Tuesday’s Thoughts: Coaching Woes At Former Powerhouses

One school is college football’s all-time leader for wins.

One school took home four national titles in nine seasons (adding another one a decade later) to establish one of the game’s best, and most polarizing, programs ever.

One school is not even a decade removed from a three-year stretch of dominance that bookended a Heisman Trophy with two national championships.

All three schools … Michigan, Miami, and Florida … could be hiring new coaches for their football programs before the 2015 season kicks off.

The life of a football coach isn’t always fair … and it isn’t always just … but the men who sign up for it know exactly what they’re getting into. From being a nomadic assistant coach (traveling to seven different schools in seventeen years), to constantly resting the fate of your employment in the hands of nine assistants and over ninety college students … being a major college head coach isn’t a cushy gig, no matter how much money is in the contract.

At Michigan, Brady Hoke is as good as gone. Even before the season started, there were plenty of pundits and fans calling for the Chris Christie lookalike to have his head served up on a platter. Things got even worse when athletic director Dave Brandon, who seemed to be Hoke’s one remaining supporter, jumped ship.

Never mind that Michigan hasn’t had a losing season since his arrival (as opposed to the two losing seasons in three years under Rich Rodriguez) … because Michigan isn’t the same dominate force they were fifteen years ago, it must only be the coach’s fault. It has nothing to do with factors like more teams and greater exposure in college football, or a talent pool that is spread thinner.

In Hogtown, Will Muschamp (who this season is looking more and more like a redneck version of Uncle Rico) may have given himself a one-season reprieve by waxing rival Georgia this past weekend … which some Florida fans are even more upset about than the demise of the program.

Muschamp is your perfect example of a coordinator who was great at what he did on one side of the ball … but is in way over his head leading an entire team (hello, Randy Shannon). To avoid a second consecutive losing season (something that hasn’t been done since 1978-79), the Florida must win two of its last four, which includes South Carolina at home and road games against Vanderbilt and Florida State. Doable, but still not a certainty … which keeps Muschamp’s seat hotter than he would want.

The one seat that may have cooled the most over the past few weeks would be in South Florida, where three straight wins (all in convincing fashion) has Al Golden breathing much easier than he was at October’s beginning. After blowing out North Carolina, Golden admitted to things being “out of his control” … it should be noted that athletic director Blake James was smiling bigger than anytime I can remember while watching his coach speak only about football only following a game.

Still, with a home game left against Florida State and a difficult road game at Virginia (a team Miami has only beaten once in the last four tries), there is still room for the #FireAlGolden crowd to get their banners flying again around Sun Life Stadium.

This Week’s 4 in 40: Four Points, Forty Words Each

1) The Big 12-minus-two picture will clear up this week, with Kansas State taking on TCU and Baylor battling Oklahoma. Nothing would be more hilarious than to see Bill Snyder yet again do more with less than ever seen.

2) I know he is a former FSU assistant, but how does Mark Richt still keep his job? Two conference titles in fifteen seasons, no national title … he’s good, but his time has run out to prove he’s one of the elite.

3) There was no worse ending for a person than what happened to Mississippi’s Laquon Treadwell at the end of their game against Auburn. An injury that bad is something that hopefully he can get over and have a fruitful career.

4) It isn’t one of our games this week, but you get a special upset pick … Texas is going to take out West Virginia. I’m not saying Charlie Strong has turned things around, but a solid finish to 2014 can do wonders.

Final Drive

One week into the college football playoff era, where we now have an idea what the hell is going on in the heads of the committee, and there is still plenty to be played out. Something we definitively know is that the controversy will continue.

I personally think Alabama is going to figure out a way to jump past Oregon and Michigan State for the fourth spot this week, replacing those posers known as Ole Miss. So, yet again, there will be three teams from one conference division … with two games left to play amongst the three … all while prospective conference champions sit on the outside and wait to pounce. Uh huh, this is progress if I’ve ever seen it.

I refuse to wait until the end of the season to give each conference their due, so here’s my third edition of the 2014 College Football Playoff teams … stop me if you’ve heard them before.

1) Florida State – A quality road win over a ranked team puts the defending champs on top this week.

2) Mississippi State – The Bulldogs learn it isn’t fun being the hunted, as they are close to being exposed as a fraud like their state brethren.

3) Oregon – The Ducks look like they have things together, and hold the head-to-head advantage over …

4) Michigan State – I’m saying it now … a win over Ohio State and I may put the Spartans all the way to No. 2 next week.

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