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College Football Predictions 2011: 10 Coaches Who Need to Win Now or Else

Tom PerryCorrespondent IApril 6, 2011

College Football Predictions 2011: 10 Coaches Who Need to Win Now or Else

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Can a college football coach really lose his job in April?

    Jim Tressel is trying to design the blueprint for it, but under normal circumstances they don't.

    Of course, a productive spring can help save a job in the future. But in the end, it comes down to results in the fall that matter.

    Some coaches more than others really need to win in 2011 to either save their job or get the pressure off.

    It's odd not to be writing about Rich Rodriguez, but here we go.

10. Derek Dooley, Tennessee

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    Adding Derek Dooley to this list is pretty unfair, but so is coaching in the SEC if you don't win.

    Dooley is unlikely to lose his job in 2011, but it just seems like Vols fans are sort of mixed on their support of Lane Kiffin's successor.

    He stepped into a tough situation last season and made the best of it. Dooley has the bloodlines, and if you read anything about spring camp, it appears he's fully engaged this year and that means things may finally start looking up in Knoxville—even in 2011.

    2010 Record: 6-7
    Projected 2011 Record: 7-6

9. Jeff Tedford, California

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Jeff Tedford has enjoyed some great wins and stellar seasons since arriving in Berkeley in 2002. He has a 72-42 overall record, which is impressive at Cal.

    However, last season was disappointing for the Bears fans.

    Many expected a down year, but a losing record and countless blowout losses made it tougher to swallow.

    Tedford is paid well and doesn't need a huge season to save his job. Another 5-7 season, though, and the "Fire Tedford" signs will become more visible.

    2010 Record: 5-7
    Projected 2011 Record: 8-5

8. Mark Richt, Georgia

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    It's that SEC football thing again.

    Expectations are through the roof and back-to-back lackluster seasons just won't cut it. Forget that Mark Richt did a fabulous job from 2001-08.

    Time for a reality check here, he did go 8-5 in 2009...so it has really just been one bad year.

    The key to success this season is the progression of quarterback Aaron Murray, who has unlimited potential.

    Richt is a fighter, and he won't have another down year.

    2010 Record: 6-7
    Projected 2011 Record: 10-3

7. Greg Schiano, Rutgers

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    It seems odd to think Greg Schiano is on this list, but as he enters his 11th season at Rutgers he still has a losing record.

    Just don't forget that he led them to five straight bowl games from 2005-09.

    His downfall may be his ego. Schiano has demanded stadium upgrades, along with other upgrades that have run into the millions. So there is a faction at the institution that wouldn't mind to see him fail and get pushed out.

    In the Big East anyone can bounce back quickly, but it won't happen this year for Rutgers.

    2010 Record: 4-8
    Projected 2011 Record: 4-8

6. Butch Jones, Cincinnati

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    Before Brian Kelly, a program like Cincinnati would not have panicked over a down season.

    But the now Bearcats expect to compete for a Big East championship every season, not drop to 4-8. Butch Jones will get the time needed to get back on track, all Cincinnati needs to do is give him time.

    Inconsistency and youth were the big reasons for the down year, but another 4-8 year will put him squarely on the hot seat for 2012.

    2010 Record: 4-8
    Projected 2011 Record: 6-6

5. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Dabo Swinney led the Tigers to the ACC Championship Game in 2009 and just pulled in one of the nation's best recruiting classes.

    All is well, right? Not so fast.

    With Rich Rodriguez, a former Clemson offensive coordinator, unemployed, the Tigers might be itching to make the switch if 2011 resembles anything like last year.

    2010 Record: 6-7
    Projected 2011 Record: 8-5

4. Paul Wulff, Washington State

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    On the surface, it appears Paul Wulff has a tremendous amount of support from the Washington State brass.

    Still, at some point they are going to expect results (even if they are baby steps).

    Wulff doesn't need to compete for a Pac-12 title in 2011, but being more competitive and adding two or three more wins should do it.

    2010 Record: 2-10
    Projected 2011 Record: 4-8

3. Dennis Erickson, Arizona State

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Wasn't Arizona State going to part ways with Dennis Erickson in 2010 if he didn't get them to a bowl game?

    Seems like a 6-6 record and no bowl appearance was good enough.

    To be fair, the Sun Devils were competitive and could have easily finished with nine wins.

    Erickson is a solid coach who will get it done in 2011.

    2010 Record: 6-6
    Projected 2011 Record: 9-4

2. Mike Locksley, New Mexico

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    How is Mike Locksley still coaching?

    Remember when he was considered a candidate for the Maryland job?

    You know other ACC coaches had to be laughing at the idea of him coaching at Maryland. It would be like SEC coaches welcoming Bill Stewart to coach at Ole Miss.

    A third straight 1-11 season would have to spell the end for Locksley.

    2010 Record: 1-11
    Projected 2011 Record: 1-11

1. Rick Neuheisel, UCLA

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    One year after making a bowl game, the wheels fell off for the Bruins.

    Rick Neuheisel has cleaned house, but will it be enough for the former Bruins quarterback to remain at his alma mater another season?

    He likely needs a winning season to remain relevant. Plus it's never good when Lane Kiffin has a better record.

    2010 Record: 4-8
    Projected 2011 Record: 6-7

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