COUNTDOWN TO FIRING DAY: EDITION FOUR
September is waning and we still haven’t had a firing in college football, which comes as somewhat of a shock. We’re close. Buzzards are circling at a number of places, but we still haven’t had that first good press conference where some AD and school president talk about what a wonderful human being they’re firing.
ON LIFE SUPPORT
D.J. DURKIN, MARYLAND: Most people thought he would be gone last week when the report regarding the death of Jordan McNair was released but somehow D.J. keeps hanging on. It’s probably not for long, however, because AD Damon Evans is now claiming he was duped by the reports regarding McNair’s death. That might sell in Sheboygan but it won’t cut it in College Park. Without Evans to protect him, D.J. is going down for the count soon.
LOVIE SMITH, ILLINOIS: After winning two games and flirting with a third, it was back to the zany antics of the past couple of years for Lovie and the boys. Penn State hosed them, 63-24, and it could have been worse if the Nittany Lions hadn’t been comatose in the first half. No game this week so Lovie is safe and secure for another week. If he can’t beat Rutgers in two weeks, he might as well start calling for quotes from moving van companies.
MIKE JINKS, BOWLING GREEN: This week is another paycheck game for the Falcons, which means it’s a get well game for Georgia Tech. Toledo and Western Michigan are looming after the Tech beatdown so things aren’t going to get better. If anything, they’re going to get worse so Jinksy might want to polish up that resume and see if he can get a nice assistant’s job somewhere because he’s not going to last much longer as an HBC.
DAVID BEATY, KANSAS: One of the quickest ways to get back On Life Support after a one-week reprieve is to get stomped by Baylor, which happened last week. There isn’t a winnable game remaining on the schedule. This week’s loss will be to Okie State, which needs to take out some anger after last week’s loss to Texas Tech. KU is 2-2. The fans should savor the moment. They aren’t going to be anywhere close to .500 for much longer.
ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
BRAD LAMBERT, CHARLOTTE: Just when you thought Charlotte was going to go 3-1, the 49ers reverted back to their old losing ways and were trounced by a not so good UMass team. Losing to UMass isn’t conducive to job security. Nor is getting thrashed by UAB on the road, which will happen this week to knock Charlotte out of that unaccustomed position of first place (1-0 conference record) in Conference USA.
SCOTTIE MONTGOMERY, EAST CAROLINA: They’ve already forgotten that win over North Carolina three weeks ago. Now the Pirates are hoping and praying that Old Dominion’s blow the doors off win over VaTech last week was a fluke and not some epiphany moment that will see the Monarchs decide they can win a bunch more games and go bowling. A loss, even if it’s a close one, will put Scottie On Life Support.
EVERETT WITHERS, TEXAS STATE: The good news for Withers is he won’t get fired this week. That’s because the Bobcats have an open date. When you can recruit Texas and you can’t at least make a decent showing in the Sun Belt Conference, you shouldn’t be making long term real estate investments in San Marcos.
LARRY FEDORA, NORTH CAROLINA: The Hat’s job security took a serious hit Thursday night when Miami scored three defensive TDs and blow the Tar Heels’ doors off. With VaTech and Syracuse looming the next two weeks, things are looking bleak for Fedora’s job security.
CHUCK MARTIN, MIAMI (OHIO): The Chuckster avoided a date On Life Support by getting his first win of the season last week. Okay, it was Bowling Green so it wasn’t like it was a write home to mom moments. It would ease tensions a teensy bit with a second straight win, but that seems unlikely because Western Michigan is killing people now that their two paycheck games (Michigan and Syracuse) are over and done with.
RANDY EDSALL, UCONN: All three losses have come in blowout fashion and the only win is a squeaker over D1AA Rhode Island. The next three games are Cincinnati and roadies to Memphis and South Florida, all of which have the makings of 30-point (or more) losses. Edsall canned his defensive coordinator earlier in the week. He should think about canning himself.
