***DISCLAIMER*** BoilerUp89 does not wish unemployment upon anyone and asks that you remember these coaches are real people with a family. Watching the performance of some of these coaches is inappropriate for young children and all viewers watch their games at their own risk.
***TRIGGER WARNING*** This article contains facts that may make Nebraska fans upset.
With just 4 weeks of college football left, athletic directors around the country are starting to put together their college football To Do lists for the end of the season. Some need to fire a head coach or coordinator, some need to raise money for an obscene buyout, some need to figure out how to replace their coach that will be hired by LSU. Luckily the B1G includes all of these categories which means OTE will have a busy coaching carousel season filled with articles, comments, and clicks. As MNWildcat would say, “Remember to read OTE and eat Culvers!”
B1G Football 2021 Coaching Hot Seats Week 10
It’s been two weeks since we last checked in on our B1G coaches and coordinators and quite a bit has changed. Wisconsin’s Joe Rudolph was highly motivated after being featured in the previous article and I’m pretty sure his Badgers offense is still running for yards against Purdue even though that game ended over a week ago. Rutgers won a conference game! Illinois proved they are better than Penn State! And most importantly Scott Frost has provided the B1G universe with some great stats.
More on Scott Frost in a minute, but first this is your reminder that you can still participate in our deadpool competition. Details on how to play can still be found in this previous post. There is one change in the rules I’m going to introduce and I apologize for doing so mid-competition. I’m going to reduce the the amount of time that a pick must be made before a firing from 1 full week to 4 days. That will allow everyone to make picks the final week of the season (if there hasn’t been a firing in conference by then), and allow them to still pick Nebraska’s coaches. Current entries to the deadpool are as follows:
06Lion - Matt Barnes Oct 31 at 4:09 AM?
Atinat - Matt Barnes Oct 25 at 10:21 AM
BoilerUp89 - Matt Lubick Nov 29 at 9:36AM
greenie71 - Scott Frost Oct 3 2:00 PM
HeWasAHSQB - Scott Frost Nov 29
Hollywood Hawk Hogan - Jim O’Neil in the library with Pat Fitzgerald’s leg cast at 4:20 pm on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (This is my favorite pick so far)
HoustonBoiler - Nick Sheridan Nov 28 11:00 AM
HusCat - Scott Frost the day after the Iowa game
IronMonkee - Mike Sanford Oct 24 10:00 AM
LandofSkyBlueWatersGopher - Mike Sanford Oct 31 noon
rich52K - O’Neill Dec 1
The JRod - Scott Frost Oct 30 between 6-8 pm
TheNate - Lubick in the shower with a text at 10:22pm on Oct 30th
whersmyelephant - Tony Peterson Oct 11
If I missed someone let me know. Those of you that have seen time pass your pick by, can make a different one. or stick with it. Anyone can make a different pick or stick with it. I should note that Atinat, greenie71, and IronMonkee no longer have picks that can win as other users have the same names and dates closer to the present despite also being in the past.
Scott Frost Stats from his Nebraska tenure:
- Scott Frost has only 1 more win against B1G teams at Nebraska than Charlie Weis did in 5 seasons at Notre Dame. Reminder for those of you who have forgotten, but Notre Dame does not play a full B1G schedule.
- Scott Frost is 5-18 in one score games at Nebraska (0-6 this season).
- Scott Frost through 41 games: 15-26. Tim Brewster through 41 games: 15-26.
- Scott Frost is 1-6 coming off bye weeks (0-4 coming off scheduled byes) (0-1 this year).
- In 25 seasons, Tom Osborne lost 23 conference games. Scott Frost has lost 22 so far in less than 4 full seasons. This week (assuming he doesn’t get fired before the game), he gets the chance to tie Osborne when he plays Ohio State.
- Number of bowl games as a B1G head coach: Tim Brewster - 2, Danny Hope - 2, Lovie Smith - 1, Randy Edsall - 1, Bill Lynch -1, Scott Frost - 0.
- Scott Frost’s top 11 wins at Nebraska against Power 5 teams:
- 2018 Michigan State (7-6, 5-4 in B1G play)
- 2018 Minnesota (7-6, 3-6 in B1G play)
- 2019 Illinois (6-7, 4-5 in B1G play)
- 2020 Penn State (4-5)
- 2018 Illinois (4-8, 2-7 in B1G play)
- 2020 Rutgers (3-6)
- 2021 Northwestern (currently 3-5, 1-4 in B1G play)
- 2020 Purdue (2-4)
- 2019 Maryland (3-9, 1-8 in B1G play)
- 2019 Northwestern (3-9, 1-8 in B1G play)
- ERROR! FILE NOT FOUND.
