Tag Archives: Ron Zook

The Worst Coaches And Managers Who Got More Than One Job

20) Don Nelson

To be Don Nelson is to be about contradictions. Nelson is the winningest head coach in NBA history, yet he’s on this list. He’s been NBA Coach of the year three times, which is the same number of times he’s been fired. The reason is simple: Despite having 1,335 regular-season wins, Nelson is a .452 coach in the play-offs, which is why he has never coached an NBA Champion.

19) Tony Granato

It is rare that a lousy coach gets more than one job; its even rarer they get more than one job with the same team. Granato was the head coach for the Colorado Avalanche on two separate occasions. In the first go-around, Granato coached a Stanley Cup favorite loaded with talent like Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne’,  Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Milan Hejduk, and Alex Tanguay. They dropped it the the second round of the playoffs, and Granato was the scapegoat for this “dream team’s” choke job.

But the reward for this gagging was another shot behind the bench.  In 2008-09, Colorado again hired Granato to be the coach, except this time instead of names like Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne’, Granato had a bench full of nobodies. He couldn’t coach talent; with none he led the Avs to their worst season ever.  Then he was fired…again.

18 ) Marcel Lachemann

Everybody remembers the Gene Mauch-led collapse of the 1964 Phillies. But most forget Marcel Lachemann had the reins of the California Angels in 1995, when on August 24 the Angels enjoyed 8.5-game lead.  Even after the Halos dropped nine straight, they regrouped and still held a six-game advantage on Sept. 12. Then came their nine-game fold-job in a month, which meant the end’ the final nail in the coffin being driven by the Mariners in a one-game playoff.

Despite this mega-fold, Lachemann’s expired contract was re-newed for 1996.  The Angles eventually realized the error of their ways; Lachemann was gassed after a 52-59 start to a season in which California finished in the AL West cellar.

17) Mike Hargrove

People may ask why Hargrove makes this list aster he captured five straight division titles with Cleveland from 1995 to 1999. That’s until it is pointed out what happened afterward.

From 2000 to 2003 leading the Baltimore Orioles, he averaged less than 69 wins per season, going 275-372 (.425). The topper to that in Baltimore was when he batted uber-hero Cal Ripken Jr. seventh in the lineup in his final game. This meant Ripken got to see his Hall of Fame career end from the on-deck circle watching Brady Anderson strike out. The Orioles were miles form the pennant race, and in a game that meant nothing in the standings, but was the swan song of arguably the greatest ambassador baseball has produced in the last 50 years, Hargrove buried Ripken in the lineup behind luminaries like Tim Raines, Sr., Luis Matos, Jeff Conine, Chris Richard, and Tony Batista.

Was it any wonder why the O’s lost 98 games in 2001?  “The Human Rain Delay’s” managerial career was capped by a tooth-drilling two-and-a-half seasons with Seattle from 2005-07, going 192-210 (.478) and two last-place finishes in the AL West.

16) Tyrone Willingham

Willingham’s career is like a roller coaster, The way up was exhilarating; he managed to build Stanford into a respectable football team before being hired by Notre Dame. In his first year in South Bend, he led Notre Dame to a 10-3 record, but a loss in that season’s Gator Bowl was the top of the roller coaster. The ride down went through two moribund seasons at Notre Dame, after which he was canned. Then he was hired by Washington, where he took the Huskies to new lows including a 0-12 season during his final year in 2008.

15) John McNamara

McNamara has a career full of idiocy-defining moments, but nothing could ever top Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. McNamara’s misplaced sense of sentimentality let him be completely blind to the face that Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner could barely get on and off the field without a walker because of his bad ankles. do little more than hobble around on his bum ankles.  This is why McNamara didn’t replace Buckner with Dave Stapleton as a defensive replacement to protect the lead as the Red Sox were mere outs away from their first World Series win since 1918;  he wanted Buckner to be on the field for the final three outs.  You know the rest.

14) Pick a Van Gundy

  • a) Jeff Van Gundy

Easily the stupidest coach in the history of the NBA, and there’s a host of quotes to prove it.

“Our guys competed really hard for the most part. It’s wasn’t like we overwhelmed them with talent, that’s for sure.”

“When you score that little in a quarter, it’s probably part defense and part you’re missing some shots that you normally make. So we’re not going to pound ourselves on the chest because I remember three or four they had right in a row at the basket over our midgets where the ball just happened to fall out. We try to play good defense yet we understand how good of an offensive team they are.”

“(McGrady) played super hard today. He just doesn’t make (shots) at home.”

But Jeff will always be best remembered for being Alonzo Mourning’s ankle bracelet.

  • b) Stan Van Gundy

The Magic somehow win despite Stan Van Gundy. For some reason, he thinks Jameer Nelson is an elite guard in this league. For some reason, he let’s his bench players chuck up shots any damn time they want to. Maybe he thinks they are all Hedo Turkoglu five years ago. How many more times do we need to see the Magic ahead in the 4th quarter when Van Gundy decides to quit giving the ball to Dwight Howard?

