Posts Tagged 'nebraska'

Big 12…11…10…9…

The Big 12 Conference is looking more like a countdown for a space shuttle launch than it is a football conference these days.  The 2011 season will be the first year since the inception that, despite still being called the Big 12, the conference will only have ten teams.

Nebraska bolted for the Big Ten (which now has twelve teams) and Colorado moved to greener pastures and potentially more revenue with their move to the newly established Pac 12 Conference.

The Big 12 seems to be shrinking by the day these days (logo courtesy of Big 12 Conference)

Over the last few days, there are more and more rumblings of Texas A&M moving to the SEC, which would likely be straw to break the dwindling Big 12’s back.  But the move to college football’s most powerful conference won’t go through without the Big 12 Conference pulling out all stops to maintain the status quo (if there is one).

Regardless of what the Big 12 officials and the state of Texas choose to do, in the end, A&M would be crazy not to jump at this opportunity.  The SEC has long been the best conference in all of college football, and with their recent contract with ESPN, their recent dominance of the BCS National Championships (an SEC team has won the National Championship in each of the last five years), and recent talk of courting Florida State or Virginia Tech to create two, separate 7-team divisions, the SEC shows no signs of looking back.

When the dust settles, we take a quick peak at where the other teams in the conference could end up:

Texas: The Longhorns should be kicking themselves for not jumping at the opportunity to join Colorado when the Pac 10 came calling last year.  Instead, Utah jumped at the chance to get out of the BCS purgatory known as the Mountain West.  Look for the Pac 12 to become the Pac 14 in an attempt to rival the SEC 2.0 version in 2012 or 2013.

Oklahoma: Like their hated rivals, Texas, there was a lot of talk last year of the Sooners joining the Pac 12, despite the fact that Texas and Oklahoma are nowhere near the Pacific coast, which was the original geographic concept of the conference when they were the Pac 8.  You lost yet?  Anyway, look for the Sooners and Longhorns to continue their rivalry within the same conference, which will likely be the Pac 14.

Missouri: Like the Huskers, the Big Ten courted the Tigers last season, but Mizzou opted to stay, especially once it was confirmed that Texas was staying.  The Big Ten would love to bring on the Tigers and bring a great rivalry with Nebraska inside the conference.  This would make the Big Ten’s thirteenth team, and maybe at this point, they really should think about dropping the “Big Ten” name, even though they have retained that name despite having eleven teams since Penn State joined the conference in 1993.

Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State will have to scramble to find a home.  These programs have had flashes, but unlike Mizzou, Oklahoma and Texas, they haven’t quite been able to crack or stay in the Top 25 for more than a year or two at a time.  And that will hurt them and possibly leave them with no choice but to join a new version of the Mountain West, but for basketball, Kansas may have to pull a Notre Dame and go independent.  Confused yet?

Rumors and scenarios will run rampant in the coming months, but one thing is for sure.  The Big 12 was already on life support, and A&M’s likely departure will be the death of the conference.

Why College SuperStars Are Bad for Their Teams and the NCAA

Why College SuperStars Are Bad for Their Teams and the NCAA–by Christian Hon/Contributor. 

What do the following players have in common?  Reggie Bush, Terelle Pryor, Mariuce Clarett, Peter WarrickMaurikce Pouncey, Cam Newton, Rhett Bomar, Lawrence Phillips and to make it interesting – O.J Mayo

Interestingly, they all have several things in common – they were all prized recruits – all, except Mayo, touched or have been within a win of the national championship trophy and all have or will leave their team in worse shape than when they arrived. 

I’m sure you expect this diatribe to steer towards the familiar road of “The Case For Paying College Players” but it won’t.  In fact, you can’t.  The nuances of college sports and what make them great is exactly what prevents you from doing so.  The fact remains however, a super star athlete, especially a superstar football player, at the college level is more often the fuse that ignites a negative PR bomb more than a “get over the hump to greatness” one.

