Don’t Saturday and he goes from the Life Support to Endangered Species List. There are no excuses for losing to Pur-Don’t.
2. DAN ENOS, Central Michigan (5-6)
Why he stays: In honor of the two-game winning streak that has Enos and the boys on the verge of bowl-eligible, the local Piggly Wiggly in Mount Pleasant is offering a buy one, get one free bologna special in the deli and it includes a free ticket to Saturday’s game with Eastern Michigan. They drew 8,000 to Kelly Shorts Stadium for the win over UMass last week but they had a bogo for pickled pig’s feet for that one.
Why he goes: Losing to Eastern Michigan would do it. Losing seasons are bad enough. Losing seasons that include losses to EMU are intolerable.
3. RON TURNER, Florida International (1-10)
Why he stays: Pete Garcia keeps reminding the faithful that Ron Turner once coached Illinois to a 10-2 record and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. Of course, he fails to inform the faithful that one lucky season was followed by a 10-36 record in the next four years.
Why he goes: Saturday opponent Florida Atlantic has won three in a row since it got rid of its coach. The light goes on in Pete Garcia’s mind, unfortunately an entire wasted season too late.
4. WILL MUSCHAMP, Florida (4-7)
Why he stays: It has been decreed by Jeremy Foley, who is determined to prove to the world that you can have a crappy football team and still win the SEC All-Sports Championship.
Why he goes: Remember the Zooker! On Friday before the Mississippi State game in 2004, Ron Zook was assured that he would be the coach in 2005. On Sunday night he was told that ain’t it funny how the time slips away and it’s 2005 already.
5. DAVE CHRISTENSEN, Wyoming (5-6)
Why he stays: He upsets Utah State in Logan Saturday to get bowl-eligible, avoiding a Monday morning massacre of the football staff. Besides, the St. Bernards they use to rescue coaches stuck in the sometimes 8-foot high snow drifts they get in Laramie are on strike for better food and conjugal privileges in the kennel.
Why he goes: Even though it’s 500 miles to the nearest high school that has two D1 prospects on its campus, some yay-hoo in the administration gets this wild hair up his butt and decides that a quality coach and quality prospects would love to spend six months of the year butt-deep in snow.
6. TIM BECKMAN, Illinois (4-7)
Why he stays: That scintillating come from behind win over Pur-Don’t got the Illini to four wins, double last year’s total. They fired the Zooker for going to and winning two bowl games in a row his last two years.
Why he goes: The president of the university doesn’t want him but the athletic director does. If Beckman is the coach next year, it’s because the AD won the coin flip.
7. MACK BROWN, Texas (7-3)
Why he stays: There’s nothing like a conference championship to shut folks up but he’s got to beat Baylor and hope Okie beats Okie State to win the Big 12. That’s a whole lot of ifs.
Why he goes: Has any coach in history won more games – 243 in 30 seasons of coaching at four schools – and won fewer conference championships? Mack has two (2005 and 2009) and he has one national title. It is possible to win 243 games and under-achieve.
SAFE FOR NOW
1. BOBBY HAUCK, UNLV (6-5)
Why he stays: They’re going bowling for the first time since 2000. Hello Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Just what everyone dreams of: a week in Boise in the dead of winter.
Why he goes: The university president gets frostbite in Boise and blames it on Hauck for not winning seven games and getting a bowl trip to Hawaii.
2. RANDY EDSALL, Maryland (6-5)
Why he stays: The good news is that Turtles are going to their first bowl game in four years. The bad news is that James Franklin is taking Gloria Vanderbilt to its third straight bowl. Franklin was the head coach in waiting before some idiot in administration 86’d The Fridge. Dumb move. Very dumb.
Why he goes: Someone emails the Under Armour boys this wise saying Jeremy Foley: “What must be done eventually should be done immediately.” They have the bucks to do what the university doesn’t have the bucks to do and buy out Edsall, who can’t coach a lick.
4. BO PELINI, Nebraska (8-3)
Why he stays: As long as he doesn’t do something really stupid like let Kirk Ferentz outcoach him Saturday, he will be back next year. Bo used to be a good defensive guy. They’re holding out hope in Nebraska that he hasn’t forgotten how because next year if the Huskers can stop anyone, they’ll have a chance to be big time contenders.
Why he goes: It’s Nebraska. Four losses isn’t acceptable, especially if the fourth loss is to a team coached by Kirk Ferentz.
5. KIRK FERENTZ, Iowa (7-4)
Why he stays: He can take bad talent and go 6-6 or 7-5 and good talent and go 8-4. There is something to be said about the kind of consistency that gets your fans trips to fabulous Detroit for the Urban Blight Bowl. It should also be mentioned that there are autographed pictures of his lawyers on the wall of the lawyers for Dana Holgorsen, Bret Bielema and Mike London.
Why he goes: Maybe there is someone out there who would write a check for $21 million. That’s all it would take to buy him out.
6. BRETT BIELEMA, Arkansas (3-8)
Why he stays: They filmed “Night of the Living Dead” in Arkansas. We know that because some zombie disguised as a lawyer drew up a contract for Brett Bielema with a $12.8 million buyout clause, which is a lot of money unless someone named Walton, Reynolds or Tyson decides enough is enough.
Why he goes: By Saturday they will have lost nine in a row and the same state that could understand why President Bubba said, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” launches a “Forgive Bobby Petrino for he knew not what he did” campaign and while they’re about it, buy out the contract of AD Jeff Long, the guy who’s responsible for Brett Bielma.
7. DAN MULLEN, Mississippi State (5-6)
Why he stays: He beats Ole Miss Thursday in the Scrambled Egg Bowl to take the Mississippi Cow College to its fourth straight bowl game. That’s never been done before in StarkVegas where they don’t even mind it if they are required to stay an extra week in Shreveport in the event they lose the Weedwacker Bowl.
Why he goes: Even though the school prez has illusions that StarkVegas could replace Tuscaloosa as the football capital of the south, if Mullen isn’t coaching next year it will be because he got a deal to go coach somewhere else. His resume is out there.
8. JIM GROBE, Wake Forest (4-7)
Why he stays: Duke had to score two late touchdowns to beat Wake Forest Gump Saturday. The Gumpsters will lose to Vanderbilt Saturday but there is no danger Grobe will be gone.
Why he goes: Expectations are different at Wake Forest Gump. Go to an occasional bowl, graduate players and make sure your losing records are at least respectable and you can coach a long time in Winston-Salem. When he goes, it’s when he’s ready to go.