Coaches On The Hot Seat: Won’t Get Fired, But … WIN NOW
5. Kevin Sumlin, Arizona
BYU really was better than the 2017 version, with a stronger defense and a rejuvenated QB Tanner Mangum leading the offense. But this was supposed to be Kevin Sumlin’s big debut at home, with a cranked up offense run by one of the leaders in the Heisman chase.
Instead, Arizona turned Khalil Tate – one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football – into a deep shot-throwing bomber in a strange 28-23 home loss to start the Kevin Sumlin era.
The loss was bad, but it was the way the Wildcats were beaten – by themselves – that really stung. Tate only ran eight times for 14 yards, there wasn’t any payoff for all of the downfield heaves, and the O smacked of desperation throughout the game.
By the way, up the road, Herm Edwards and Arizona State destroyed UTSA.
4. Mike Bobo, Colorado State
The Colorado State head man gets a free pass after suffering a health scare just before the season started – he’s not going to get fired. However, after three straight 7-6 seasons, this wasn’t the start to the season he needed.
First, his Rams got ripped to shreds by Hawaii to open things up in a 43-34 loss, and then the offense didn’t work in a 45-13 loss to rival Colorado. And now, with Arkansas and Florida up next, they’re almost certainly going to start 0-4. Worse yet, along with facing Wyoming at home, there are still trips to Boise State, Nevada and Air Force still to deal with.
3. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
With three losing seasons in four years and a 39-34 record overall, the Kingsbury era hasn’t been a smooth ride so far. But this year, the defense came into the season with the talent and experience to be far better. And as always, the offense was supposed to be great.
To be fair, the O lost its starting quarterback early against Ole Miss, but the D didn’t pick up the slack, getting hit hard by the Rebels in the opening minutes of the 47-27 showcase game loss in Houston.
There won’t be any problems with Lamar up next, but with Houston, at Oklahoma State, West Virginia and at TCU to go through before the Kansas free space game, this might be a rocky first six weeks.
2. Tom Herman, Texas
For the second year in a row, Texas was outplayed and out-toughed by Maryland, especially in the key moments over the final few minutes.
The Longhorn offense couldn’t get the ground game going, and with three chances to potentially take the lead, they turned it over on three straight drives.
Tulsa shouldn’t be a problem next week, but USC and TCU come to Austin right after. And then? At Kansas State, and then the Oklahoma showdown.
Texas isn’t going to be 1-5 before hosting Baylor, but it’s hardly looking like a team tough enough or talented enough to go 5-1 during the stretch to make amends for the opener.
1. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
It’s not just that Michigan lost on the road once again to a good, ranked team.
It’s not just that Harbaugh lost another big game.
It’s the way it happened.
The defense was better than it will get credit for in the 24-17 loss to Notre Dame, and the offense actually outgunned the Irish, but yes, it was a loss, and it was on the road, and it was against a good, ranked team.
Making matters worse, the Wolverines stand alone.
Purdue lost in a Big Ten battle with Northwestern, and the Nebraska game was cancelled. Other than that, everyone else in the conference won. Just like every Big Ten team won its bowl game last season, except for Michigan.
If Harbaugh’s team lost 37-34 in a fun shootout, that might have been forgivable. It could’ve been chalked up to a game that could’ve gone either way, but at least the offense worked. Instead, the O was inept, there wasn’t any running game whatsoever, and now it’s uh-oh time.
Nebraska, at Northwestern, Maryland – now that looks nasty – Wisconsin, at Michigan State, Penn State. That’s all coming soon, and that doesn’t include a trip to Ohio State.