Is USC better or worse off because of Reggie Bush? (google images)

I recently finished reading Tarnished Heisman – How Reggie Bush Turned His Last Year At USC to a Six Figure Job and got to thinking, do I really want my favorite team to get a player like that?  The quick answers is yes.  All college football fans are glued to their TV and computer for national signing day.   Short of our bowl game, it’s the biggest day of the year. 

What ranking we achieve by the recruitment review services is as much of a bragging point with our rivals as our record and/or bowl game finish.  With each star that our recruits receive, more hope springs for the following 4 years.  A thought out answer tells us a different story however. 

Are USC fans glad that Reggie Bush is considered a Trojan?  Will his number be retired?  When you thought of Auburn a year ago, what came to mind versus what you think of now? ( Crimson Tide fans please refrain from answering this one – you skew my point )  Is it coincidence that post Bush, USC have lost their dominance?  If so, what about Phillips at Nebraska?  What about Pouncey at Florida? Clarett at OSU? What about the glaring post Warrick years at FSU

Don’t get me wrong, there are several superstars that are never caught up in these media storms – Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, etc.  But if you look at the averages, you can’t deny that the greatest teams are typified by a crescendo of winning years leading to utter dominance, then severe drop off. 

It’s not because the teams can’t replace the talent, it’s because of the shock wave felt once their gone, both from a media standpoint and a game plan standpoint.  You never wondered if Bush was going to get his yards every game but when Joe McNight took over the starting RB job ( McNight was also the #1 recruit in the nation when he came out of high school)

I doubt the other team had a defense, blitz package and spy designed specifically for him from the first play of the game.  Players like these draw attention from the opposing defensive coordinator just as much as they do from ESPN‘s Game Day.  The fact is, superstars make the other players around them better just as hitters benefit from batting behind Pujols, Cris Carter benefitted from the arrival of Randy Moss and (insert Jordan / Pippen, Kobe / Shaq, Magic / Jabbar reference here)

Adding to the headaches of departed stars are the pitfalls they often fall in to while at their university.  All the aforementioned players had significant stories of misconduct to explain away, some of which added to the challenge of replacing them because of the imposed NCAA sanctions. 

Replacing a star is hard enough, replacing a controversial star is impossible.  Without Bush, USC would likely have won their national championship behind Lendale White and the stable of running backs they enjoyed.  With Bush, they lost scholarships , the best recruiter in the pacific time zone,  a Heisman Trophy, a percentage of their fans and the respect of college fans across the country.  (They got Lane Kiffin back though!)

Lastly – We all know how much the NCAA hates cheaters…once their caught.  ( Pre-conviction, the NCAA is rather fond of the revenues brought in by top-tier teams that dominate)  Their unrelenting pursuit of improper benefits is second only to John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted in regards to “hunting down the bad guys.” 

The NCAA is this strict because anything less than severe punishment of any impropriety is a swing in the direction of college football being a business ( which it is) and they can’t have that.  By trumpeting the “passion of the game” and purity of college athletics” their coffers stay full while they 18-22 year olds kill each other in the weight room and on the field for the glorious payment of free tuition, room and board and food.  And for the really good teams, there are goodie bags of portable DVD players and sweatshirts at the bowl game but you better not sell them or you’ll be expelled!

I root for my favorite college team with true passion and live and die with the scoreboard on Saturdays in the fall.  I, as much as any fan, have my favorite players on the team and they are often the players scoring the most points, making the most tackles and featured in an expose by Erin Andrews

With that said, I fear the day that my team gets a true top-level player that can change the outcome of a game by himself.  The more media attention we receive, first place recruiting votes we garner and appearances at the Heisman ceremony we have, the closer we are to the dark days of “rebuilding.”  Can you hear me post Gino Toretta Miami fans?  Ok, ok…post Charles Woodson Michigan fans…no?  Post Peyton Manning Tennessee fans?

