As we approach the two-month mark to the start of the 2016 college football season, let’s take a look at all the Big 12 coaches, and whose seat is the hottest. We will start with the warmest seat and work our way down to the untouchables who won’t get fired (barring some kind of Bobby Petrino-esque scandal).
1. Texas Longhorns, Charlie Strong: I don’t think it’s fair that Strong’s seat is as hot as it appears to be. But, that’s life with the Longhorns. Unfortunately, Jim Harbaugh’s nearly instant success at Michigan has not helped Strong’s cause. After going 6-7 in Year 1, Strong went 5-7 in Year 2. There has to be a drastic improvement in Year 3, think 8-4 plus a decent bowl showing to stay safe. I believe 7-5 does it if there is improvement from the offense and promise behind freshman QB Shane Buechele.
2. West Virginia Mountaineers, Dana Holgorsen: I believe Holgorsen has done a solid job with the transition from the Big East to the Big 12. Holgorsen had to get better athletes, and more of them, but is recruiting as the major regional outlier in the conference. He has kept the team very competitive, while maintaining solid home field advantage, as no opponent wants to go on the road to Morgantown. Mountaineers fans may not want to hear it, but this isn’t the Big East. I think 7-5 is what the Mountaineers are in the Big 12, with the occasional 9 or 10 win season. If he can maintain that, it’s a success. But, thinking that someone can make WVU a consistent 9-10 win team in the Big 12 is wishful thinking.
3. Baylor Bears, Jim Grobe: Maybe this isn’t fair since he’s technically an interim coach. But, Grobe would probably have to win 10 or 11 games this season to have a chance to get the job on a full-time basis. That being said, winning games with the team he will have this fall won’t be too hard (assuming he can motivate the guys). Where Grobe will earn his keep is on the recruiting trail. Can he help keep some of the big names in the fold for 2017? The best case scenario is that Grobe starts winning, it snowballs, the players love him, he helps keep some big recruits, and signs on to be the head coach on a 3 or 4-year contract. He’s a damn good man and a good coach. I hope it works out for all parties involved.
4. Kansas State Wildcats, Bill Snyder: I know… I never thought I’d see the day either. But, there is a portion of Wildcats fans that are ready to move on from Snyder. He is 76 years old and is coming off a season where K-State finished 8th in the Big 12. Granted, the team was very banged up at QB and several other positions, but some fans just want a fresh face. I don’t agree. Snyder is as sharp as ever. Plus, he’s now officially on twitter … where he is crushing it by the way. K-State needs to stay the course and let Snyder build what has worked for years in Manhattan. Bill Snyder IS Kansas State Football. If we get 2 or 3 seasons in a row of 3-6 in Big 12 play, we all reassess. But for now, I’m riding the man that got me here… and am willing to throw his age out the window.
5. Texas Tech Red Raiders, Kliff Kingsbury: Kingsbury “came home” with the good looks, charm, and style ready to lead the program back to the Mike Leach days. The problem is, he has not been able to do that. The Red Raiders have had seasons of 4-5, 2-7, and 4-5 in Big 12 play under Kingsbury. He’s been getting a pass as he rebuilds the program. But, at some point, there needs to be better results. Fans still yearn for the days of Mike Leach, and unlike WVU, Tech fans have seen their team have big-time success in the Big 12. This is a really important season for Kingsbury. He has a Heisman candidate at QB in Pat Mahomes. But, along with defensive coordinator David Gibbs, need to start showing significant improvement on defense.
6. Kansas Jayhawks, David Beaty: He’s more of a tweener. I can’t imagine Beaty is on any kind of hot seat. But, I put him at the bottom of the list simply because if KU doesn’t win a game this season, goes 0-12 (they should beat Rhode Island), with a bunch of really embarrassing losses, maybe the administration jumps the gun. Once again, this seems totally unreasonable… but we’ve seen crazier things happen in college football, especially at Kansas. Beaty deserves a full four seasons of coaching and recruiting before he can even begin to be judged.
As for the list of untouchables, that includes: Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, TCU’s Gary Patterson, and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell.
But, for the sake of a good time, let’s think of bizarre but possibly, slightly realistic reasons each of those coaches could end up on the hot seat.
Oklahoma Sooners, Bob Stoops: Stoops holds a press conference where he finally goes through each media member in the room and tells them how much he hates the media, hates them, and hates press conferences. He more or less does this already, so I guess it wouldn’t be too farfetched. But hey, it’s something.
Oklahoma State Cowboys, Mike Gundy: Gundy breaks out one too many dance moves following a big win over OU. He ends up shattering both hips and his embarrassment is captured on national TV. This is definitely unlikely considering the guy is pretty smooth on the dance floor. Then again, while he is still a MAN, he’s no longer a YOUNG man at 40!!! He’ll be 49 this season, those hips don’t flow like they used to.
TCU Horned Frogs, Gary Patterson: It took me more than 60 seconds to think of some reason why Gary Patterson would be on the hot seat next year… and I couldn’t think of anything, so I’m giving up. Coach Patterson won’t be a TCU next year, if and only if, Texas and/or Texas A&M fire their coaches and offer him a boatload of money. 🙂
Iowa State Cyclones, Matt Campbell: Campbell is already doing a helluva job on the recruiting trail for the Cyclones, with a recruiting class many are ranking in the mid-30’s for 2017. So, someone leaks that Campbell is paying players in cars, women, and drugs … Ames, Iowa becomes the Coral Gables of the heartland. Iowa State gets probation and Campbell is on the hot seat … or gone.
Once again, the four above aren’t going anywhere… but since we had to think of some bizarre scenarios… there you go!
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