13) Ron Zook

Ron Zook took the reins of the Florida Gators from Steve Spurrier and promptly turned them into a team that couldn’t beat Mississippi State. That ain’t gonna fly in Gainesville, which is why the Florida faithful flew his ass out of town. Unfortunately for Illinois fans, that flight landed in Champaign-Urbana. Other than the miracle Rose Bowl season of 2007, Zook never had a winning season at Illinois, and he finished up his career with an overall record of 57-65.

12) Dennis Green

Dennis Green made his way into the NFL by posting a single winning season amongst eight on the sidelines at Stanford and Northwestern. But once he hit the professional ranks, he suddenly improved to mediocre. To be honest, I’ve never seen anybody survive so many times in which he should have been fired. I don’t mean like how Tom Coughlin was rumored to get fired every other week until he won this most recent Super Bowl; I mean like “pack your office and get the hell out” fired.

Through his first six years with the team, Green never posted a losing record and Vikings went to the playoffs five times.  But the trouble started when then fans and the local media started flaying Green for creating a team of playoff choke-artists,; it wasn’t until his sixth season the Vikings finally won a playoff game. This led to Wheelock Whitney and Jane Dyer, who were two members of the Vikings’ ownership board, to contact Lou Holtz in 1996.  The idea was to bring Holtz in to replace Green. The rumors really started flying when Holtz abruptly announced his retirement from Notre Dame subsequent to meeting with the Vikings.

Green took this all so personally that in November 1997, he published his autobiography No Room For Crybabies, in which he responded blasted his critics and started personal vendettas against the Twin Cities sports media. To top it off, he threatened to sue the Vikings in response to the Lou Holtz rumors.

How many people do you know threaten their bosses and survive? Green survived to create the classic “should have been fired then” moment. Flash the clock to 1997; the Vikings and the Falcons are tied at 27 in the NFC Championship Game. The Vikes’ have the ball, there’s 30 seconds on the clock, and it’s third down – three yards to go from their own 30-yard line. The Vikings have two timeouts remaining and the Falcons have none.  The Vikings have what was at that time the most  explosive offensive in NFL history; Dennis Green has at his disposal quarterback Randall Cunningham, receiver Randy Moss, and really only needs 30 yards to get the NFL’s best placekicker at the time a shot at a game-winning field goal.

Instead, Green decides to play it safe and takes a knee to run out the clock. Rather than taking a shot to win the game, he merely hopes the Vikes will get the coin flip in overtime. While the do win the coin toss, the Vikes prove the flaw in Green’s plan by allowing the Falcons to score first and win, 30-27.

Believe it or not, Green survived this idiocy for four more seasons. It would be even more amazing that he got another job after that, except it didn’t surprise anybody at the time the Cardinals would make a bad hire.

11) Pierre Pagé

It’s pretty sad when a resume reads more like an epitaph. In all fairness, Page was a pretty good general manager, but in eight seasons as a head coach in the NHL (with four different teams), he only ever had one winning season. He has since been banished to Europe, where he has enjoyed some success. But he will never coach in the NHL again; they’ve seen enough.

10) Dave Shula

Just because you dad is a great football coach doesn’t mean you will be one. Enter Dave Shula, son of Hall-of-Fame coach Don Shula, and abject failure. The warning signs were there; Shula sucked as both an assistant and coordinator in Miami and Dallas. However, as proof that some people do in  fact fail upward, the Cincinnati Bengals hired Shula at their head coach in 1992.  19 wins and 57 losses later, Shula was finally shown the door by Bengals’ owner Mike Brown.

Care to hazards a guess as to what happens to the coach who reached fifty losses faster than any other coach in NFL history? He ends up working for his dad running  Shula’s Steakhouses.

9) Wade Phillips

If Wade Phillips were in the business world, he would be one of the great vice-presidents of all time; so good in fact he keeps getting hired as a CEO because nobody remember how crappy he was as a CEO the last time…largely because he was so good as a VP since then.  Hence, the football life of Wade Phillips. Great defensive coordinator becomes lousy head coach becomes great defensive coordinator becomes lousy head coach. Wade has ridden that roller coaster through three head coaching gigs. Despite the fact he has an 82-59 records as a head coach, he always seems to find a way to tank his own teams.

8 ) Rick Neuheisel

You’ve got to love a guy who is both and cheat and a loser. His 87-59 career record hides the fact that he’s only coached six winning season in 12 as ahead coach. Couple that with the following laundry list, and it is a wonder this guy got three jobs.

  • After the 1997 season, the Colorado Buffaloes were forced to forfeit their five wins due to having played an ineligible player
  • Before Neuheisel coached his first game for the Washington Huskies in 1999, he had already violated NCAA recruiting rules by visiting high school players before the NCAA approved date to do so.
  • In 2008, The Seattle Times ran a series of articles which accused Neuheisel and Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges of overlooking numerous discipline problems–including outright criminal behavior–during the 2000 season.  These allegations included safety Curtis Williams being allowed to play despite being issued an outstanding arrest warrant for assaulting his wife,  linebacker Jeremiah Pharms being under investigation for robbing and shooting a drug dealer after police found his fingerprints at the scene, and tight end  Jerramy Stevens being under investigation for rape.  Also, when Stevens later crashed his truck into a retirement home, Neuheisel only suspended him for half a game.

7) Dusty Baker

OK, there’s two ways to describe what an idiot Dusty Baker is.  There is the math-based approach, which in baseball invariably means a big dose of that Bill James’ Sabermetrics used for telling us the ways that a baseball team will score the most runs. The  theory of operation behind Sabermetrics is that team who get more base-runners score more runs. It is all really pretty logical when you think about it. Dusty Baker has refused to accept this.

The other way to look at is with simple common sense since this is a simple concept to grasp; more base runners equals more runs. The speed of the runner isn’t terribly important; it’s just more of a bonus, largely because there are all kinds of ways base-runners can score without the need for speed. Baker rejects this; his belief is that slower runners “just clog up the basepaths.” This  is why we are still waiting for that Dusty Baker-led world Series winning team.

6) Norv Turner

Picture a team that is consistently over-penalized, turnover laden, plays terrible fundamental football, and yet still piles up statistics.  Chances are that team is coached by Norv Turner.  Norv Turner has the worst winning percentage of any NFL coach whose career lasted at least 200 games. His career record of 107-113-1 indicative of his poor game management skills.  But, the Chargers just won’t fire him.

5) Buddy Bell

Buddy Bell had three different three-year stints as a manager with three different teams. He only ever had a winning season (82-80)  in 2000 with Colorado. Bell  posted identical .399 winning percentages in  Detroit and Kansas City.  This helps to explain how in nine major league seasons as a manager Bell finished in last place  six times. In all fairness, Bell was a great player; he was a five-time All-Star and won six Gold Gloves.

4) P. J. Carlesimo

Carlesimo may be the least-liked guy on this list. His authoritarian, dictatorial style which was punctuated by screaming at people constantly was far more suited to the college ranks where coaches have all the power. Once he got to the NBA, it was just a matter of time before  somebody beat the crap out of him.  While that never happened per se, Carlesimo will be more remembered for his having been nearly-strangled by Latrell Sprewell than his career coaching record of 204-296.

3) Isiah Thomas

For the sake of fairness, Isiah Thomas is one of the greatest NBA players ever, and a Hall-of-Famer.  To this day, the mention of his name to a Knicks fan may get you any reaction from violent nausea on their part to getting you punched in the face.

The fact that Thomas coached an under-performing Pacers club to a first-round play-off exit in 2003 wasn’t enough of a warning sign for the Knicks. Later that year, New York brought in Thomas as President of Basketball Operations which ultimately led to his performing the coach and general manager duties. The pinnacle of the Thomas regime was his taking the Knicks to the highest payroll in the league while having the second-worst record and his dooming the future of the franchise by trading for Eddy Curry with what turned out to be seven future draft picks, including two lottery picks in talent-rich drafts. As far as the coaching was concerned, Thomas went 56-108 while at the helm of the Knicks.

2) Rich Kotite

What can be said about Rich “Decline the Penalty and Punt” Kotite that isn’t summed up in his nickname? Thanks to the fact that I like to watch both the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets, I had front-row seats for watching who was easily the worst coach in any sport in the last 30 years. It simply is not possible to make a list of horrible coaches that doesn’t include this butt-loaf.

The early successes with the Eagles were largely due to the team punishing defense, not the offensive genius Kotite was supposed to be.  Kotite was fired in Philadelphia in 1994 after going 40-56 in four seasons.  The Jets years were brutal; in two seasons Kotite went 4-28.  He stepped down after his second season with the Jets and he never returned to coaching again.

1) Gene Mauch

Nobody seems to learn the lesson; safety regulations exist for a reason. Somebody somewhere somewhat smarter than you already knew that you shouldn’t stand on the top rung of the ladder.  That’s why there is usually a sign or a label; some sort of warning that what you are about to do is a bad idea.

Gene Mauch should have come with just such a label. Clearly, the other signs were not visible enough…the collapse of the 1964 Phillies, the malaise that was the Montreal Expos in the early 70′s, and the Angels’ playoff choke-jobs in the 80′s…Mauch kept a level of respect in baseball that he kept getting hired even after just having been fired for complete ineptitude.

- Dubsism is a proud member of the Sports Blog Movement

What We Learned From This Weekend in Football 11/26/2011 – The Up-To-The-Minute Coaches’ Death Watch Edition

Lots of stuff has happened since we originally started this Coaches’ Death Watch a month ago. Some of it we saw coming, some of it we didn’t, and some of it is simply inexplicable.

There’s the guys who bought it before we ever published the inaugural death watch issue. Granted, we messed up when we listed New Mexico”s Mike Locksley as a certainty to be fired when in fact he had already been fired two weeks before hand.  But what difference does it really make? New Mexico is firmly rooted in the “Who Cares? conference.

Firings We Didn’t See Coming:

1) Joe Paterno, Penn State

Let’s be honest…nobody saw this coming a month ago. We need not get into the details here, we all know them.

2) Ron Zook, Illinois

Captain Coke-Machine Head Butt was 6-0 to start this season, and the Illini are going to a bowl game. Zook was the first coach to take the University of Chief Illiniwek to the Rose Bowl in about a bazillion years.

Trouble is they finished 0-6, going 2-6 in B1G conference play and that’s includes a season-ending 27-7 debacle at Minnesota.

3) Bob Toledo, Tulane

We’ll be honest…we really weren’t paying attention to Tulane football. They are in the same conference as New Mexico.

Firings We Totally Saw Coming (with Breaking News):

1) Houston Nutt, Mississippi

Houston, you have a problem. The million-dollar question: Is their really a difference between getting fired and being asked to resign? Not really, because for a coach, there’s still a contract buy-out involved.

2) BREAKING NEWS #1 – Rick Neuheisel, UCLA

As of right now, CBSSports.com is reporting Slick Rick is as gone as a cool breeze after the Pac-12 Championship.

UCLA was blown out 50-0 by USC on Saturday night to finish the season at 6-6 and 5-4 in the Pac-12, but thanks to some NCAA sanctions currently in place at USC, the Bruins will be playing in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship against Oregon on Friday. Which means that there’s a chance the 6-6 Bruins could end up playing in the Rose Bowl.

Though it doesn’t seem that is going to be enough to save Rick Neuheisel’s job at the school. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Neuheisel will meet with UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero after the game to discuss his future at the school, and the report says the chances Neuheisel will retain his job are “bleak.”

Neuheisel is a dead man.

2) BREAKING NEWS #2 – Paul Wulff, Washington State

Again, it’s CBSSports.com as the bearer of bad news for at least one guy on the Pelouse…

Washington State head coach Paul Wulff is expected to be dismissed according to a local report, possibly as early Sunday or Monday.

The Seattle Times, citing sources close to the situation, report Wulff will be dismissed in a meeting with athletic director Bill Moos “barring a last-minute change of direction.” The Cougars finished their season with a 38-21 loss to Washington in the Apple Cup on Saturday.

If the reports are true, Wulff will finish with a 9-40 record in four years as the head coach in Pullman. His .184 winning percentage is the worst in college football, and the worst in Washington State school history. Moos has been WSU’s athletic director for 18 months, and reportedly has big plans to refresh and revive the football program. With an $80 million stadium remodeling project and new football offices in the plans, it’s not surprising they want to make a change to help encourage donations.

Wulff is a dead man. That end-of-season meeting with the AD is never a good deal.

2) BREAKING NEWS #3 – Dennis Erickson, Arizona State

Dennis Erickson reported to be fired. Not exactly a "Shocker."

CBSSports.com hits the Pac-12 trifecta, this time in Tempe.

Black Sunday in the college coaching ranks continues, with the latest coach on the verge of losing his job reportedly being Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson. Multiple sources have confirmed to CBSSports.com Arizona State Rapid Reporter Craig Morgan that Erickson will be fired this week with a news conference coming as soon as Monday.

Erickson still has one more year left on his contract, and if he’s fired he’ll receiver half of the $1.5 million he was due in his contract. Though it’s also possible that both sides will work out another agreement.

Arizona State had a disappointing end to its season in 2011, as the Sun Devils began the season with a 5-1 record but limped to the finish line losing 5 of their last 6 games. Losing out on a golden opportunity to play for a Rose Bowl berth in a very winnable Pac-12 South Division.

While we don’t see a meeting with the AD yet, this can’t be a good development.

Guys Who Saved Their Asses

1) Mark Richt, Georgia

Richt’s survival in Athens is a combination of getting the Bulldogs into the SEC Championship combined with having a $7 million buy out. It will be forgiven if when Georgia gets crushed by LSU, but the Bulldogs really could stand to make a good showing in their bowl game.

2) Jeff Tedford, California (probably)

Like I said before, Tedford is like a Bay-Area version of Mark Richt. He’s a nice, well-tanned guy who started out strong, but has a bit of a “what have you done for me lately?” problem.  Since 2006 when Tedford led the Golden Bears to 10 wins and a share of a Pac-10 title, Cal hasn’t repeated that success, even in the light of USC’s troubles. Tedford was the most 50/50 guy on this list, and I think going 4-2 in his last six in Strawberry Canyon gets him off the hook, at least for one more year.

Guys Who Are Still Under The Sword of Damocles

  • Turner Gill, Kansas
  • Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins
  • Neil Callaway, Alabama-Birmingham
  • Mike Riley, Oregon State
  • Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Steve Fairchild, Colorado State
  • Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams
  • Frank Spaziani, Boston College
  • Mike Sherman, Texas A&M
  • Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Luke Fickell, Ohio State (those Urban Meyer rumors just won’t go away)
  • Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Lezlie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings
  • Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts
  • Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers

The Unkindest Cut of All

A tweet from Pete Thamel of the New York Times sums it up.

Man, there are some stone cold mofos in this world.

Coaches’ Death Watch: The Universal Football Edition

Since we last visited this topic, there have been many changes. Tim Brewster at Minnesota did indeed bite the dust with the rare mid-season canning; while some have gotten closer to being next, while others have likely saved their skins. But just for fun, since some of the coaches who are clearly under fire are NFL guys, we’ve have decided for the first time to include them in the Death Watch.

Those Who Have Likely Saved Themselves:

Ron Zook, Illinois Fighting Illini

The Illini are a lock to go to a bowl game at this point, since they only need one win to be eligible and have cupcakes like Minnesota and Fresno State still on the schedule. Besides, how many teams do you know that score 65 points and lose?

Ralph Friedgen, Maryland Terrapins

Don’t look now, but the Terrapins who were 2-10 last season are already bowl-eligible with a shot at winning the Atlantic Division of the ACC. Plus, when the athletic department can’t afford to buy you out, and you are retiring after next year anyway…

Still Can Save Themselves, But…

Rich Rodriguez, Michigan

He either has to win a bowl game or beat Ohio State. Period.  Because nobody is going to get more than three years to win in Ann Arbor. Jesus himself would be staying way from lumber stores in Michigan right about now…

Dennis Erickson, Arizona State

Erickson is a Hall of Fame caliber coach, so nobody at Arizona State wants to look as if they are giving him the bum’s rush. But he clearly hasn’t lived up to what the Sun Devil nation wanted. His National Championship experience was supposed to be reflected on the field. It wasn’t. His NFL experience was supposed to be reflected in recruiting. It hasn’t.

Erickson either needs to get to a bowl game or beat the hated rival; in this case winning the ” The Duel in the Desert” looks like a tall order as Arizona is ranked and looks like they have a legitimate NFL quarterback leading them.

Bob Toledo, Tulane

Lets’ face it, short of Washington State, this team might have the lowest expectations on this list. The Green Wave has gone a swampy 9-27 in the last three years. All Toledo has to do is not finish last  in Conference USA again.

So Incredibly Fired It Isn’t Funny

Dan Hawkins, Colorado

The Dan Hawkins Death Spasm: Coming Soon to a D-II school near you.

I don’t know how many “final nails” I’ve pounded into this guy’s coffin; add “letting the sorry-ass Kansas Jayhawks hang up 35 unanswered points in the 4th quarter” to the list. I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets “Brewster-ed” and spends Sunday morning cleaning out his office.

Paul Wulff, Washington State

Wulff’s problem isn’t the fact that his Cougars are 1-8, its that they haven’t been closer than two scores in any of them.  He couldn’t even  beat SMU, and four losses of 20 or more points means it is time for Wulff to wave bye-bye.

Mike Locksley, New Mexico

This absolute joke of a D-I program is sinking to historic depths. This is the program Purdue fans look at to feel better about themselves. It is no longer a question of if he Lobos will lose; it’s just a matter of how much. An 0-12 season seems like a lock at this point. Things are so bad in Albuquerque the Lobo faithful have constructed a list of excuses worthy of Minnesota Viking fans; the refs are out to get us, we’re too young, blah, blah, blah. Locksley can’t assemble talent on the coaching staff or on the field, which is why neither the players or the athletic director have any respect for him. Combine that with the fact that Locksley has had some off-the-field issues which seem like they are just another note on the jack-in-the-box from springing back into the headlines, and his departure must be a foregone conclusion.

Brad Childress, Minnesota Vikings


What can you say here that hasn’t already been said? The latest example of Childress’ fading grasp on the controls came in the form of yet another player altercation.  According to Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Brad Childress got into an argument with Percy Harvin during Friday’s practice. The report states that Childress questioned Harvin’s effort this season, creating an even darker cloud around the team. The relationship between Childress and Harvin is already shaky, so it isn’t surprising they would have a blow-out, not to mention Harvin was “livid” over the release of Randy Moss.

Besides, when word gets out the owner wanted you gone, its time to piss on the campfire.  It’s funny this whole Moss thing started over a caterer, because Childress is the kind of guy who burns dinner, serves it anyway, and then bullies you into telling him it is delicious. He was a shitty offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, which helps to explain why a Childress offense with the greatest running back to hit this league in 25 years still can’t run the fucking ball. The guy is just an incomprehensible choad. He needs to go back to coaching high school kids where his “look at what a tough guy I am” bullshit still works.

Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys

Phillips is the anti-Childress; he is both an exceptional defensive coordinator and by all accounts one of the genuinely nicest guys in the league. But like Childress, he really has no business being a head coach. This isn’t an indictment of Phillips, rather just an observation that he simply doesn’t have the skill set to be a head coach. He now is clearly in over his head with the complete collapse of the Cowboys; he even admitted this in last week’s post-game presser when he said “If I knew what to do, I’d be doing it.”

And much like Childress, his job is safe through the end of the season for one big reason. Firing a coach means hiring a new one, and nobody wants to hand somebody a new job knowing there’s a lock-out coming next season. Don’t kid yourself, there’s going to be a work stoppage, and it is likely going to be a long one. Who better to play care-taker to a do-nothing job than a guy who isn’t in your future plans anyway?

Welcome to the Hot Seat Club

Danny Hope, Purdue

The honeymoon has got to be over in West Lafayette.  Everybody in Boiler Nation now has to admit that Danny Hope isn’t the savior they thought he was. Boiler fans heard a lot of stuff about what a great recruiter he was, and how he was going to take Purdue to the promised land of the upper division of the Big Ten. While he has upped the talent pool a bit by getting more kids from Florida and less of the home-grown stiffs like Jason “AARP” Werner, he simply is not a very good game-day coach. He makes some of the most bizarre decisions and can’t even make the simplest in-game adjustments. A Hope game plan better work from the jump, because there is no ability to tweak it.  A great case in point comes from Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin. All you have to do is follow the Tweets of the local beat writer who covers Boilermaker football.  See if you can spot when Wisconsin made an adjustment Hope couldn’t handle…

  • #Purdue only had 64 yards in the first half at Illinois last week. #Boilermakers have 93 yards right now.
  • Could we see a repeat of last year’s Ohio State game? #purdue #boilermakers
  • Two things Wisconsin has done well this season: No sacks and no turnovers. Today, 2 sacks, 1 turnover. #purdue #boilermakers
  • Wisconsin has now scored 10 points off #Purdue turnovers. #boilermakers
  • #Purdue only 13 yards in 2nd half. Badgers third drive starts at their own 49 after starting at Purdue 18 and Purdue 49.

You would think Purdue fans would be so used to this they would see it coming, but they never do.

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

Let’s be honest, it is time somebody got held accountable for this team’ s complete underperforming. They’ve run through all the other excuses short of calling out Carson Palmer.  Besides, it is easier  to fire a coach than to come to terms with the fact the problem is cultural and systemic and may take years to fix.

Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers

See the entry above for Marvin Lewis and replace the words “Carson Palmer” with “All the holdouts.” Also, add a sentence that says something to the effect of “only Norv Turner can have a quarterback on a pace to have 5,000 passing yards and still lose.”

Nine Things We’ve Learned About College Football at the Halfway Point

1) Georgia isn’t as bad as they look.

Well, they’ve only beaten Tennessee and Roast Beef State Louisiana-Lafayette, and they aren’t going to a bowl game, but the calls for Mark Richt’s head are premature. I understand how losing to a sorry-ass Colorado team can give one cause to wonder, but settle down, Dawg fans. I understand you are in a “wait until next year” scenario, but Richt has won a lot of games for you and he isn’t done yet.  Now, if they lose at home to Idaho State, all bets are off.

2) Penn State is as bad as they look.

Yesterday catastrophe against Illinois confirm the suspicions that it may be a long season in State College.  This wasn’t just the effects of having a freshman quarterback; this was full-on, nuclear-powered, suck-assery not seen since the Zack Mills era. This team has all the talent to make big plays, if only they knew how to make big plays. Much like the aforementioned Georgia Bulldogs, this is a temporary condition. Unlike Georgia, the Nittany Lions may eke three more wins out of the schedule to become bowl-eligible, but don’t surprised if it doesn’t happen.

3) Defense now Optional in the The Big 12:

The scores tell the story.

  • Nebraska 48, Kansas State 13
  • Oklahoma State 54, Louisiana-Lafayette 28
  • Texas Tech, 45, Baylor 38
  • Arkansas 24, Texas A&M 17
  • Utah 68, Iowa State 27
  • Missouri 26, Colorado 0

Other than the anomalies of the putrid Colorado offense and Texas A&M playing a good SEC team, this is a conference in which one is smart to bet the over.

4) Michigan has now been sufficiently exposed.

 

You can't have 4 without Coach 4-Head

 

Forget whatever Denard Robinson does, or how much Kirk Herbstreit wants to blow him. As we’ve said before, he is the entire Wolverine offense and once you contain him, that team simply isn’t that good. It seems that a quarterback who can use his legs to create plays also can use his arm to throw three interceptions. But Michigan’s real weakness is defense. For the second week in a row, this unit gave up huge yardage; the anemic Indiana offense threw for nearly 500 yards, and Michigan State rolled up 536 total offensive yards. If this continues, well, see points #5 and #9.

5) Jim Harbaugh is having a very successful audition to replace Coach 4-Head.

Harbaugh’s resume: He turned Stanford into a Top Ten program, he’s beaten Southern California in consecutive years, his long NFL career gives him massive recruiting credibility and he’s a Michigan alum. The only question left is how much cash does it take to get him to head for Ann Arbor?

6) BYU will fail miserably as an independent.

Conference or not, making such a move when there is an aura of instability in the locker room can only spell disaster.  The irony is that in Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure at BYU has been all about steady success and a calm presence from its leadership. Those days are over as Mendenhall seems to be hitting the “panic button, ” announcing his most severe move yet during his tenure by firing defensive coordinator Jaime Hill. Mendenhall is going back to calling plays, and otherwise wants to have a greater hand in molding a struggling team that is off to the program’s worst start since 1973.

“I need to recapture the heart and soul of this team, and I am trying to position myself in a place where I can be most effective doing that,” he said. It seems an odd move, in part because BYU is about to face one of the country’s more efficient offenses in when the Cougars travel to TCU on Oct. 16.  Mendenhall said that merely demoting Hill wasn’t a possibility as there were philosophical differences that were too tough to ignore, or compromise.

“As a leader, there are pivotal times where there become, you can call them feelings, instincts, promptings, whatever you would like,” Mendenhall said. “And that’s exactly what I felt, and I chose to act on it immediately. I don’t expect it to be popular with anyone, other than I think I did the right thing for myself and our program, and it certainly was not easy, and it doesn’t mean I don’t care for coach Hill and his family, because I do.”

Translated, Hill didn’t jump when Mendenhall said “jump,” so he got the gate. Generally, failure follows such power struggles, and failure generally doesn’t help those looking to strike out on their own.

7) Florida can whip up on handicapped guys, and that’s about it.

This is only going to help the Gators if South Carolina replaces Stephen Garcia with Stephen Hawking.

8 ) South Carolina is for real

No matter what happens on the rest of their schedule, this weekend’s defeat of top-ranked Alabama is the signature win Steve Spurrier has been waiting for in Columbia. Sure, I thought it was winning in Knoxville a few years back, but that just proved to be the beginning of the end of the Fulmer regime on Rocky Top.  With the win over Alabama, and Florida’s loss to LSU, the Gamecocks find themselves as the front runners in the SEC East.

Barring any unforeseen catastrophes, the ‘Cocks-Gators clash November 13th in  Gainesville will have a trip to the SEC Championship Game riding on it. How will Gators fans feel watching the Ol’ Ball Coach help spell the end of Florida’s ownership of the SEC East?

9) The 2010 Coaches Death Watch:

 

Ralph Friedgen, pictured here as a small dog, survives...for now.

 

It is a certainty that some coaches will lose their jobs after this season. It is just a matter of picking which ones. In order to do that, we have ranked some likely candidates in order of the probability they will not return for next season.

Ralph Friedgen, Maryland: Metaphysical Certitude

It is a certainty that Maryland doesn’t want him back; they’ve already named his successor. The problem is they didn’t check the athletic department’s bank balance before they shot off their mouths; he has a $1.75 million salary, and there is some question as to whether the University of Maryland can afford to buy out his remaining contract. As fishy as that sounds, if all goes according to contract, Friedgen will retire in 2011 and James Franklin will become the new head coach.

Mike Locksley, New Mexico: Missing an Inside Straight Draw

This is a guy who should get fired just for being tied to two other guys on this list. Locksley was a running backs coach at Maryland under Ralph Friedgen, and he’s coached with Ron Zook at both Florida and Illinois. But he’s got reasons to get fired all his own. He’s had off-the-field distractions ranging from an altercation with an assistant to sexual harrassment charges from a secretary. On the field, he has improved the Lobos’ talent, but an 0-5 start another season lacking in much competitiveness could make it difficult for the brass to stand by him past Year 2.

Saves His Job If: His players turn his system into a winner by showing some promising signs or a big win over a team like BYU or TCU. He also has to keep his name out of the news from a ll the off-field stuff.

Gets Fired Because: The Lobos go 1-11 (or worse) again and he doesn’t stay out of trouble.