Mega-Conferences: Be Careful What You Wish For

The fate of the Big 12 Conference was in the hands of the Texas Longhorns, and earlier this week, the conference was finally able to exhale.  After more guaranteed revenue, the University of Texas agreed to keep the conference intact, and they were soon followed by Oklahoma.  And despite the departures of Nebraska next fall and Colorado in 2012, the threat of the mega-conferences is on the back burner.  Now the question is how long the current situation will last.

Mack Brown and his Texas Longhorns are staying with the Big 12....at least for now (google images)

It appears that this is a band-aid on an issue that could require plastic surgery.  Had Texas and Oklahoma left for the Pac 10 and Texas A&M bolted for the SEC, it would have had a domino effect in the rest of the college football world.  All conferences must learn from what could have happened and they need to prepare themselves for the same situation 3-5 years down the road.   College FootBlog takes a look at what might have been had the Longhorns set the mega-conferences into motion and weighs two potential impacts it would have had.

1.  The ACC and Big East would have been dead in the water.  The ACC thought they were going to challenge the SEC when they on-boarded Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College a few years ago.  Instead, Miami and Florida State have struggled to live up to their prestige from the 80’s and 90’s, and with huge losses in out of conference and bowl games, they have been little more than an automatic bid to a BCS Bowl because the BCS has to have a representative from their conference.

The Big East has come a long way since losing their coveted teams to the ACC.  But it hasn’t been easy.  Despite having three teams finish in the Top 25 last season, the Big East is still trying to prove they belong with the big boys.  The emergence of Pitt, Cincinnati and Rutgers has helped give them some respectability, but they are still largely considered a second-tier league.  With the depth they had last season, that is somewhat unfair, but that is still the general consensus. 

The Big Ten flirted with Pitt when they originally wanted to have 14-16 teams in their league, and much like when the ACC raided them a few years ago, the conference seemed ready to take their lumps and move on.  There is talk that if and when the SEC comes calling, they will go after Virginia Tech, but even if the mega-conferences leave the ACC and Big East alone, each conference could easily become a footnote in the BCS title hunt if the big conferences get bigger and deeper.  That would result in far less revenue and could effectively make each conference a new-aged mid-major. 

If they don’t want that to happen, representatives from each conference need to take advantage of the new three-year window and fight for stability and/or growth.  Otherwise, FSU, Miami and Virginia Tech could easily look to jump ship before it goes down.

2.  The Mid-Majors would have dropped further into obscurity.  Even with Boise State making the move to the Mountain West, they simply will not be able to compete in terms of revenue and overall respectability vs a 16-team Pac 10.  Add to it that Utah is likely jumping ship from the MWC to become the Pac 10’s 12th team, and they will continue to fight for some well-deserved attention in college football.  Should the Pac 10 increase to a 16-team league in the future, all hope of having a representative in the BCS National Championship will be gone.

The conference already had an uphill battle due to the lack of television coverage and the perception that they, along with the other mid-majors are the little brother of the bigger, more traditional BCS conferences, but one or two mega-conferences would effectively shut the door on their chances for a title.

That would be a shame, considering what Boise State and Utah have more than represented themselves and their conferences on the big stage of a BCS bowl game.  A one-loss or even a two-loss team from a mega-conference could easily get the nod from voters to play in a title game over an undefeated mid-major team.  Considering the strength of schedule from a 16-team SEC and/or Pac 10, it would be very difficult to keep a conference champion from a dominant conference out of the National Championship.

The other major issue facing the non-BCS Conferences would be their ability to schedule decent out of conference games.  Boise State and TCU are already teams that present a no-win situation for a major program.  If the larger program wins, they were supposed to win.  If they lose, the upset becomes an instant classic.  A 16-team conference would provide more than enough competition and national recognition without scheduling a couple tough out of conference games, leaving the cupboard bare for the mid-majors to challenge the big boys.

College FootBlog wants your input.  Let us know your thoughts on the Mega-Conferences and the pros and cons if they become a reality.

Who Will Win the Big 12 North?

