The College Football Coaches Who Will Have the Most to Prove in 2013
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The 2013 college football season is shaping up to be a very important year for a few well-known head coaches.
There are certain coaches that will be facing plenty of pressure for a variety of different reasons, and they'll have to make sure that their teams show noticeable improvement next season.
Here's a look at the 10 head coaches that will have the most to prove in 2013.
Lane Kiffin, USC
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No college football team received the same amount of media attention and national publicity as USC did last summer.
The Trojans were hailed as the best team in the Pac-12 and one of the top national title contenders in the country. They started off the season ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll and No. 3 in the Coaches' Poll.
Ultimately, though, Lane Kiffin's squad failed to live up to its preseason hype, and it turned out to be the most disappointing team in the country.
USC finished just 7-6 and ended the year with a listless and embarrassing performance in a loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.
Following the let down performance in 2012, the pressure is now on Kiffin to make sure he gets his team to perform up to the standards that his former mentor Pete Carroll set at USC.
If Kiffin wants to keep his job, it seems like the Trojans will have to win at least 10 games and make it to the Pac-12 championship game. If they don't, there's certainly no guarantee that he'll be back in 2014.
Steve Sarkisian, Washington
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Lane Kiffin's close friend, Steve Sarkisian, is another coach that will have to deal with "hot seat" chatter this offseason.
When Sarkisian arrived at Washington following the 2008 season, there was a lot of buzz about how he was going to restore the program and turn the Huskies into a conference contender.
After four years, however, Sarkisian has an overall record of just 26-25 and he has just one bowl victory on his resume.
The supposed quarterback guru failed to develop Jake Locker into the star signal-caller that many thought he would be, and he stood by and watched as Keith Price regressed last season.
After three straight seven-win seasons, it's time for Sarkisian and Washington to either put up or shut up in 2013.
Mack Brown, Texas
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Texas totaled double-digit wins in every single season from 2001 through 2009, and the Longhorns were routinely ranked as one of the top 10 teams in the country during that time frame.
Over the last three years, however, the team has not looked like the same powerhouse that we were accustomed to seeing during that dominant decade.
Mack Brown's squad certainly hasn't lacked talent in recent years, but the Longhorns have seemed to lack the proper motivation and discipline it takes to compete for championships.
When you're a coach who has an annual salary of over $5 million, you're expected to consistently have your team competing for conference titles and BCS bowl berths. But Brown simply hasn't been able to do that over the last three years.
Brown will once again have enough talent at his disposal to lead Texas to a Big 12 title in 2013.
He better not waste it again.
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
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There was a point in the 2012 season when West Virginia was actually 5-0 and ranked in the top five of both major polls. However, the Mountaineers quickly faded from the national spotlight, as they took one of the biggest tumbles of any team in the country.
Dana Holgorsen remembers it well. He remembers the frustrating five-game losing streak, which included embarrassing blowout losses to Texas Tech, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
West Virginia fans remember it well, too. They remember just how pitiful the defense looked all year long. They also remember how awful the entire team looked in those blowout defeats, as well as in the Pinstripe Bowl against Syracuse.
The Mountaineers' first season in the Big 12 turned out to be a big bust. Unfortunately, it's not going to be easy to improve next season after losing the likes of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
Holgorsen certainly has his work cut out for him in 2013.
Winning the Big East and the Orange Bowl in his first year helped the coach instantly gain the respect of the fans. But they're not going to tolerate many more embarrassing blowout losses like the ones they witnessed this past season.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
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Remember back in 2009 when Iowa went 11-2 and beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl?
It was only a few years ago, but it seems like much longer, considering the way the Hawkeyes have steadily declined over the last three seasons.
The team followed up an 8-5 record in 2010 with a less impressive 7-6 record in 2011. But things got much worse in 2012, as Iowa finished with a 4-8 overall record, which included just two wins over Big Ten teams.
Coach Kirk Ferentz, the highest paid employee in the state of Iowa, is now starting to feel the heat following that disastrous campaign.