JIM HARBAUGH, MICHIGAN: Why is Harbaugh still here? It’s because he still hasn’t beaten the team that counts (Ohio State) and he tends to tank against Michigan State and Penn State, too. When he shows he can win those three games, fans will be happy but not until.
BOBBY WILDER, OLD DOMINION: The Monarchs were supposed to get blown out by Virginia Tech last week but instead the confounded everyone by throttling the (then) 13th-ranked Hokies, 49-35, for their first win of the season. If they beat ECU this week, Wilder will be breathing easier, but a loss and the euphoria of that VaTech win will go the way of the 5-cent cigar.
WILLIE TAGGART, FLORIDA STATE: There is still plenty of time for Willie the T to convince the fine folks in Tallahassee that he’s the right guy to take the Seminoles into the future. Unfortunately for him, nobody is impressed that FSU is 2-2 right now with wins over a D1AA and a team from the MAC. The Seminoles still have Miami, Clemson, North Carolina State, Notre Dame and Florida on the schedule. That doesn’t seem conducive to much more than a 6-6 record. If the Seminoles don’t start winning, there will be many more than the eight GoFundMe accounts already set up to raise money for Willie the T’s buyout.
PAUL JOHNSON, GEORGIA TECH: Every year about this time it seems the buzzards circles the football offices at Georgia Tech and every year about this time it seems Paul Johnson finally gets the Yellow Jackets playing decent football and winning. They’re 1-3 right now with Bowling Green and Louisville – both winnable games – next on the schedule. If the Jackets go bowling, Johnson is safe. If not, he’ll be on the Extinct Species List.
CHRIS ASH, RUTGERS: When your only win is over Texas State and you’ve had your doors blown off by the likes of Kansas and Buffalo of the Mac, it’s safe to say all is not swell in New Jersey these days. The remaining eight games are all Big Ten affairs and suffice to say the football world can be cold and cruel. It’s only a matter of time for Ash to ascend to On Life Support.
DEREK MASON, VANDERBILT: It’s pretty simple for Mason and Vanderbilt. Get to six wins and he’s good to go another year. If he doesn’t get to six wins all bets are off that he won’t be on the Vandy sideline next year. They really hate firing coaches at Vandy, so Mason has that going for him. The Commodores will stick Tennessee State in the win column Saturday which will improve them to 3-2 and that’s halfway to six wins. The problem is there won’t be any more non-conference games after Saturday and the only two games that look remotely winnable are at Arkansas and then Tennessee in the season finale.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: The more I think about it, the more I think the Gators are going to steal a win on the road in Starkville this weekend. Something tells me Dan Mullen is going to have the Gators as well prepared as they’ve been all season on both sides of the ball. I would also bet Mullen’s presence will get into the head of Nick Fitzgerald … By the time most of you read this most of the Friday morning matches at the Ryder Cup will be complete. I would be very happy if the Americans can salvage a 2-2 split. I like Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods over Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth over Paul Casey and Tyrell Hatton … I like Notre Dame to smack Stanford and end the Pac-12 chances of making the college football playoff … I look for Nebraska (vs. Purdue) and UCLA (at Colorado) to remain winless and for their fans start asking what the hell were we thinking when we hired Scott Frost and Chip Kelly? … For the sake of argument, let’s say Syracuse pulls off the stunner and beats Clemson on the road Saturday. I know it’s not likely but stranger things have happened. If that happens and say Trevor Lawrence lays a big fat egg, do you think Kelly Bryant will be on Dabo’s doorstep Sunday morning begging for a second chance? … Jared Goff looked like an all-pro QB the way he dissected the Minnesota Vikings defense in leading the Los Angeles Lambs to a 38-35 win Thursday night. Goff completed 26-33 passes for 465 yards. The Vikes might start searching for a D-coordinator … The Carolina Panthers’ defense just got better with the signing of free agent safety Eric Reid … Quart’e Sapp, the Tennessee linebacker who left last week’s Florida game at halftime, is back in the team’s good graces. I guess things are so bad in Knoxville that they can’t afford to lose even one player, even if he walks off midway through a game.