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Big Ten Coaching Job Security

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Who is on the hot seat?

So in the spirit of OTE, I decided it was time to assess the state of the job security of the various coaches in our fine conference. I’m sure many hot taeks will be offered about how my hot taeks suck, and you will be wrong. My taeks are the best taeks. I’m going to do this in order of most safe to least safe, to be able to better heat the taeks up, the hotter the better.

“Kirk Ferentz” Levels of Safe

Kirk Ferentz

I don’t care how safe you think your job is, you will never have the job security of Kirk Ferentz. Due to the Iowa athletic department/Iowa fan base’s crippling fear that they are one bad coaching hire away from being Iowa State, they let themselves enjoy the warm embrace of perpetual 7-5 with Kirk Ferentz. Not sure why, as to me this seems like silent admission that Wisconsin is a better program since we’ve won double digit games with three different coaches the past six years, but to each their own. Iowegans are absolutely terrified of making a head coaching hire, and Kirk Ferentz is cashing in. He could probably burn down half of Iowa City and the only response would be “but he’s such a stable coach”.

“Would have to Commit Multiple Felonies/Major Scandal” Level of Safe

Urban Meyer

Urbz is the best coach in the Big Ten. I don’t care what your criteria is, he’s better. He’s the best recruiter, he’s the only coach with a national title, yet alone multiple, he’s been successful everywhere, you name it. OSU knows they have a fantastic coach, and he’s in no way shape or form going to lose his job short of a major scandal. Good thing Ohio State coaches never have to worry about major scandals costing them their jobs.

Paul Chryst

You thought I was going to put Dantonio here didn’t you? Wrong. Dantonio’s players like to commit multiple felonies on the regular, so his job is ever so slightly less safe than Chryst’s. Chryst also has the advantage of being at his alma mater and being capable of not shitting all over himself every time his team plays an SEC school. Bonus points for not being at Wisconsin the last time we were embarrassed in prime time. 12-3 with wins over USC (only beat them by 44 less points than Bama) and LSU isn’t a bad start for a coach that supposedly was nothing more than a .500 P5 head coach. You know who's nothing more than a .500 P5 head coach? James Franklin, but more on that later.

Mark Dantonio

Yeah Thugtan jokes aside he’s not going anywhere. Except to OSU when Urban starts having health problems. That has nothing to do with how safe his current job is however. Dantonio is super unlikable, so maybe just maybe he could get in a fight with an AD that isn’t Mark Hollis, but he also has excellent job security (that could be a fun article). Also as opposed to say OSU fans, MSU fans have no problems getting run through the Bama fucksaw repeatedly, so expectations will never be too high for him.

“Safe But May or May Not Be Completely Insane So Doing Something to Get Fired Is Always on the Table” Level of Safe

Jim Harbaugh

I mean it was obvious based on the title right? He’s completely off the reservation, which for the record I think is hilarious and recruits love it so you do you Jim. Don’t let the haters (ie jealous Penn State fans) get you down dude. They just wish their delightfully tacky head coach was actually a good coach too. It’s only crazy if it doesn’t work. Brady Hoke he certainly is not, although it wouldn’t surprise me if Harbaugh also turned to cannibalism. I’m sure he’d do it with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Are we sure he isn’t a coke fiend? Have we ruled out heroin?

Mike Riley

Now I’ve dated way too many psychology majors, and let me tell you that they love to tell you psychology things. So I’ve picked up a few things. Namely that there are different types of crazy (not sure if it was the psychology tidbits or they themselves that I picked that up from). Like there’s Harbaugh crazy, and then there’s “randomly packing up and moving to Nebraska” crazy. WHO DOES THAT? Nobody in a normal state of mind that’s for sure. So when Riley finally snaps and goes on a vandalism rampage using the Broken Bits of Chair trophy don’t say I didn’t warn you. Until that happens, blowing out Wyoming when you were a sexy upset pick is good for the job security.

