Which head coaches could use a bowl game win? Who has the most pressure on to come up with a big victory with the spotlight on?
If you’re a head coach and you got your team to a bowl game, you probably did your job.
It’s why coaches, college presidents, and people who rely on happy fan bases like the idea of bowls more than one big, giant playoff. Everyone but one team finishes the season happy in a playoff.
In the bowl world, 37 teams outside of the College Football Playoff will get to hold up a trophy and give everyone warm-fuzzies going into the offseason.
The bowls are exhibitions, and they really don’t matter in the bigger scheme of sports things. It’s why coaches can skip them to go take on other jobs, and it’s why players with pro dreams can and should bail on them.
However, if you’re a head coach who came up with a disappointing season, need a boost to give everyone some positive vibes for the offseason, or needed got get bowling to get off a hot seat, winning is a must.
None of these seven coaches will be fired if they lose. But if they do, they’re going to have to hear about it for the next eight months, and the loss will change or define the narrative of everything that happened this season.
For these seven, everything overall is fine, but … win your bowl game.
7. Mario Cristobal, Oregon
It was a good year for Oregon. It wasn’t a Pac-12 Championship year, and it wasn’t anything too special, but it was an 8-4 run with a trip to a decent bowl game.
Considering that Willie Taggart left for Florida State, and the 35-year run of bowl games ended this season for the Noles, Oregon and Cristobal did just fine.
But the RedBox Bowl against Michigan State is going to become one of those moments for Cristobal to show whether or not he can take this team to another level when he has time to prepare.
Last year, Taggart left, the players stumped for Cristobal to be the head coach, and the Ducks came out and got their doors blown off by Boise State in the first half of the 38-28 Las Vegas Bowl loss.
There’s no dogging losing the 2015 season College Football Playoff National Championship to Ohio State, but the program has lost three straight bowl games going back to the 2015 Rose Bowl in the first ever CFP game.
The collapse and three-overtime loss to TCU in the 2016 Alamo turned out to be the beginning of the end of the Mark Helfrich era.
If Oregon wins, then Cristobal was able to beat Mark Dantonio and the program was able to get by the big bad Big Ten program that shows up for bowl games. Lose, and it’s a pedestrian 8-5 that closes with a thud.