With the departure of Mark Mangino and several key players like wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe and four-year starting quarterback Todd Reesing, new Kansas coach Turner Gill will have his hands full this season.  Kansas State had six wins in 2009, but two of those victories came at the hands of FCS schools UMass and Tennessee Tech and only one of the other four wins came against a team with a winning record (Iowa State).  There is a good possibility that Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins could lose his job if he has a similar season to last year’s 3-9 team.  And Iowa State is….let’s face it…Iowa State.  They finished with a 7-6 record, but they should have with their out of conference schedule, which featured North Dakota State, Army and Kent State.

If all goes as expected, there are two teams left, and their showdown on October 30th could very well determine who will represent the northern division in the Big 12 Championship Game–Mizzou and NebraskaCollege FootBlog takes a look at the two early favorites and will offer up a way-too-premature preview of the head to head match up in October.

Nebraska

In his two years as head coach of the Huskers, Bo Pelini has delivered, going 20-8.  He has the Sea of Red excited about football again, boasting one of the top defenses in the country last season.  The Huskers will not be able to replace All-World defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in the middle, but they do have a couple solid players who should fill in nicely, in Jared Crick and sophomore Baker Steinkuhler.  Look for redshirt freshman Thaddeus Randle to get in the rotation as well, and many believe he could be the next great DT to come out of reinvigorated Black Shirt Defense.

The Huskers’ running game should be solid, highlighted by senior Roy Helu, but sophomore tandem Rex Burkhead and Dontrayevous Robinson both had solid springs and will get their carries this fall.  The big question mark, and ultimately what needs to improve if Nebraska wants to compete for a Big 12 Championship is the play at quarterback.  Despite leading the offense to a 10-win season, quarterback Zac Lee didn’t exactly light it up last season, and as such, the buzz coming out of Nebraska’s spring practices actually have Cody Green and Taylor Martinez with a legitimate shot at replacing the senior signal caller. 

If Mizzou's Blaine Gabbert can stay healthy, he will put up big numbers in 2010 (google images)

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert headlines the Tigers’ returning starters this fall, and if he can stay healthy, he will have a very big year, even with the departure of All-American wideout Denario Alexander.  After rushing for over 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2008, starting tailback Derrick Washington had a drop in production in ’09, only rushing for 909 yards and 10 touchdowns.  The word from the spring is that Washington has dropped some unnecessary weight and looks more the part of the 2008 version.  At wideout, someone will have to step up this fall, like Alexander did last year after All-American Jeremy Maclin left early for the Philadelphia Eagles.  Wes Kemp and Jarrell Jackson are two of the likely starters, but it will be difficult to replace Alexander’s eye-popping 1,781 yards and 14 TDs from last season.

Like Nebraska, Mizzou must find a way to replace an NFL first round selection on defense as well.  Sean Weatherspoon was all over the field and gave head coach Gary Pinkel a coach on the field.  Despite this huge loss, linebacker should actually be pretty solid for the Tigers.  Luke Lambert had a solid spring and appears to finally be healthy at the MLB spot, and redshirt sophomore Zaviar Gooden and senior Andrew Gachkar add experience and speed that should be a strength of the 2010 team.

The biggest strength of the defense, however, should be the defensive ends.  The Tigers return a ton of experience and athleticism at this position, and there is some quality depth here.  Look for at least six different players to get quality reps this fall, highlighted by Jacquies Smith and Aldon Smith.

The October 30th Showdown

As we mentioned this will be a huge game for each team and will likely have the divisional championship on the line.  In order to make a realistic prediction, we really need to see how these teams perform in the first seven weeks of the season.  At that time, we will have our full breakdown of each team with a score prediction. 

But in the meantime, we have a few things to consider.  Mizzou has been very lucky at wide receiver–they have had a go-to receiver for the last several years.  So far this spring, no one WR has stepped up as that guy.  Gabbert has the ability to spread it around, but someone needs to assume that role of the primary target if they want to be effective.  They have the summer and two-a-days to figure it out, but Mizzou fans would have liked to have resolved that this spring. 

