Blog Entry

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 11:19 am
As the BCS races becomes even more frenetic, a handful of other programs are just trying to salvage their seasons for respectability and establish some momentum for the future. Anything they can do in hopes of avoiding a coaching change to get more one season. It's not even Halloween yet and we've already had three head coaches losing their jobs. More turnover is coming. You can count on it. This week's Tuesday Top 10: The 10 coaches on the hottest seats in the FBS:

1. Rick Neuheisel, UCLA: The former Bruin standout QB has just not been able to get anything going in four seasons at his alma mater. He has tried virtually everything, from going all-in on the Pistol to turning over his coaching staff last off-season. But it's just not working out. On paper, he has recruited very well with three top-15 ranked classes in his first three seasons, however all he has to show for it is a record of 18-26 overall and 10-20 in league play. The most frustrating part for Bruin fans is that there has been opportunity to benefit from instability across town with USC coping with massive NCAA sanctions.

As I wrote in the Friday mailbag after the Bruins' dreadful performance on national television in their blowout loss to a reeling Arizona squad, UCLA still has a chance to win the Pac-12 South if it runs the table. But that seems like such a long shot after seeing its most recent showing that leads you to believe they are incapable of running off five consecutive wins. (Four of which would come against teams better than Arizona.) In fact, you wonder if they're even capable of winning three of those games to finish .500.

2. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss:
The pressure is clearly wearing on Nutt. Over the weekend, he lit into a reporter at a post-game press conference because the guy had predicted the Rebels were going to get blown out by Arkansas. The Rebels squandered a 17-0 lead, but "only" lost 29-24, stretching the program's losing streak in SEC play to 10 games, an Ole Miss record for futility. It was the first time in four tries that Nutt's team hadn't lost a conference game by at least two touchdowns. Then again, a few weeks earlier, that same reporter, Neil McCready, a writer for the local Rivals Ole Miss site, had predicted the Rebels would get thumped by Alabama. They did. Nutt never said anything about that. Earlier this season, Ole Miss got crushed by Vandy in a way the Commodores never beat another SEC program.

Nutt got off to a terrific start in Oxford with the Rebels winning nine games in each of his first two seasons, but recruiting has not gone so well and that has caught up with the former Arkansas coach. The talent level has fallen off. He's 1-12 in his past 13 SEC games and he may not even match last season's total of four wins. The Rebels are 116th in the total offense and 110th in total defense. It would cost the school at least $6 million to dump Nutt, but don't be surprised if both he and his AD Pete Boone both get the boot this year. It's gotten that ugly in Oxford.

3. Neil Callaway, UAB: Thanks to a big upset win over UCF last week, Callaway's team has finally gotten its first win of 2011, and with Memphis and FAU remaining, a 3-9 season is within reach. However in Year Five for him at the school, it'd seem like a mighty long shot that would be good enough. The Blazers are 118th in scoring and 95th in defense. Callaway is 16-43 all-time at UAB.

4. Paul Wulff, Washington State: The Cougars jumped out to a 3-1 start albeit those three wins did come against teams that are a combined 4-18, they have lost a lot of steam. They've been blown out the past two weeks, first by Stanford and then by an Oregon State team that came in 1-5. Wulff may need to win three of his next five to keep his job, and two of those are against ranked teams. The finale at Washington figures to be crucial for a guy who has seen his program getting a lot better over the past two years. Still, he is only 8-37.

5. Steve Fairchild, Colorado State:  He got off to a nice start, going to and winning a bowl game in his rookie season. Since then, its been really shaky. Fairchild's just 3-15 in the past three years of league play and 3-4 overall this year, and on a three-game losing streak. Worse still, one of those losses came against arch-rival CU, which is the Buffs (1-7) lone win this year. With five games remaining, but only one is against a team with a losing record (1-5 UNLV), Fairchild probably needs an upset or two to feel some security. Keep in mind this is a program that only had four losing seasons in 16 years under Sonny Lubick.

6. Tom O'Brien, N.C. State: The Pack just got a big road win at Virginia, which has to help O'Brien's prospects. With dismal Maryland and his former school BC still remaining on the schedule, he has a very good shot to get this team to a bowl game, but even that might not be enough. He is just 15-20 in ACC play and generating only one winning season out of five may be a tough sell for the NCSU brass to buy that he's the right guy to lead the program to bigger things.

7. Larry Porter, Memphis: It's hard to dump a guy after just two seasons, but Porter is dangling after a brutal first year and some stunning blowout losses, including a 47-3 loss to Arkansas State and 28-6 loss to a Rice team that is 2-5. Porter, though, got a much-needed W last week when the Tigers beat a Tulane team that just got rid of its head man Bob Toledo. The Tigers still have a home game with UAB remaining, so even though 3-9 sounds horrible, it may show enough growth for him to get a third season.

