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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Coaching Moves

Fire My Coach, Please: Week 10

We’ve gone a week without a coach from this list losing his job, which is a good thing. In a perfect world, a coach whose name appears in this space would find his momentum, turn things around and get back in the company’s good graces. This rarely occurs; by my count, at least four of the 10 coaches on last week’s list will not be at their respective schools next season. You guess the names — we know one is Mike Locksley, at least. The coaching quote of the week comes from Colorado’s Dan Hawkins, who had this to say when asked about the fate of this year’s team:

“I’m not [worried about the fate of the team]. It’s the nature of the business. You show up everyday and you do your job. All the chatter that goes on, whether it’s good or bad just has to be apart of your constitution. Just show up and get after it everyday.”

1. Mike Locksley, New Mexico (Last week: No. 1)

2010 record 0-8
Overall record (since 2009) 1-19

There is some good news for New Mexico: the Lobos aren’t the worst team in the Mountain West. Not technically, at least. U.N.M. is currently 0-4 in conference play, though 0-8 overall; Wyoming might be 2-7, but the Cowboys are 0-5 in M.W.C. action. A small, small, small victory for Locksley and the Lobos to rally behind. Will it mean anything in the long run? Well, something has to give on Saturday, when the winless Lobos host the cellar-dwelling Cowboys.

2. Dan Hawkins, Colorado (Last week: No. 3)

2010 record 3-5
Overall record (since 2006) 19-38

The writing is on the wall, writ large, in bold font, italicized and underlined: Hawkins is not joining Colorado in its trek to the Pac-10. There’s just no way it’s going to happen. The biggest news now, of course, is who Colorado chooses to replace the worst coach in the program’s modern era — though Chuck Fairbanks can certainly throw his hat into that ring.

3. Paul Wulff, Washington State (Last week: No. 2)

2010 record 1-8
Overall record (since 2008) 4-30

Wulff moves down a spot from last week, though that’s largely thanks to Hawkins, not a win for the Cougars. The conference losing streak continues to grow for Washington State: 15 in a row, 23 of 24 altogether under Wulff. Few have been close, even if the Cougars have been more competitive in 2010 than they were a season ago. The improved play — when held against the last two seasons — should be enough to earn Wulff one more season, though W.S.U. should certainly send out feelers to a certain former Big 12 coach itching to get back into the profession.

4. Stan Parrish, Ball State (Last week: No. 6)

2010 record 2-7
Overall record (since 2009) 4-18

Ball State continue to plummet, dropping from 12 wins in the final season under his predecessor, Brady Hoke, to four wins in 21 tries with Parrish as the full-time coach. It was thought, due to the returning experience from last year’s team, that B.S.U. was a threat to reach bowl eligibility. Not quite; wait for the same refrain next summer.

5. Neil Callaway, U.A.B. (Last week: No. 4)

2010 record 3-5
Overall record (since 2007) 14-30

I can’t tell you how impressed I was with U.A.B,’s win over Southern Mississippi last Saturday. For starters, I thought the Golden Eagles would win — and win handily, covering a large spread in the process. It took double overtime, it took overcoming three interceptions and another poor defensive performance, but U.A.B. is now in possession of third place in the Conference USA East division with three consecutive home games on the horizon. A bowl run is possible, in which case Callaway would absolutely fall off this list.

6. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M (Last week: No. 5)

2010 record 5-3
Overall record (since 2008) 15-18

So Texas A&M has found a quarterback, it seems. That’s great news for Sherman. It was also good to see Sherman acknowledge that changes needed to be made under center; you respect his dedication to Jerrod Johnson, but the time had come to make a move. If A&M can continue to have success through the air, it’s not inconceivable to see A&M winning eight games in the regular season. Of course, there is the remaining schedule: Oklahoma, Baylor, Nebraska and Texas.

7. David Bailiff, Rice (Last week No. 7)

2010 record 2-6
Overall record (since 2007) 15-28

Rice celebrated its bye week by not losing, which was good for Bailiff’s job status. As noted a week ago, Rice’s struggles under Bailiff can be tied back to a defense that simply cannot get stops. In 2008, when Rice reached bowl play, the Owls had an offense good enough to offset any defensive liabilities. This year’s offense isn’t capable of doing the same.

8. Bill Lynch, Indiana (Last week: No. –)

2010 record 4-4
Overall record (since 2007) 18-27

After feasting on a weak non-conference schedule, Indiana is staring at a winless Big Ten season. This would not be good for Lynch, who led Indiana to bowl play in 2007 but has gone 11-19 since. No one expects miracles from the Hoosiers; expecting two wins in conference play, however, is not too much to ask. The remaining schedule: Iowa, at Wisconsin, Penn State, at Purdue. It will be tough to get a split.

9. Bob Toledo, Tulane (Last week: No. 10)

2010 record 3-5
Overall record (since 2007) 12-32

The Green Wave have shown some grit, beating Rutgers and UTEP and hanging around with S.M.U. before a late run gave the Mustangs a 14-point win. At this point, sadly, it might take more than moral victories for Toledo to keep his job. What I find interesting about Tulane is that I’m never sure what we’re going to get: sandwiched between those aforementioned wins were one-sided losses to Army and Tulsa, games where the defense never showed up. Three home games await — Tulane might sweep or get swept.

10. Steve Fairchild, Colorado St. (Last week: No. 9)

2010 record 3-6
Overall record (since 2008) 13-21

Fairchild and the Rams can rest easy: they beat New Mexico. A loss on Saturday to the hapless Lobos would have done tremendous damage to the program; C.S.U. needs wins, most importantly, but no one wants to be the first team to lose to New Mexico. Now 3-5, the Rams need only one win to improve upon last season’s total. That’s not a great thing, but a fourth win would at least symbolize some progress.

Dropped out

Doug Martin, Kent State (Last week: No. 8 )

Previous lists

Week 9 list Mike Locksley, No. 1
Week 8 list Mike Locksley, No. 1
Week 7 list Mike Locksley, No. 1
Week 6 list Mike Locksley, No. 1
Week 5 list Mike Locksley, No. 1

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  1. Gotham Gator says:

    No Mark Richt?

    Not that I think he deserves to lose his job – quite the opposite. I think Georgia would be monumentally stupid to fire him, but the chatter is out there.

  2. Kernel says:

    Look for Mike Bellotti to replace Hawkins at CU.

    Ricky Bustle belongs on this list.

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