Nebraksa should have another great defensive football team.  They host the Texas Longhorns two weeks before the rivalry game with Mizzou, so we should have a much better idea of what the offense will do after that game.  They simply must get better offensively this season if they want to make a run, and all signs point to the Huskers being better than last season on that side of the ball.  At 99th nationally in total offense, they can’t get much worse, and Zac Lee will either need to step up his play or one of the younger, more athletic QBs on the roster will fill in and provide a different look. 

An improved offense and some key returners on last year’s dominant defense (despite losing Suh), along with this game being played in Lincoln gives Nebraska the slight edge, at least for now.  However, a lot can change before this game (it is, afterall, only May right now).  We will do a more comprehensive breakdown of this match up the week of this game with more insight, but hopefully, this is a serviceable appetizer.

College Football Preseason Top 25 (#16-#25)

As the end of Spring Football draws near, some major college football programs have answered some questions, while others have more questions than they had in February.  In this three-part series, College FootBlog will release our Preseason 2010 Top 25 with some insight on each team and the season that will be here in five months.  In this first edition, we will break down #16-#25.

Oregon State RB Quizz Rodgers is one of the most electric players in college football (google images)

16.  Oregon State:  The Beavers surprised many outside of their conference last season, but to the Pac 10, their rise in ’09 was a continuance of what they have been doing for the last four years, the Beavers are 36-17 and have finished second in the Pac 10 in each of the last two years.  The Rodgers brothers (Quizz and James) return to lead the offense.  There is a battle between Ryan Katz and Peter Lalich to replace Sean Canfield at quarterback, but if the last four years are any indication, Oregon State is for real and they are here to stay.

17.  Miami:  Many doubted the Hurricane offense going into last season, but then sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris proceeded to light up defensive secondaries en route to a 3,000-yard passing season.  Harris and his receiving corps faltered against Wisconsin in their bowl game, but with only one wideout leaving for graduation (Leonard Hankerson), look for Miami to put up good numbers on offense again in 2010.  Couple that with a very athletic defense led by linebacker Sean Spence, and the ‘Canes will be tough this fall.

18.  LSU:  The Tigers were a decent offense away from ending Tim Tebow’s BCS Championship long before Alabama knocked the Gators off in the SEC Championship Game.  Les Miles had a solid defense last season, and senior linebacker Kelvin Sheppard returns to anchor this season’s unit.   Do-everything offensive game-breaker, Russell Shepard should make a name for himself in his sophomore season.

19.  Nebraska:  Bo Pelini brought respect back to the storied program that had been in a major drought since the days of Eric Crouch.  Pelini has brought back the “black shirt” defense as opposed to what had looked more like the “mesh shirt” defense in the earlier part of the last decade.  The loss of Ndamukong Suh is significant, but luckily for Husker fans, the rest of the Big 12 is not good at tackle football.

20.  Georgia:  After a disappointing 8-5 season, look for the Bulldogs to bounce back this fall.  The offense should take a step forward, with one of the top receivers in the country in AJ Green and running back Washaun Ealey.  The defense was a major reason the ‘Dawgs underachieved in 2009, so head coach Mark Richt has revamped his coaching staff on that side of the ball, and the buzz coming out of Athens so far this spring sounds like those changes are already having a favorable impact.

21.  Penn State:  Look for JoPa to make one last run in 2010, although we believe the Nittany Lions don’t quite have enough to dethrone Ohio State for a run at the Big Ten title.  The thing that Penn State has going for them is their conference.  While there are four teams that should be very good in 2010, the rest of the conference takes a significant nosedive, and PSU should benefit from that.

Senior quarterback Josh Nesbitt is the key to GT's triple option attack (google images)

22.  Georgia Tech:  After scoffing at Paul Johnson bringing the triple option to a major college offense a couple years ago, we have all learned one thing–he is a great football coach.  And we have learned to not count him out.  The loss of stud running back Jonathan Dwyer will hurt the Yellow Jackets, but if quarterback Josh Nesbitt can stay healthy, GT will make another run at an ACC Championship Game.