That’s it. Three wins over bowl bound teams - the best just a 7 win team, the others only 6-6 teams in the regular season. Only one win against a P5 team that finished above .500 in conference play. Zero non-conference wins against P5 teams. All of this despite recruiting the best in the B1G West.
The Hot Seat Rankings:
Buyouts and years left on contracts are roughly at the end of the season. Technically some contracts change in December and some in January.
1. Indiana Hoosiers OC Nick Sheridan (previously 2). 2nd season. Salary - $500k. Years left on contract - 0?. Buyout at end of season - $0?.
It feels a little harsh moving Sheridan up to the #1 spot following a points explosion against Maryland. The 4 TDs by the offense against the Terrapins doubled the Hoosiers offensive output from the entirety of the conference season so far. That’s good, but also truly concerning that they had only 2 offensive TDs in the first 4 conference games of the season. Even beyond the lack of offense this season - which is reason enough for Sheridan to get the axe - the Hoosiers are the last of the winless teams in B1G conference play. Rutgers has a conference win! Northwestern has a conference win! Nebraska have one! Illinois has two! You can’t be the worst team in the conference and not have to make coaching changes. Indiana may not finish last in the conference (I think they will beat Rutgers, although that’s a lot more of a tossup than I thought it would be preseason) but the probability that things turn around enough for Sheridan to keep his job at the end of the season is low. The offense has been abysmal, it costs Indiana nothing financially to move on, the fanbase wants to move on, and there have been no bright spots on the offense this season. I don’t think Indiana makes the move early as an outside hire is the right way to go and they don’t want an internal candidate to look good for a few games. Next up: Hoosiers face a Michigan team coming off a late letdown against the Spartans. A loss eliminates Indiana from bowl contention.
2. Northwestern Wildcats DC Jim O’Neil (previously 1). 1st season. Salary - PRIVATE SCHOOL DOLLARS. Years left on contract - PRIVATE SCHOOL YEARS. Buyout at end of season - PRIVATE SCHOOL DOLLARS.
The past two weeks have seen Northwestern give up 33 and 41 points to the Wolverines and Gophers. Michigan had 457 yards and Minnesota 442 including 300+ on the ground despite having to resort to giving a walk-on LB carries at RB. O’Neil will get his very own deep dive in next two weeks, but the short version is that O’Neil moves down a spot because I’m uncertain that Fitzgerald will actually pull the plug and I’m uncertain of what his buyout is since Northwestern doesn’t reveal this information to us peasants. Maybe I should get one of their butlers to steal the information for me. Any Iowa fans interested in making a trade? I’ll give you David Bell to the NFL next year in exchange for information on O’Neil’s contract. Northwestern has a manageable schedule down the stretch here so O’Neil could still eke out enough results to save his job. Next up: Northwestern faces a depressed Iowa team whose offense has been held to 7 points in back to back games.
3. Nebraska Cornhuskers OC Matt Lubick (previously 3). 2nd season. Salary - $500k. Years left on contract - 1. Buyout at end of season - $500k.
Nebraska fell to 3-6 with a 399 yard/4 turnover performance against the Boilermakers. The yard total was nice, although 94 of those were on Nebraska’s last drive of the game with Purdue in a prevent defense. But 4 interceptions by a senior QB is unacceptable. At some point Frost or Lubick or somebody has to coach and develop Martinez. It hasn’t happened and someone on the staff is going to be held accountable. Lubick’s offense stayed on the field for just 21:22 - note that Purdue isn’t exactly killing the clock with their running game. With only 3 games left (against teams that are certainly better than Nebraska), the Cornhuskers face what seems a likely 3-9 outcome. Even if Nebraska AD Alberts can’t find the money to fire Frost, he can move on from Lubick. Next up: the death star looks to make an impression against Lubick’s home planet of Alderaan.
4. THE Ohio State Buckeyes DC Matt Barnes [de facto DC, de jure DB coach] (previously 4). 1st season as DB coach. Salary - 450k. Years left on contract - 1*.
Apparently Illinois’s defense is better than the Buckeyes. Reminder than Illinois held Penn State to just 18 points (only 10 in regulation). The Buckeyes gave up 24 points. Ohio State is a talented team but they are going to be obliterated by Georgia in the CFP if they can’t do better than that. An interim DC isn’t going to keep his job unless everyone has warm, fuzzy feelings at the end of the season. Barnes is the last of the guys I’m convinced are almost certainly gone at the end of the season, although as an interim coordinator that doesn’t reflect on his abilities too much. *Barnes’s contract details are as a DB coach. Next up: Ohio State tries to slow down Adrian Martinez’s great pass chucking ability.
