Jimbo Fisher doesn't worry about pressure.
“I like it,” Fisher said at the ACC kickoff. “Pressure brings urgency, and urgency is what you want. When you're young, you can say, ‘There's always next year.'”
There's plenty of pressure and urgency to go around in the ACC this year. And it's just possible that there won't be a next year for a few of the league's coaches.
Here are the coaches with the hottest seats as the year begins.
5. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: The Seminoles were the overwhelming league favorite again this year and considered a contender for the national title. They had similar expectations last season and watched the ACC championship game on television. Fisher's job isn't in jeopardy, but another season falling far short of expectations, and the whispers and murmuring will begin.
4. Tom O'Brien, NC State: When O'Brien and North Carolina's Everett Withers exchanged harsh words in the week leading up to the Wolfpack's rivalry game against the Tar Heels, many assumed that it was a last stand for two coaches who wouldn't be back in 2012. O'Brien continued his dominance over the hated Heels, then led the Pack to a remarkable late-season run to qualify for a bowl game. He's not flashy in recruiting or in press conferences, so as long as he keeps winning, he'll keep himself safe.
3. Dabo Swinney, Clemson: The Tigers are the defending ACC champions. They have the preseason player of the year in Sammy Watkins and one of the league's most exciting quarterbacks in Tajh Boyd. Swinney has lost three straight to cross-state rival South Carolina, by an average of 20 points. He's 1-3 in bowls capped off by the 70-33 debacle in the Orange Bowl. Watkins won't be around long, and some might see Swinney's window of opportunity closing if they don't produce this season.
2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College: Like O'Brien, Spaziani isn't going to earn a margin of error with an over-the-top personality. He needs to produce on the field, and so far, the Eagles haven't gotten it done. They'll be breaking in their fourth offensive coordinator in three seasons. If things don't improve in Chestnut Hill, the school will be tempted to go in a different direction with the head spot.
1. Randy Edsall, Maryland: Year One couldn't have gone much worse in Maryland. The team went 2-10 and two dozen players transferred. “The biggest thing this spring was a lack of numbers,” receiver Kevin Dorsey said at the ACC Kickoff. “There were so few people you ended up taking more reps than you were used to.” The Terps hired a public relations firm, which seems, from the outside, to be more of a band-aid than a solution. If the remaining Maryland players are all on board, Edsall should be able to right the ship. But his leash is getting shorter.
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