23.  North Carolina:  Butch Davis has the Tarheels playing great football…well, at least on defense.  UNC boasted the nation’s 6th ranked total defense, allowing opposing offenses just under 270 yards per game.  Unfortunately, for the ‘Heels, the offense was as bad as the defense was good.  UNC was ranked a pathetic 108th in total offense.   If the offense can improve at all (which isn’t exactly a tall order), look for Butch Davis’ squad to give teams fits in 2010.

24.  West Virginia:  The Mountaineers will have to overcome the loss of quarterback Jarrett Brown, but Geno Smith will look to show why he was such a highly-touted QB out of Florida.  Noel Devine has been one of the most explosive players in the country since his freshman season, and the fact that he returned for his senior means that the Mountaineers can always one play away from breaking one.

25.  Auburn:  The heavily criticized hiring of Gene Chizik worked out well, as he led the Tigers to an 8-5 record and a bowl victory over Northwestern in his inaugural season.  Look for even more improvement from the offense and a stout defense.  Look for freshman running back Michael Dyer and freshman DE Corey Lemonier to make immediate impact this fall.

College Football All-Suspension Team: Offense

It is only March, and there are already some notable suspensions for next fall’s football season, most recently with Oregon quarterback, Jeremiah Massoli, who just pled guilty to a misdemeanor burglary charge from his involvement in an alledged theft on Oregon’s campus. 

Masoli  is not the first player to throw away a promising season (and perhaps, a career), due to horrible judgment and lack of character.  In this edition of College FootBlog, we take a look at our College Football All-Suspension Team, comprised of unbelievably talented players who have cost themselves prestigious awards and, in a few cases, cost them a lot of money from the NFL, due to character issues.  This week, we focus on the offensive side of the ball, with the defensive members of this exclusive club.

Quarterback:  Rhett Bomar (Oklahoma):  Bomar, who was one of the most highly touted players in the country coming out of high school, edged out Masoli, mainly due to his potential and hype.  The former Sooner burst onto the college football map when he took became the starter in his freshman season.  He never made it to his sophomore season for the Sooners because of his employment at a local car dealership, in which he and another OU player were paid as full-time employees, despite actually working there.  It was estimated that Bomar really only worked 5-10 hours a week to earn his 40-hour a week paycheck.  He transferred to Sam Houston State, costing him huge national exposure and the opportunity to be up for all the major awards in college football.

These days, Lawrence Phillips' mug shot is seen more often than his action photos from college and the NFL (google images).

Running Back:  Lawrence Phillips (Nebraska):  We have quite a few players to choose from at this position, but Phillips alledged crime and his fall from grace ultimately won out.  Phillips was on top of the college football world as he led Tom Osborne’s Husker squad in 1995.  Amid allegations of assault of his ex-girlfriend, Phillips was suspended by Osborn during that season, knocking him out of Heisman contention.  Osborne lifted the suspension and ultimately named him the starter at RB just before the National Championship game against Florida, where Phillips rushed for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Osborn’s not-so-hard stance was vastly criticized and despite being a first round pick by the St. Louis Rams, Phillips never managed to stay out of trouble and is now serving a 31-year sentence for assaulting his girlfriend and running his car into three teenagers.

Wide Receiver:  Peter Warrick (Florida State):  Going into his senior season, Warrick was widely known as the best player in all of college football.  A shopping spree at Dillard’s in which Warrick and  teammate and current NFL WR Laveranues Coles purchased $421 in clothes for $21.  He was suspended two games after pleading down to a misdemeanor, but the negative publicity likely cost him the Heisman.  Although he was selected fourth overall in the 2000 NFL Draft, Warrick’s talents never really translated to the NFL, and critics questioned his work ethic.

