3. Welcome back to high expectations for all coaches
It was one of those weird philosophical things that mattered in some places and not others.
The thought was that coaches were going to get a bit of a break in the COVID year. Cash-starved schools weren’t going to want to deal out the bad paper of a buyout, and there was also a thought that coaches were being asked to do the impossible just by fielding a team of healthy players.
It didn’t really work like that.
College football coaches don’t know squat about infectious diseases – or anything other than coaching football, actually – and yet many had no idea what they were dealing with personnel-wise week-in-and-week-out.
Even harder was the preparation.
How do you get ready for a team that might be missing 25 guys, but might not, and you don’t know which players they’d be, and it was a mess for the coaches.
You can’t blame – for example – Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst for a mediocre season when his team got lit up by the virus after Week 1. You shouldn’t have blamed, say, Gus Malzahn for a mediocre record when his team had to play an all-SEC schedule and didn’t get the normal non-conference warm-up games.
Chryst was and is more than secure, but Malzahn got whacked by Auburn just like 2020 was a normal college football season.
While some places – Penn State, Michigan, Kansas, Nebraska, Syracuse, Texas Tech – didn’t mess with a big coaching change despite disappointing-to-miserable campaigns, others – Illinois, Vanderbilt, Texas, South Carolina, Arizona – had no problem moving on.
This year, though, expect any and all grace periods to stop.
Coaches get fired when they don’t win, be even more when losing leads to a lack of ticket sales. No ticket sales, no revenue, no non-revenue sports, no bloated athletic departments.
Last year, obviously, ticket sales didn’t matter. They sure as shoot will this year, and if a coach isn’t winning and – assuming things are kinda sorta kosher again – there aren’t butts in seats, there will be a whole lot of changes being made.
And now to the interesting stuff …