Ferentz is one of the longest tenured head coaches in college football, having coached at Iowa since 1999. However, since putting together three-straight double-digit win seasons from 2003 to 2005, he has an overall record of just 58-44 over the last eight years.
If the Hawkeyes don't have a big bounce back performance next season, it wouldn't be surprising if 2013 turns out to be Ferentz's last year in Iowa City.
Randy Edsall, Maryland
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Three—That's the number of games Maryland has won against ACC opponents during Randy Edsall's first two years as head coach. The Terrapins haven't fared much better against out-of-conference competition either, as they've also won just three games against non-conference opponents as well.
Edsall's 6-18 overall record sure is ugly, and it's why he'll enter the 2013 season under tremendous pressure to guide his team to a winning season and a bowl berth.
Although Edsall deserves a lot for credit for the way he was able to build Connecticut into a viable BCS program, he better not expect Maryland fans to have the same type of patience that he was afforded during his time in Storrs.
Mike Leach, Washington State
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When Mike Leach was announced as the new head coach at Washington State last offseason, fans were excited to see what effect he would have on the team's offense, given his track record at Texas Tech.
Well, not only did the offense not make any type of improvement in Leach's first year; it actually got a whole lot worse.
The Cougars went from averaging 29 points and 424 yards per game in 2011 to averaging just 20 points and 354 yards per game in 2012.
Yes, some growing pains were to be expected. But it's easy to see why fans would be frustrated, especially when you throw in the fact that Washington State finished the season just 3-9, which included a home loss to a 1-11 Colorado team.
There's no reason to believe that Leach won't be able to turn around the program in the years to come. But obviously, everyone around Pullman is going to want to see a much better effort and much more consistent performances from the Cougars in 2013.
Leach has been built up to be one of college football's smartest and most innovative offensive minds. Now it's time for him to live up to his reputation.
Tim Beckman, Illinois
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During Tim Beckman's final season at Toledo in 2011, the Rockets ranked in the top 10 nationally in both total offense and scoring offense, averaging 42 points and 481 yards per game.
In Beckman's first season at Illinois in 2012, well, let's just say the offense wasn't as effective. In fact, the Illini offense was basically nonexistent, ranking 122nd in the nation in both scoring offense and total offense.
The offense's putrid performance was the main reason the team finished just 2-10 in 2012. Obviously, Beckman's got plenty of work to do this offseason, trying to correct all of the problems that are plaguing the unit.
Losing is one thing. But when a team loses by an average score of 32-16, that reflects very poorly on a head coach, as it shows that he just doesn't have his team ready to compete.
Charlie Weis, Kansas
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Charlie Weis has three Super Bowl rings from his time spent as the offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots. However, since he left the organization after the 2004 season, he hasn't tasted much success.
Weis has largely been a failure at the collegiate level.
In his final three seasons at Notre Dame, the Irish went just 16-21, which resulted in him getting fired.
In his one season spent as Florida's offensive coordinator, the Gators ranked 105th nationally in total offense.
Still, that didn't stop Kansas from hiring Weis to be the team's head coach.
It's a move that school officials probably now regret after watching the Jayhawks go 1-11 in Weis' first season.
Admittedly, Kansas wasn't exactly stockpiled with a lot of talent in 2012. But no fan base is going to be happy with a coach that fails to beat any of the FBS opponents on his team's schedule.
Kansas fired Turner Gill after just two seasons, and he at least had five wins. Thus, it seems at the very least, Weis will have to total at least four wins in 2013 in order to keep his job.
Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
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The first two seasons of the Paul Pasqualoni era at Connecticut haven't exactly been all that memorable. The Huskies have gone 5-7 and missed the postseason in both years.
It's no secret why the team has struggled under Pasqualoni's watch.
The offense has been downright awful.
This past season, Connecticut ranked last in the Big East in both scoring offense, total offense and rushing offense, averaging just 17 points and 318 yards per game.
No fan wants to pay to go see a team score 17 points, which is why the Huskies' average home attendance was reportedly down five percent in 2012.
If Pasqualoni can't solve the offense's problems, and if he can't guide the Huskies to the postseason in 2013, he'll almost certainly be out of a job.