Offensive Lineman:  Andre Smith (Alabama):  Although the former Alabama O-lineman was selected a First Team All-American and won the Outland Trophy in 2008, his dealings with an agent surfaced in December of that year, prompting his suspension from the 2009 Sugar Bowl.  His Crimson Tide teammates were upset that season by the Utah Utes.  Smith recovered nicely, however, and was a first round NFL selection and currently starts for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Unfortunately for New Mexico, Locksley had as many TKO's as he did wins in 2009 (google images)

Head Coach:  Mike Locksley (New Mexico):  An argument could have been made for a number of coaches, most of which are now unemployed, but Locksley has made effective use in his short time in Albuquerque.  Since his arrival last season, Locksley has managed an age and sexual discrimination lawsuit (which was subsequently dropped), and last fall, he punched one of his assistant coaches in the face for saying “whatever” to him, which prompted a 10-day suspension without pay.  Amid the controversy, Locksley led New Mexico to a 2009 record of 1-11.  The good news for the Lobos?  Assistant coaches have been seen this spring with reinforced boxing headgear and mouthpieces, so their cut man should be able to focus more on the players.

Check College FootBlog next week to see which intellectuals qualify for our defensive unit on this classy squad.

Who’s on the Hot Seat in 2010?

Even though it is only March, there is already some buzz around college football about head coaches at some prestigious programs who could be coaching for their jobs next fall.  College FootBlog takes a look at five coaches that will have a lot of eyes on them during the 2010 season.      

Mark Richt will need to compete for an SEC title if he wants to keep the heat off in 2010 (google images)

Unfortunately for Richt, the SEC, more than any other BCS conference, is a “what have you done for me lately?” league.  Despite a stellar record of 90-27, since taking over for the Bulldogs, to fans and boosters in Athens, Richt still has not been able to win the ‘big one,” and a repeat performance of last season’s 4-4 conference record could send him job hunting next January.  Of all the coaches on this list, Richt makes the least sense, but ask Ohio State’s John Cooper if a great overall record is enough to keep a job at a bigtime college football program.

4.  Steve Spurrier/South Carolina

“The Old Ball Coach” has made a very small splash since returning to the SEC five years ago.  Long gone are the days of his “fun ‘n gun” offenses he had when he led the Florida Gators to their first National Championship.  The Gamecocks expected big things from Spurrier, and although his overall record since taking the helm in Columbia, his SEC record is a very unimpressive 18-22 in his five-year tenure.  He could be one more .500 season away from a forced retirement.

3.  Dan Hawkins/Colorado 

Hawkins has faced criticism since his arrival at Boulder, and the rumblings from boosters and fans only intensified when he named his son, Cody as the starter at quarterback for the Buffs.  Many thought last season would be his last at CU after his team produced a dismal record of 3-9.  In Hawkins’ time there, he has managed a 16-33 record and a 10-22 record against Big 12 opponents.

2.  Ron Zook/Illinois

Like Hawkins, many were surprised that Zook still had a job this January.   Zook brought his excellent recruiting skills with him to Champaign, but other than his first third full season there, his Illini teams have never finished better than 8th in the Big Ten.  Take away his lone winning season in 2007, and Zook’s record is an absolute train wreck at 12-35.  A slow start in 2010, and Zook could easily be replaced during the season this fall. 

 

In two seasons in Ann Arbor, Rodriguez has just eight total wins (google images)

1.  Rich Rodriguez/Michigan

After a good start in 2009 with a 4-0 record, including a thriller against rival Notre Dame, Rodriguez’ squad managed just one more win the rest of the season.  The Wolverines lost back to back games by 25 points versus Penn State and Illinois, and many folks in Ann Arbor were calling for his head before Thanksgiving.  Rodriguez has fallen victim to the same stubborn attitude that Bill Callahan brought to Nebraska. 

In Callahan’s case, he immediately instituted a West Coast offense with old school, smash-mouth option-style personnel.  Rodriguez, on the other hand, immediately forced his spread option offense on a group of athletes who had come to Michigan because of Lloyd Carr’s pro-style attack.  Callahan wore his welcome very quickly in Omaha.  Rodriguez could easily follow suit. 

Let the Les Miles rumors begin!


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