“Your Program Sucks So These Guys Barely Have Landed In Town” Level of Safe

DJ Durkin

I’m doing these in order of “most likely to do better than the last guy”. Edsall was shitty, and Maryland actually hasn’t been a terrible program recently besides that. Conveniently Durkin is also the coach that hasn’t lost yet in this tier. Maryland may not go bowling this season, but I think Durkin will get them there soon. He was also the defensive coordinator for the Most Blessed Saint/Booger Connoisseur Jim Harbaugh, so there’s no way he possibly fails.

Lovie Smith

I’m on the record as saying that I like this hire, both for the timing and the creativeness of it. Even just smashing an FCS team is a positive step. He could do some decent, if not nice, things at Illinois in the near future. I’m curious to see how he recruits a full cycle, seeing as he hasn’t been a college coach since Counting Crows were at their peak.

Chris Ash

So let’s get something out of the way right here and now. Yes Rutgers you did manage to look absolutely terrible even though you ended up winning 52-14. There are FCS teams, and then there’s “would probably lose at least two games if they played in the WIAC” FCS teams. The WIAC is a D3 conference, and while it might be the SEC of D3 seeing as the conference (yes the whole conference) owns an .886 winning percentage in regular season nonconference games in the last decade, it’s still D3. This still is the same old Buttgers, and Ash isn’t going to change that they belong in FCS anywhere that isn’t the Big Ten somewhere. I’m open to crowdsourcing ideas for where.

“Northwestern Alum” Level of Safe

Pat Fitzgerald

Before dicktripping all over Ryan Field against the pride of the MAC and Missouri Valley conferences in consecutive weeks, Fitzy would’ve been right behind Dantonio. Now however, he’s in the midst of a season that might be even worse than Iowa State’s at this juncture. Now I have zero doubts that Fitzgerald can survive going 2-10 this year, but that would heat his seat up really fast going into next season. Would the Tarps actually can Fitzgerald? I really doubt it, he’s been consistently good long enough to be able to survive some really truly terrible years.

“Iniana” Level of Safe

Kevin Wilson

Unlike Fitzgerald, I don’t think Wilson can survive some really truly terrible years. He’s had his seat get warm on him before, and looking at how this season has started, there’s an opportunity to get to another bowl game and really give himself some job security. After all, it took the defense two games to give up 34 points, and not a half. I know not playing Wisconsin helps, but that’s still some significant improvement from the Hoosiers.

“Better Update the Resume and Get a Realtor’s Number” Level of Safe

Tracy Claeys

Big thing to note here, which I state with multiple disclaimers. the first is that Claeys doesn’t get canned this year, he gets canned next year. The first disclaimer on that is that it sounds like some Gopher athletes were doing things they shouldn’t have been (imagine that), and if not handled correctly could cost Claeys his job. The disclaimer on that disclaimer is that so far I think Claeys has handled it correctly. With that said, Claeys isn’t a P5 head coach and Minnesota is going to be bad this year and next year. Which will lead to Claeys getting fired and...

Wait for it...

Getting the only axe of his Minnesota career

James Franklin

So Penn State fans, I thought the offensive coordinator was the problem? You got rid of him, and scored 39 points, so you blew out Pitt. Oh wait... So is it the defensive coordinator now? Maybe it’s just the head coach. I know that it’s mind blowing idea that a glorified cheerleader might not be the answer in a division with Meyer, Harbaugh, and Dantonio isn’t the answer but a glorified cheerleader isn’t the answer. Also friendly reminder that it’s the head coach that keep hiring crappy coordinators. Have fun coach shopping this winter.

“Should’ve Been Fired Already” Level of Safe

Darrell Hazell

You know, for a school with a cheapskate athletic department, how did Hazell manage to get A FULLY GUARANTEED CONTRACT? I need his agent. The man could probably sell you a bag of sand in the Sahara. There is good news though. Next Purdue Head Coach Brock Spack really beefed up his resume this weekend. Although maybe that isn’t good news. You might have to offer him a contract with no buyout at this rate too. Poor Purdue fans. You know football fandom is voluntary right? You know it isn’t supposed to constantly hurt?

Alright OTE, don’t let me down. Tell me why I’m horribly wrong about your coach and that James Franklin isn’t actually terrible at hiring coordinators. I haven’t seen any great leaps (in logic or otherwise) since the long jump during the Olympics.