MNWildcat yelled at me in the comment section of last week's SMCD to put my rankings in a FanPost instead of a comment section - I assume for more page clicks/ad revenue/etc. I guess I'll comply with his request.
As it happens, with these clicks I'll be going to Burlington Coat Factory. Thanks, BU89! --MNW
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So without further discussion, here is the post B1G game 3 HC/OC/DC hot seat rankings
1) Nobody because all athletic departments are financially insolvent due to COVID.
So Utah State went and fired their coach and notable Wisconsin coaching alumni Gary Andersen yesterday which means that my assumption that no coaches were getting fired this year needs to be reexamined. Which both gives hope to Illinois fans and makes me looks stupid. Neither of which is acceptable. So even though Utah State isn't in the B1G, let's look at what happened there.
After quitting Oregon State midseason and turning away the $12 million left on his contract, Gary Andersen ended up back at Utah State for the 2nd time in 2019. This was after he left Wisconsin because it was impossible to recruit there because nobody would ever want to go to Wisconsin. Despite going 7-6 in his first season (6-2 in conference), Utah State started Andersen's 2nd season out 0-3 in 2020 by getting crushed by the three best teams in the conference. Andersen's buyout is reportedly $2 million but I've seen this reported as both a "firing" and a "mutual decision" and I have no idea whether he will get any of that money. Either way, it's a perplexing decision just 3 games into a coach's 2nd season at the helm and in the COVID environment. With his past actions at Wisconsin & Oregon State I can't help but think something else could be going on.
With that in mind, we will proceed with assuming that coaches aren't getting fired this year for performance issues but I will dig into specific B1G situations in future weeks (looking at you Michigan & Illinois)
If athletic departments did have money the rankings of HC/OC/DC hot seats would be as follows:
Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh (2). With back to back losses to Michigan State and Indiana, Harbaugh drops his record against his two top rivals to 3-8 and his record against top 25 teams to 8-10 (although only 1 of those wins was against a top 10 team). This is year 6 and the defense has been terrible and the offense has been ineffective against everyone not named Minnesota. Michigan could do the whole rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic and bring in some new coordinators but I'm pretty sure they've already done that during Harbaugh's tenure. Harbaugh is still on his original 7 year contract as extension negotiations never came thru this past spring. Michigan doesn't feel like a program that would have a coach actually go into the final year of his contract without an extension and I don't know that Harbaugh has done enough to get an extension with the enormous salary he gets.
Illinois HC Lovie Smith (1). In a world without COVID, Lovie Smith's $1 million buyout is incredibly manageable. While Illinois got to 6 wins last year, they are still 15-37 under Smith. Their defense is atrocious against the pass with opposing QBs going 66 for 83 in three games this year. Smith is supposedly a defensive coach. With their East division crossovers having gotten significantly better Illinois may be headed to a 0-9 season.
Nebraska HC Scott Frost (N/R). Frost is now 6-15 in B1G play early in his 3rd season and it would be worse if they had played Wisconsin last week. In case you need reminding Mike Riley went 12-14 in conference games. At it stands right now this is the worse conference coaching record for any Nebraska HC ever (granted the B1G is much better than the Big 12). Next week they face off against an hapless Penn State team as Frost tries to avoid going 0-3. What probably protects Frost the most is that he is the favorite son and was the QB for their disputed '97 championship team. How do you show that guy the door after only 3 years? The OC is in his first year so I wouldn't be shocked if they shuffle him on out the door if the offense doesn't get fixed in the remaining games. The DC came with Frost from UCF, but it doesn't feel like the defense has been the biggest problem. Like the next coach on the list, I think coordinators are more likely to get the axe at the end of the season, but only 3 weeks in I'm still trying to figure out which coordinators are to blame so the HC will hold the spot at least temporarily.
Penn State HC James Franklin (N/R). It's one thing to lose to an Indiana squad in OT that you out-gained by over 250 yards or to the death star that is Ohio State. It's another to get blown out by the Turtles. Franklin's job security isn't really in doubt - for now. He's done enough at Penn State to be able to write this off as a couple of bad games in a tough season without many questions asked. But he should probably win a game this year since if he gets to 0-9 it's not going to stay that way. Honestly I was unprepared for Penn State to lose this weekend and Franklin takes this spot as a place holder for his coordinators. If Penn State doesn't turn things around their coordinators will be fighting hard for the 3 spot in the rankings.
- Iowa HC Ferentz the Older (4). The current emperor of the Iowa dynasty probably isn't under any serious heat. After all his AD is Gary Barta who prefers not to do any work. I'm convinced Iowa's yes vote to continue playing football was because everything was already setup and cancelling would require Barta to do something. The big win and offensive explosion against MSU drops Ferentz's son (and heir to the empire) off the board this week, but Ferentz still has enough off field noise from 2020 that I can't fully justify dropping him off the list. I don't think there is enough there to lead to a firing by itself (or it would have already happened), but it has probably ate into some of the goodwill that Ferentz had with the fanbase and his boss. More wins will secure the empire but if losses stack up I could see fan patience disappearing quicker than most situations.
Coaches out of top 5 from last week:
Iowa OC Ferentz the Younger (3) - won & had an offensive explosion against Michigan State. Will continue to be watched to see if this was a one off occasion.Maryland HC Mike Locksley (5) - won & blew out Penn State. Safe for rest of year barring off-field issues since this is his 2nd year and he is way ahead of schedule. For a guy that came into Maryland known as a recruiter and poor coach he is doing well before his recruits even get into the program.
Others on the radar:
Purdue DC Bob Diaco (inactive), Minnesota DC Joe Rossi (out sick), Nebraska OC/DC, Penn State OC/DC
Programs with no coordinators or HC near hot seat: