Fall Football Preview: College Coaches on Hot Seat
by Trevor Whenham - 7/30/2009
As a bettor it's not always clear whether the hot seat is a productive place for a coach to be or not. In some cases, the pressure can motivate the coach to raise his efforts to a new level, and push the team to save the job of a guy they like. In other cases the situation can cause the team to quit listening to the coach and can make things pretty awful. Either way, the coach on a hot seat can create exciting betting opportunities if you can properly read how a team will react. As we get ready for another season of college football, here's a look at six guys who come into the season likely fighting for their professional lives:
Mike Stoops, Arizona - After last season the administration at Arizona expressed its love for Stoops and extended him through 2013. It was a nice gesture, but I really, really don't buy the sincerity of it. Stoops wound up at 8-5 last year and earned a surprising bowl win against a dispirited BYU team. That was his first winning season in five years with the program, though, and he's still got a dismal 24-33 lifetime record with the team. Arizona isn't one of the true elite programs in the country, but they have been very solid at times in the past, and they hired Stoops with the expectation that they would be a real factor again in the future. That hasn't happened, and I don't see the school remaining tolerant of Stoops, no matter who his brother is, if he doesn't take another step forward this year.
Charlie Weis, Notre Dame - Weis has been all kinds of disappointing in his time in Notre Dame. This year his biggest problem could be the expectations he faces. His team has a laughably easy schedule this year, and many people expect him to lead the Irish through that schedule and into the polls and perhaps even the BCS. If he doesn't do that, and especially if he loses a couple of games that he really has no excuse for losing, then things could really get hot under Weis' very ample seat.
Bobby Bowden, Florida State - Bowden is a coaching legend, but he is unquestionably one who is way past his expiration date. He's more of a figurehead than a real coach these days, and under his watch in recent years the team has become uncompetitive on the field, and a repeated disgrace off of it. He's coming off of an academic scandal, and he hasn't been relevant nationally in far too long. It's well past the point that he should have recognized reality and stepped aside for himself. If he doesn't have a Paterno-esque resurgence this year then the school may be forced to find a way to help hm make the decision to retire whether he wants to or not.
Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville - Kragthorpe may have done the worst job in the country of taking over a team. He took over a team that was consistently impressive under Bobby Petrino, and in just two years he has run it into the ground. Growing pains are inevitable in a transition, but what is inexcusable is the way that Kragthorpe has behaved. Instead of owning the problems himself and resolving to do something about them, the coach has blamed everyone around him for what has gone wrong, and he has done it publicly. He's bashed his players, questioned his caching staff, blamed officials, accused Petrino of leaving problems behind, and generally been ridiculous. Kragthorpe needs to become a better man in a real hurry or his next gig will be coaching at a community college somewhere.
Bill Stewart, West Virginia - Stewart is only in his second full year at West Virginia, and he didn't take over in the best of circumstances, but he's still on shaky ground. Last year he had one of the top college quarterbacks in the country, his lineup was packed with talent, the team was coming off an impressive season, and he played in a vulnerable conference. He should have been contending for a national championship, but instead he lost four games, including two non-conference losses to teams that weren't even remotely of the same caliber. It seemed odd that Stewart got the job in the first place because he hardly seemed suited to the position. Unless he quickly turns things around this year West Virginia might have another shot to get the hire right.
Randy Shannon, Miami - Over the last decade or two we have come to think of Miami as a football factory. They win tough games, often contend for national championships, and they turn out first round picks at a phenomenal rate. Under Shannon they have done none of those things. The Hurricanes haven't been particularly competitive under the coach after winning a national championship under his predecessor. More significantly, Shannon has fallen behind in recruiting, and is far from the top destination for Florida high schoolers anymore. In fact, they are hard pressed to out-recruit South Florida anymore. Miami fired Larry Coker after he went 60-15 at the school, so you can't imagine that they'll stick with Shannon for long unless he improves significantly on his 12-13 career mark.
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