Coaches On The Hot Seat: Won’t Get Fired, But … WIN NOW IN A BLOWOUT
5. David Shaw, Stanford
Didn’t you used to be Stanford?
The program that’s been a model of consistency under Shaw with nine wins ore more in eight of Shaw’s nine years has now turned into the Pac-12’s week off – hold my beer, Oregon State.
The defense battled well against Oregon, but the team was never in the 21-6 game. USC and UCF are good, but when they’re humming the Cardinal don’t give up 45 points to two teams with freshman quarterbacks just getting their feet wet.
Of course there’s no hot seat for Shaw – he’s a superstar in the midst of one mediocre year. But at least for now, blowing out the Beavers next week in Corvallis would be a huge plus with Washington coming up next.
With the Huskies, a suddenly-scary UCLA, Arizona, at Colorado, at Washington State, Cal, and Notre Dame still to play, this season could be a total disaster without a quick offensive spark.
4. Matt Luke, Ole Miss
He’s a true Ole Miss head coach, having played at the school and serving as a top assistant before finally getting the head coaching gig. But after the loss to Cal last week – even with the controversy at the end – he’s now 2-2 this season including an ugly loss at Memphis to kick things off.
The problem isn’t that he’s 2-2 or 13-15 in his career, it’s what’s coming.
There should be two more wins with Vanderbilt and New Mexico State on the slate, but at Alabama, at Missouri, Texas A&M, at Auburn, LSU and at Mississippi State. It’s going to be a fight to get to five wins, even though 4-8 is more likely.
3. Manny Diaz, Miami
NO NO NO, he’s obviously not on any sort of a typical hot seat. He’s here, though, because 1) the Canes are coming off a lousy performance against an awful team, and 2) there’s a big opportunity there for the taking, and the pressure is on over the next few games to grab it.
Everything is fine, but for a team with a loaded defense in a horrendous year in the ACC, this is the time to make a quick jump up and be in the mix for the conference championship. Meanwhile, it took everything in the bag to get by Central Michigan 17-12.
The Canes are still 27 miles behind Clemson, but the talent is there to quickly rise up and be the second-best team in the conference. The offensive line, though, has to figure something out FAST over the next two weeks.
Virginia Tech comes to Miami, and then Virginia comes to town. Win those two, and the team is in full control of the Coastal race. There’s no Clemson to deal with from the Atlantic, but going to Pitt and FSU on the road will be dangerous.
The schedule is as good as it can possibly be, and Diaz has to get his team up to take advantage of it.
2. Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
There aren’t any real expectations at this point for Tennessee, and then there were expectations.
It was the underground trendy thought last week that the Vols would come out with a nothing-to-lose performance on the road against what appeared to be an overrated and wounded Florida team.
The Gators won 34-3, the Vols ended up with 239 yards, and it was yet another game when the program looked and played like it wasn’t even remotely close to being ready for primetime.
And now they have to play Georgia at home, and they still have to play Alabama. However, the rest of the slate just isn’t that bad.
There will be one big performance along the way to give the fans a glimmer of hope, but first the team has two weeks before dealing with the Dawgs. It’s not going to be a fun time.
1. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
It’s the part of the narrative the Harbaugh bashers don’t want to acknowledge, but it’s possible that Wisconsin is just really, really, really good.
That’s probably true, but it’s not really the point. Losing 35-14 in Madison in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score wasn’t even the problem, either.
Michigan was beaten up on the lines, totally incompetent offensively until it was too late, and it was outclassed in every way.
Michigan is supposed to be the team that dominates the time of possession battle. Michigan is supposed to be able to force its will on the good teams on the slate – like it did for most of last year. Michigan is supposed to be feared and respected, and Wisconsin came in with a steamroller as it treated the Big Blue like Central Michigan.
This is still a very, very good team that could and should figure this out fast. The Rutgers game next week is tune-up time before hosting Iowa and going to Illinois – the wins should power back up.
They had better.