Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As the 2013 season approaches, there are
more than a few coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision sweating more than
usual, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the record-breaking heat
experienced in some parts of the country recently.
Every year there are a handful of guys who can't count job security as one of
the areas in their lives they feel most comfortable, thus creating more than a
few anxious moments for them personally, and equally unsettled times for the
rabid fans that support their respective teams.
The following coaches are likely squirming in their seats right now, although
none will say so publicly.
Among the higher-profile names, USC's Lane Kiffin, Charlie Weis of Kansas and
Kirk Ferentz at Iowa could find themselves on the unemployment line at
season's end if their teams don't produce to the level they are expected.
Kiffin, who turned his back on Tennessee after only one season, accepted what
he called his "dream job" in the City of Angels in 2010, but the last three
years have been up and down for sure. While it's true Kiffin inherited a team
in turmoil (NCAA sanctions), the 2012 Trojans, the preseason No. 1, went just
7-6 after going 10-2 the year before. While few question his ability to
recruit, Kiffin's critics cite his abrasive bedside manor and his deficiencies
as an X's and O's guy as the reasons he doesn't produce consistent winners.
For fans of the iconic program, another lackluster year will be more than they
can handle, almost assuredly resulting in his ouster.
Weis has the misfortune of being too big a name to fly under the radar while
attempting to revive a Kansas squad that has been in shambles since Mark
Mangino led it to four bowl games and the only 12-win season in school history
(2007). The 2012 campaign was another in a long line of disappointments for
KU, the team going a woeful 1-11, with the only win coming in the season
opener against FCS foe South Dakota State. The Jayhawks have lost 21 straight
Big 12 Conference games, and they haven't won a league crown, shared or
outright, since way back in 1968. For Weis to keep his job, the Jayhawks need
to show marked improvement, and not just by performing valiantly from week to
Ferentz is the dean of Big Ten Conference coaches, having been hired to
replace the legendary Hayden Fry back in 1998. While enjoying a modicum of
success, particularly in 2009 when they went 11-2 overall and beat Georgia
Tech in the 2010 Orange Bowl, the Hawkeyes have been inconsistent during
Ferentz's tenure. The team stumbled through a 4-8 campaign in 2012, and it's
now been nearly a decade since Iowa has won a conference crown (sharing it in
2004). The Hawkeyes' last outright Big Ten title was back in 1985. Ferentz has
won 100 games at Iowa, second only to Fry, and while he has led the Hawkeyes
to 10 bowl games, they are just 19-19 overall and 10-14 in the Big Ten over
the past three years.
Others who may be receiving pink slips if they don't turn things around
immediately include Randy Edsall (Maryland), Bobby Hauk (UNLV), Kevin Wilson
(Indiana) and Steve Sarkisian (Washington).
After a successful stint at Connecticut, Edsall was hired in 2011 to replace
Ralph Friedgen at Maryland, but he has lost three times as many games as he
has won (6-18), and with the Terrapins heading to the Big Ten next year, it's
time to up the ante, or throw in the towel.
Having previously led FCS power Montana to unprecedented heights during his
seven-year stay at that school, Hauk was thought to be the savior of a UNLV
program that had posted only one winning season in the 10 years prior to his
arrival. However, in the three years since, he has amassed a dismal record of
6-32 overall, 5-18 in the Mountain West Conference.
Wilson has the unenviable job of leading an Indiana team that has suffered
more defeats than any other in FBS history. Lacking the clout to recruit with
the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and the other big boys in the Big Ten, the
Hoosiers have gone just 5-19 during Wilson's two-year reign, and they have won
only two of their 16 league bouts.
Hoping they found a potential wunderkind at the time, Washington hired
Sarkisian away from rival USC in late 2008. Unfortunately things haven't
panned out the way all had hoped, as he has led the Huskies to a 26-25 record,
which includes a 19-17 ledger against Pac-10/12 rivals. Having finished no
higher than third in the conference/division standings, Sarkisian has yet to
leave his mark on a program that has been wildly inconsistent since its heyday
under the winningest coach in school history, Don James (1975-92).
Still more who could be looking to hire a real estate agent sooner rather than
later: Jim Grobe (Wake Forest), Rich Ellerson (Army), Terry Bowden (Akron),
Ron English (Eastern Michigan) and Tim Beckman (Illinois).
The bottom line is, unless your name happens to be Nick Saban, Urban Meyer,
Bob Stoops, Les Miles or even Chris Petersen, you are one train-wreck of a
season away from potentially being tossed out like yesterday's garbage. A fate
no one enjoys discussing, but is pretty much fact in the what-have-you-done-
for-me-lately world of a major college football coach.
The Sports Network