8. Frank Spaziani, Boston College:
The Eagles have been solid for decades and haven't won less than seven games since 1998, but they have really dropped off since Spaziani took over in 2009. BC had won 30 games the previous three seasons before he was elevated to head coach. Since then, it's been eight wins, seven wins and now they'll be fortunate to win three this season. Spaziani's career record is over .500 (17-16) but can he survive a horrible 2011, where BC is 1-7 and hasn't beaten an FBS program yet?

9. Turner Gill, Kansas: After doing a nice job at Buffalo, where he won a MAC championship, Gill is off to a disastrous start at KU. He's 1-11 in his first 12 Big 12 games and just 5-14 overall. Jayhawk fans left a lot of seats in last week's big rivalry game for K-State fans who watched the Wildcats smash KU, 59-21. They've been outscored in conference play by an average of 32 ppg. They're on a five-game losing streak, which could double by season's end with a trip to Iowa State being their best bet to end the skid.

10. Robb Akey, Idaho:
After leading the Vandals to a Humanitarian Bowl win in 2009, the program has backslide again, going 7-13 the past two years and winning just three league games.

Since: Jul 23, 2009
Posted on: October 25, 2011 10:49 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

I sure am glad Auburn didnt listen to the talking heads and experts calling for them to hire Gill.Jacobs knew he didnt have the experience to lead a BCS school but Auburn was branded racist for hiring Chizik instead.I didnt understand how he knew Chizik could do it but Chiz had worked for AU before and still had a great relationship with Jacobs and Dye.So seeing Gills name on the list and Chizik with a title makes me feel good about Jacobs desicion and it was great hearing Charles Barkley inserting his foot into his mouth after he called the brass at his old school a bunch of racist for hiring Chizik over Gill.

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: October 25, 2011 10:10 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

Could it be that Neuheisel doesnt have the "kahuna's" or the ability to be coaching at this level.  He has never produced and in all cases the program he left behind was worst that when he first showed up.  In the case of UCLA they were bad when he walked in the door and even with all the support of the UCLA family he hasnt produced. 

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:41 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

Re: Rick Neuheisel, UCLA

It's called karma...

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:27 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

All Tressel has to do is fire the President and the athletic director at tOSU and then he can reclaim his old job back.  Wink

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: October 25, 2011 8:40 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

I can't believe Neuheisel doesn't have show cause on him.  He is like Lou Holtz, every program he leaves, he leaves it on probation.

Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: October 25, 2011 7:47 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

When I clicked on my icon and up comes the website with Neuhisel's rosy face I thought for sure it was going to be about ucla finally firing the guy. I'm happy that wasn't the case because we trojans think rick is doing a great job and should be given a contract extension

best post of the day!!!

Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: October 25, 2011 7:45 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

Turner Gill should never have been hired by Kansas in the first place. He was brought in after some whiny-ass players bitched about how mean Mark Mangino was, and that spineless Lew Perkins brought in Gill. Now everyone is paying the price, and Gill is running the program into the ground.


what program?? YOUR got hot and beat nebraska twice got a bcs bowl win and then started thinking that you can compete and hang with the big12 big boys. turner didnt know what he was getting himself into because the fact is big time recruits dont usually flock to kansas. bill over in manhattan has been living of juco. i can understand if your mad but dont act like Gill did to ku what bill callahan did to nebraska, ku wasnt a powerhouse and even then with mangino they had ok year(in ku's book).

hate Gill all you want but dont reality escape your mind....KU was never that football team that your talking about. hard truth sorry.

Since: Oct 25, 2008
Posted on: October 25, 2011 7:17 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

Jim Tressel please come back to Ohio State! 

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2011 7:04 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

Neuheisel may survive for one more year because UCLA is cheap, and does not want to have to pay two head coaches salaries.  Neuheisel's contract runs out next season.  Guerrero is the one who needs to be fired.  UCLA has simply vanished from sight as a football program.  No one cares.  Their Alumni has to be one of the worst in the NCAA.  The players obviously do not care, as proven by their track record over the past several years.  USC still dominates them, even though USC is on probation, and will suffer some serious scholarship limitations for the next 3 years.  It is tough for two teams in the same state to compete when one is much better than the other, let alone two teams in the same City.  UCLA may have the occasional good season, but they are not a football power to be reconed with year after year.

Since: Sep 23, 2007
Posted on: October 25, 2011 6:53 pm

Tuesday Top 10: Coaches on the hottest seats

Hey Feldman, have you ever considered employing a proof-reader ? Just a thought....

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