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Big Ten Football Weekly Mailbag: Who’s the next coach to get fired?

Best coaches for their alma mater (hint: it’s not Fitz!), how many Big Ten East teams could win the West, and more:

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start this week with me answering a question instead of shitting on a random team (Indiana came up following a good spin of the wheel, for the record. Maybe some other time we’ll remember that you’re here for football too Hoosiers.)

Cericjo asked if any coaches have returned to the school they played for and been successful, and the answer to that is a resounding YES!

Following the 1931 season, Fritz Crisler left Minnesota to take over at Princeton and admire their helmets and never be seen in the B1G again (citation needed). Needing a replacement, the Gophers poached a former RB who played under Dr Henry L. Williams (the future namesake of Williams Arena) that was bumming around in the college football backwaters of the future SEC and had won 3 Southern Conference titles in a row at then-football power Tulane from 1929 to 1931.

Would that success in a swamp translate to doing well back home? You bet your sweet ass it would. 5 national titles in 8 years after answering mama’s call is a record unmatched in the B1G. The fact that the B1G’s coach of the year trophy doesn’t have his name on it is abject bullshit and the rest of those losers who aren’t fit to polish his jumpwings should be dug up, reanimated, and forced to feel shame for this utter disgrace that they’re associated with. The only reason he stopped walloping the shit out the B1G was because he served his country to coach football to future pilots during WWII, thus becoming the only person to leave Minnesota for Iowa and have a perfectly legitimate reason to do so.

So here’s to you, Bernie Bierman. The best coach in B1G history and the only player to return and successfully coach his team that I can be bothered to care about right now.

Look at this goddamn pimp

2nd place is probably Pat Fitzgerald. ON TO THE QUESTIONS!


Thumpasaurus: Ray Eliot won a national title at Illinois after World War 2 having played there under renowned painter Bob Zuppke.

misdreavus79: This week in “someone asks a question misdreavus can’t answer because Penn State has had three coaches in the past 60 years,” misdreavus goes ahead and reminds everyone that Penn State has had 3 coaches in the past 60 years!

Is Nebraska or Wisconsin a better job for a prospective head coach? - badgers & Bruins

HWAHSQB: Red team with unrealistic expectations. Spiderman pointing at spiderman.gif

BoilerUp89: Before the season I would have said wisconsin. Now, I’m thinking Nebraska has slightly more realistic expectations for their level of resource commitment.

MNW: It’s wisconsin, but only just barely because they still have time to pull themselves out of the “turning into Nebraska” tailspin.

Look, there are some very real reasons to fire Paul Chryst, the recruiting angle in particular. It doesn’t seem like the guy had a passion for it, and you can’t be 2012 Bill Carmody anymore in this game:

misdreavus79: It depends. If we’re talking about the immediate future, it’s Wisconsin. They have a system, and the players to get that system working. A coach can use that and have immediate success. Nebraska, on the other hand, has the resources to mitigate its location disadvantage the way Wisconsin doesn’t. So longterm, a coach that can, you know, coach, could turn Nebraska into whatever version of a good program is realistic for Nebraska in god’s year 2022, where was Wisconsin may have that figurative ceiling over them.

To borrow from He was a high school quarterback’s idea, pick new homes for the other coaches in your division via a game of semi-controlled musical chairs - WSR

BoilerUp89: Brian Ferentz becomes head coach of wisconsin. Bert goes to Minnesota (he must complete the Iowa rivals circuit). Jim O’Neil takes the Nebraska job. Mike Bajakian to Iowa (don’t want to confuse them too much). PJ to Northwestern. Ron English goes to Illinois. And Ryan Walters goes to Purdue. You never said they had to be current head coaches.

MNW: Everyone just move one job counterclockwise: Fleck to Nebraska, Frost to Iowa, Ferentz to Illinois, Bert to Purdue, Brohm to Northwestern, Fitz to wisconsin, Chryst to Minnesota. Repeat this every year until you have concluded the cycle.

You should find that there is effectively no difference. They’re all just...awful.

misdreavus79: I second the “just shuffle them sequentially.” Let’s go with alphabetical order for the East. So Locksley to Michigan, Harbaugh to Michigan State, Tucker to Ohio State, Day to Penn State, Franklin to Rutgers, Schiano to Indiana, Allen to Maryland.

Who’s the next west head coach to leave? Will any more coaches be fired in-season? Atinat and IWasSayingBoo-Urns I guess

HWAHSQB: Fleck is going to go to one of the red teams that needs a coach making both Minnesota fans and the red team fans that gets him both miserable.

BoilerUp89: To leave? Probably Brohm. Fleck is too weird - that narrows his options a little. Kirk and Fitz aren’t going anywhere. Bert won’t go for the SEC again. So that leaves Brohm and Louisville might open up this fall. breaks down sobbing

Thumpasaurus: Brohm had a chance to leave Purdue for Louisville already, I’m not sure why things would be different now.

BoilerUp89’s rebuttal: He didn’t leave last time because he thought it would be shitty to leave after one season and leave Purdue with nothing after they trusted him to revive their program.

MNW: Man, if he does that just to go be second banana at a different basketball school...that’s a helluva choice, man.

I don’t know that we do see any other axings this season: wisconsin will ride it out with Leonhard, Mickey Joseph has to be almost out of coordinators he can fire, Illinois is doing fine, and Fleck can’t blame-fire his defensive coordinator juuuust yet.

That leaves three. I genuinely do not know who coaches at Purdue other than Jeff Brohm, and I’d like to keep it that way. Please do not inform me in the comments.

And the other two? Fitz and Ferentz, with all the job security in the world and no one to hold them accountable, appear actively gleeful to go 4-8 in 2022 just to make a goddamn point that these are their coaches, this is their model, and you sit there and write that down, you fucking nerd. They will not admit they are wrong until after the season is done and, only then, they can quietly reassign the coaches to a different role a la the 2010s Minnesota Twins.

misdreavus79: I don’t think any other coach leaves at season’s end or beforehand. Assistants? That’s a different question.

And how far down the B1G East standings do you go before you hit a team that WOULDN’T be favored to win the West this season? - Bad Pseudonym

HWAHSQB: I think Illinois would be favored to win the East, so zero. (WSR Note: I love you.)

BoilerUp89: This is a trap. I won’t answer.

MNW: Three. Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State would win it easily. The rest can sit and spin; they’re mediocre crabs in the bucket just like the rest of us.

misdreavus79: I want to say Maryland. My answer would be more confident if this question were asked next week. Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan for sure. Michigan State, Rutgers, and Indiana obviously not (even though Indiana has the tiebreaker on Illinois), so yeah, Maryland is the only wildcard here. Maybe Illinois will give Michigan a better game than Maryland did? We’ll find out!

What is the average number of wins per year that would keep your coach secure and the fans happy? - Free Beer Tomorrow

HWAHSQB: I think every fanbase will always want more. I could say win 6 games per year and Illinois will build you a statue, but that would keep the fans satisfied for about 5 years and then we’d be looking for the coach that would give us 8.

BoilerUp89: Probably 7.

MNW: And the fans happy? 6. Bowl eligibility, so the gray-hairs get an extra game of ESPN saying “They’re really smart and they play football! They can do two things!”

misdreavus79: 10