5. Nebraska Cornhuskers HC Scott Frost (previously 5). 4th season. Salary - $5M. Years left on contract - 4. Buyout at end of season - $20M.
Scott Frost is done, it’s just a matter of whether the penalty is carried out this year or next. Scroll back up and read those Scott Frost stats if you aren’t convinced. Scott Frost is 5th on this list for one and only one reason. The giant buyout. If I was the Nebraska AD though, I would consider that money as lost though. Scott Frost will get that money whether you fire him at the end of this season or wait until next season. So what Nebraska is really deciding is whether they spend the extra money to bring in another coach this offseason. I’d estimate $4.5M for a head coach + $2M assistant pool + $1M buyouts of existing contracts. I’m guessing the cornfields of Nebraska are able to harvest the cash between now and the end of the season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Frost let go after the OSU bloodbath as they have another bye week coming up at that point. Next up: Ohio State and a possible mid-season firing.
Others to Watch:
Michigan Wolverines HC Jim Harbaugh - Jim falls to one of his rivals again. Up 16 points in the middle of the third quarter, Harbaugh looked poised to secure his job for another year. Instead, trouble with a snap - WHOA! - led to a fumble and the Spartans pulled off the comeback. Harbaugh falls to 3-9 against Michigan’s two rivals. Let me very clear: Jim Harbaugh is a pretty solid coach. His overall record is one that many in the B1G would love to have. But for Michigan fans that remember the 90s, I don’t know that a good but not great team is enough for them. I also feel like Michigan fans will look at Georgia (Mark Richt) and Ohio State (John Cooper) instead of Nebraska (Frank Solich/Bo Pelini) as their examples. The Wolverines have boosters with enough money to make a change happen and Harbaugh’s contract is more manageable to buyout than in the past. If Harbaugh loses to Penn State and Ohio State, I wouldn’t be surprised if Harbaugh was either let go or back next season. I could see the argument for either one. Next up: Wolverines play a reeling Hoosiers team that is the last winless B1G team in conference play.
Illinois Fighting Illini OC Tony Petersen - The Illini offense is not good. But the win against Penn State is probably going to buy Petersen enough good will to bring him back for 2022. When he will have lost his entire offensive line. And still won’t have a QB. RIP thumpasaurus’s 2022 liver. Against PSU, the Illini offense ran for 357 yards, entertained us for 9 OTs, and threw for 38 yards. Against Rutgers the offense only managed 107 yards on the ground, forcing Brandon Peters to try to lead the offense thru the air. First year coordinators under first year head coaches typically don’t have to accomplish too much to keep their job. Petersen seems to have cleared that low hurdle even if he’s scraped it on his way over. Next up: B1G West leaders Minnesota.
Northwestern Wildcats OC Mike Bajakian - Rejoining the watch list portion of the rankings this week is Bajakian. I think there have been enough injuries/lack of personnel for Bajakian to work with this year that he will get a pass for an off year following last year’s trip to Indy. But consider the points put up by Northwestern in B1G play this season: 21, 7, 21, 7, 14. Northwestern is dead last in points scored among B1G teams (although Illinois has played one more game and is only 6 points in front of them) and third to last if we only consider conference games (although 70 isn’t all that much better than Rutgers’ 66 and Indiana’s 63 considering they play in a more difficult division). With games against Wisconsin and Iowa still remaining things could still get worse too.
Dear Minnesota fans, I’d like to point out that so far I was right in not adding Mike Sanford to this list. Minnesota is now leading the division by a full game and has put out back to back performances of 34+ points despite being on their 5th string running back now.
Moving off the watch list:
Wisconsin Badgers OC Joe Rudolph - Rudolph responded to being listed on the hot seat watch list by putting together 30 and 27 point outings. Sure Mertz has only thrown for a total of 156 yards and 1 touchdown in those two games, but he’s had 0 interceptions and honestly Badger football is handing it off to the running back not airing it out. Congrats to Rudolph to playing to his teams strengths. Not really sure why it took him so long to figure it out, but he did and the Badgers once again have a good shot of heading to Indy to lose.
Head Coaches That Will Be Safe After 3 Wins:
After 6 Wins:
- Penn State, Maryland, Purdue, Nebraska (probably not happening)
Coaches that have reached safe threshold for 2021 (barring scandal):
Michigan State HC, OC, DC
Rutgers HC, OC, DC
Iowa HC, OC, DC
Minnesota HC, DC
Wisconsin HC, DC
Ohio State HC, OC
Illinois HC, DC