COUNTDOWN TO FIRING DAY 2018: EDITION TWO
Here we are three weeks into the 2018 college football season and we’re without a firing. Can you believe it? Is that a sign that there will be fewer firings in 2018 than there were last year? Not on your life. The clock is ticking and buzzards are circling. Someone is going to get canned and very soon.
ON LIFE SUPPORT
David Beaty, Kansas: The good news is that Kansas unexpectedly won a road game last week, beating that same Central Michigan team that had Kentucky on the ropes in the fourth quarter of week one. The bad news is that now the Jayhawks have won a game, people are going to expect them to do it again. This week the Jayhawks face Rutgers, which was hammered by the Buckeyes, 52-3, last week. Kansas is favored by 2.5 points. That’s the kind of pressure David Beaty doesn’t need. Expect a loss but if KU finds a way to win, classes might get cancelled for a week. But fear not. It’s not a question of if Beaty will be fired, just a matter of when. A loss Saturday could speed up the process.
D.J. Durkin, Maryland: D.J. will probably know his fate next Friday when the findings of an investigation into the death of Jordan McNair (died of heat stroke on June 13) are revealed. If you have been known to wager a dollar or two, put your money on D.J. getting run out of College Park. Meanwhile, Maryland is off to a 2-0 start with D.J. sidelined indefinitely and Todd Canada serving as the interim head coach. Who needs D.J. anyway?
Lovie Smith, Illinois: Illinois is off to a 2-0 start. The wins are over Kent State and D1AA Western Illinois, which is like beating a convent and the pottery club all-stars. But this is Illinois where a win is a win is a win. Reality check this weekend when Charlie Strong and South Florida come to town. Expect an Illinois loss and buzzards to be perching on the power lines to the football offices as early as Sunday morning.
ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
Everett Withers, Texas State: Texas State got a win last week over D1AA Texas Southern. One win down, five more to go or else Everett will be On Life Support. This week the Bobcats travel to South Alabama, which might be the last best chance for another win this season.
Brad Lambert, Charlotte: What’s with the 49ers (that’s Charlotte’s nickname)? They beat Old Dominion Thursday afternoon and they are not only sitting at 2-1, but for the moment at least they are leading the East Division of Conference USA. UMass is on the schedule next week which means Charlotte could actually be off to a 3-1 start. Stranger things have happened. I just don’t know when.
Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina: Just when Scottie Montgomery was about to be ordered to walk the plank, the Pirates not only beat North Carolina but they dropped the hammer on the Tar Heels. For a school with a serious inferiority complex, beating UNC in a spelling bee is cause for celebration. Beating the Tar Heels in football is like Christmas, New Year and the Fourth of July rolled into one. There is more reason to celebrate. The Pirates will not get destroyed by Virginia Tech this week. That’s because the game was cancelled by Hurricane Florence. There will be a reality check next week when ECU pays a visit to Tampa to face Charlie Strong and USF.
Mike Jinks, Bowling Green: The Falcons are 0-2 and they’ve given up 103 points. They’re terrible but this week they should get a win with D1AA Eastern Kentucky coming to town. Should the Falcons win, they should savor it long into the next week. Why? Because they probably won’t come within two touchdowns of another win the rest of the season. It’s only a matter of time before Jinks goes On Life Support.
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech: Kliffy and the Red Raiders poured it on to the tune of 11 touchdowns last week against D1AA Lamar. Houston is up next and the Cougars of the American Athletic Conference are still perturbed that the Big 12 didn’t vote to add them to the league a couple of years back. There’s nothing the Cougars would like better than adding a Big 12 scalp to their belts this weekend against Kliffy and Texas Tech.
Larry Fedora, North Carolina: The Tar Heels went 2-10 last year, largely due to an unprecedented number of injuries. The powers that be were in a very forgiving mood after that but now that UNC is 0-2 and one of those losses is a beatdown at the hands of country cousins ECU, there isn’t a whole lot of benevolence in Chapel Hill. Fortunately for Fedora, a second straight beatdown at the hands of UCF was avoided by Hurricane Florence. Fedora has to figure out a way to get to six wins or he’s going to be a goner.
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: Nobody in Ann Arbor is celebrating last week’s 49-3 win over Western Michigan. There won’t be much celebration this week with SMU coming to town. The only thing the Michigan faithful want is to see Harbaugh beat Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State. The other teams on the schedule are a bunch of nobodies and Michigan fans aren’t very happy beating nobodies.
Tom Herman, Texas: Texas has lost to Maryland and struggled to beat Tulsa, not exactly what the Longhorn faithful had in mind when the season began. If Texas rises to crashing defeat this week against Southern Cal, Herman is going to start feeling the heat. The faithful are already asking themselves out loud, “What the hell were we thinking when we fired Charlie Strong?” If TCU and Oklahoma kick the Longhorns butts in the upcoming weeks, Herman might find himself on a fast track out of town.
Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio): Barring a miracle of changing the water into wine proportions this weekend, the RedHawks will drop to 0-3. Considering it’s Minnesota from the Big Ten and it’s a roadie, Miami is a mortal lock to get hammered. Chuckie will be on the Endangered Species List next week.
Mike Neu, Ball State: Neu almost pulled off the shocker of all shockers last weekend at Notre Dame (24-16 loss). Either Ball State is a whole lot better than anyone expects or else Notre Dame didn’t exactly take this game seriously. Should Ball State knock off Indiana this week, then maybe the Cardinals are a whole lot better. If Indiana wins big, then we’ll know Notre Dame yawned its way to a win.
Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion: Things are not exactly looking up for Wilder, who, on consecutive weeks has lost by 42 to Liberty and by three to Charlotte. Virginia Tech is next. Buzzards are gathering on the power lines leading to the football offices at ODU.
Randy Edsall, UConn: Through two games, UConn has been outscored by UCF and Boise State by a combined 94 points. The Huskies will probably beat D1AA Rhode Island this week, but next week Syracuse could hang eight or nine touchdowns on UConn. Edsall isn’t a likeable guy. He’ll be even less likeable if UConn fails to win four games this year, which is entirely possible.