Clemson's Dabo Swinney & the 10 CFB Coaches on the Hottest Seats to Start 2012
The postseason is almost over and the talk of who is on the hot seat is starting all over once again. Many coaches need a banner season in 2012 or else they could be looking for jobs in the near future.
A few programs are on the downslope and it could get ugly if this laundry list of coaches fail to live up to the expectations.
Dabo Swinney is one of these coaches that desperately needs to have a great season (play in a BCS bowl) after their humiliating 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the programs' first Orange Bowl since 1981.
So, without further ado, here is my list of the 10 coaches that are on the hot seat for next season.
Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Hopefully, Mrs. Dooley doesn’t read this because she won’t be a big fan. Dooley and the Vols are rocky bottom these days after failing to play in a bowl game for just the third time since 1989!
Tennessee is accustomed to winning SEC East Division titles, but they have been struggling miserably to stay healthy—let alone gain any confidence offensively.
Tennessee doesn’t land the five-star players like they were accustomed to when Fulmer could have run for president in the late '90s, but they haven’t gone broke, either. They have had some underrated NFL running backs and a few key pieces defensively that many BCS teams wished they had.
However, the dismissal of Janzen Jackson seemed to put this team back a few slots on defense, and they are catching zero breaks offensively.
If everybody would just stay healthy for most of the season, they would be much better off, but Dooley has quite the uphill battle.
They eventually need to defeat their rivals (0-4 and outscored by 59 points to UF and UGA), or else the Vols will be searching for answers, and that includes a new coach as well.
Randy Edsall, Maryland
Oh yes, despite just coaching for one season the Terps seem to be a little on the edge. It doesn’t help that they passed on a few other coaches—but hindsight is always 20-20.
The Terps must sneak into a bowl game or else they may be in need of another coach.
The ACC is vastly improved, but they must go to Morgantown in a brutal out-of-conference game next season to face West Virginia.
Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia will be tough road games in the ACC, but Florida State and Georgia Tech at home won’t be easy, either.
If he were to fall short of a postseason twice in a row (2-10 is as bad as it gets), there is a chance Terp Nation will kick him to the curb sooner rather than later.
Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Since taking over for Tom O’Brien in the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl, he has not dominated in the ACC like most of the faithful wanted.
Boston College had previously gone to 12 straight bowls, yet they could be on the verge of staying home for the holidays two years in a row.
The schedule is brutal once again, as the non-conference does no favors outside of a game against Maine. Northwestern and Notre Dame are on the schedule, but the ACC is rapidly improving thanks to the usual consistency of Virginia Tech and the emergence of Clemson.
If another losing season occurs in Chestnut Hill, then there would be no move other than to part ways.
Skip Holtz, USF
After defeating his father and his own alma mater (Notre Dame), many thought that the Bulls were destined for their very first BCS bowl. But the result ended up being the same that we have seen every season.
Expectations are huge in today’s sports and many were banking on the Bulls to become a national contender after their upset over the Irish.
BJ Daniels has a ton of talent, but he battled through some injuries and the offense was very inconsistent.
USF won just one game in the Big East and another losing season could put Holtz in danger territory.
George O’Leary, Central Florida
The Knights were coming off a tremendous victory over Georgia in the Liberty Bowl that capped off an 11-win season. Jeff Godfrey was returning at quarterback and some were expecting another double-digit season.
Instead, the wheels came off towards the end of the season. They hung around in nearly every game, but they were unable to finish them off. This is not the NHL, where you get credit for playing in overtime or close losses.
Six of their seven losses were by seven points of less, which makes it even tougher knowing what could have been. Although his contract does not expire until the 2014-2015 season, O’Leary quickly needs to regroup before it is too late.
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
The Red Raiders were pumped with the move of good ole Tommy, who once led the Auburn Tigers to a 13-0 season (2004).
Tuberville’s Red Raiders appeared in a bowl game (TicketCity) last season, which was their 11th straight bowl. A 5-7 season this past year was not what Lubbock had in mind. And this, of course, includes an upset over the Oklahoma Sooners on their own turf, where Oklahoma has only now lost three times the past decade.
Tech was often non-existent in other crucial games such as the home tilt against Oklahoma State, where they were blasted by nearly 100 points.
Throw in the fact he went 2-7 in the Big 12 and things will heat up hurry in the state of Texas. Though he is not scorching yet, he will be if he can’t take a solid squad to a bowl game next season.
Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Coach Hauck was the genius who led FCS Montana to a ridiculous 80-17 record through seven seasons, but his tenure is not starting out well in Vegas.
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but clearly 4-21 is not forgettable for the hometown crowd, many of whom thought they would be bowling by now.
Time is running out, despite what Hauck has accomplished in the past.
Robb Akey, Idaho
Many believe he will indeed be gone by this time next season—going 19-43 through five seasons is not ideal.
Idaho certainly does NOT have the type of budget to bring in a prime-time coach, but they would like to get the third bowl appearance in the Vandals' program history.
David Cutcliffe, Duke
The Dukies are miserable right now. Many thought Thaddeus Lewis was going to get them bowling a few years ago, but the change at quarterback was not successful. However, the QB position—along with their solid receivers—was arguably the least of their worries.
It was the defense once again. They had a miserable season, ranking 92nd and allowing 425 yards per contest.
Posting a 15-33 record isn’t completely awful by Duke standards, but they have been so close lately that higher expectations are setting in. After their 5-7 record in 2009, most thought that the world would finally rotate in favor of Duke.
However, their struggles are once again piling up, and it is unfortunate that a formerly successful SEC coach may not have enough ammo in the tank to survive.
Mike Riley, Oregon State
Based on their consistency, the Oregon State Beavers were once known as one of the top three programs in the Pac-12, winning eight or nine games a year on top of playing in a mid-tier bowl.
Riley is 72-63 through 11 seasons, though he has been abysmal of late, going just 8-16 the past two years. The Beavers have a brutal non-conference slate next season that includes BYU (Provo) and Wisconsin (Corvallis).
Though they avoid USC, they face Stanford and Washington and get the Ducks at home. That could be five losses right there out of 13 games (throwing in Nicholls State) without knowing how improved UCLA (Mora Jr.) or Washington State (Leach) could be.
It is never a joy to see classy guys like Riley forced out. However, he will no longer be a part of this program if he cannot find a way to improve upon their 99th-rated scoring offense and, more importantly, get back in the bowl conversation.
Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Dabo Swinney had an opportunity to officially shut up the naysayers by giving the program its first-ever BCS victory and their first Orange Bowl victory since 1981.
That was also the school's last national championship.
There will be that type of expectations in 2012. Sammy Watkins is arguably the best receiver in the country and the recruits are piling up to make Clemson one of the most talented teams in the nation.
They just won the ACC for the second time since 1988 and several experts will be picking them to win it again in 2012.
If they fall flat on their faces by starting off with a loss to Florida State, which could lead to a few more conference losses, then Dabo could be in a world of trouble.