Tim Brewster, Minnesota: Spilling Coffee on Your White Shirt Just Before an Important Meeting

Brewster has his fans, but also as many detractors. He also has a booster base that built a new stadium, and they want their first Rose Bowl nearly a half-century. He took over a program that was destroyed by Glen Mason, and the rebuilding is going slower than most would prefer. That may not be realistic, but that’s the situation Brewster find himself in.

Saves His Job If: Somehow, he has to squeeze no worse than a 4-8 record out of a young and troublesome defense and an offense returning nine starters.

Gets Fired Because: Short of a big win in the rest of the conference schedule, the loss to South Dakota may have sealed his fate.

Paul Wulff, Washington State: Getting a Giant, Disfiguring Pimple Before a Big Date (or if you are over 40, suddenly discovering the importance of Viagra)

This poor guy took the job because he wanted to be a head coach, and this was the open job. But he can’t escape a 3-22 record.

Saves His Job If: He finds a way to come up with a conference win, double “saves his ass” points if it is against season-ending rival Washington. After losing the opener at Oklahoma State, the Cougars rebound with wins over Montana State and at SMU. At 2-1, Washington State will have some confidence as USC comes to town. If the Cougars can pull an upset at UCLA and against Arizona at home, a 4-8 season may be the best.

Gets Fired Because: He couldn’t meet even the minimal expectations in Pullman. Even in a short time, too many embarrassing losses have piled up during the Wulff era.

Dan Hawkins. Colorado: Toast Landing on the Floor Jelly-Side Down

How Hawkins survived after last season is a head-scratcher. It seems the “Friedgen Rule” might be in effect; Colorado can’t afford to gas him. Hawkins is 16-33 in four years in Boulder, and if there is another sub-par year in Boulder, they may have a telethon to raise money for the buy-out.

Saves His Job If: This team is made up of Hawkins’ players and they have all played a great deal over the past two or three seasons. If one can gamble one experience meaning anything, Colorado bets on catching a few breaks and reaches a bowl game.

Gets Fired Because: His bets don’t come in and Colorado decides it can’t have any more 52-7 losses at California heading into its first season as a member of the Pac-10.

Rich Rodriguez, Michigan: A Torrential Downpour When You’ve Left Your Sun Roof Open

I’m not sure we really need to belabor the point here…Rodriguez was expected to restore Michigan football glory, and it hasn’t happened in three years. Meanwhile, as previously mentioned Michigan alum is just upping the offer coming from his alma mater.

Saves His Job If: He has to either win a bowl game or beat Ohio State. Period.

Gets Fired Because:  Because nobody is going to get more than three years to win in Ann Arbor.  Jesus himself would be staying way from lumber stores in Michigan right about now…

Bob Toledo, Tulane: Having Your Drive-Thru Order Get Messed Up

Being that everybody took pity on New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Tulane got a piece of that pity pie. But after five years, the bakery may be closing.

Saves His Job If:  Lets’ face it, short of Washington State, this team might have the lowest expectations on this list. The Green Wave has gone a swampy 9-27 in the last three years. All Toledo has to do is not finish last  in Conference USA again.

Gets Fired Because: He finishes last in Conference USA again.

Dennis Erickson, Arizona State: Getting Sunburned Even Though You Wore Sunscreen

Some coaches earn respect in this game to the point where there is a reluctance to fire them. Of course, it is a sliding scale. At one end is a guy like Ralph Friedgen, a guy who has not only effectively been fired, but he’s been fired like Milton from “Office Space.” They took his stapler, moved him into Sub-Basement B, but for some reason he still gets a paycheck. On the other end of that scale is Joe Paterno; statues are one thing, but when they put the coaches’ name on the library, they would have to find the Lindbergh baby in buried in his back yard, and even then they might only suspend him.

Erickson is a Hall of Fame caliber coach, so nobody at Arizona State wants to look as if they are giving him the bum’s rush. But he clearly hasn’t lived up to what the Sun Devil nation wanted. His National Championship experience was supposed to be reflected on the field. It wasn’t. His NFL experience was supposed to be reflected in recruiting. It hasn’t.

Saves His Job If: See Rich Rodriguez. Erickson either needs to get to a bowl game or beat the hated rival; in this case winning the ” The Duel in the Desert” looks like a tall order as Arizona is ranked an looks like they have a legitimate NFL quarterback leading them offensively.

Gets Fired Because: Right now, they are 3-3 with their only conference coming this past weekend on the road at Washington. That means they need to find three more conference wins out of this schedule:

Oct. 23 – @California
Oct. 30 – Washington State
Nov. 6 – @USC
Nov. 13 – Stanford
Nov. 26 – UCLA
Dec. 2 – @Arizona

The Sun Devils can forget about winning any of those road games. That also means they can’t count on the “beat the rival” card. Realistically, only the home date with Washington State is one they can feel confident about, nad UCLA is an honest “Maybe,” but other than that , the odds of picking up that third win look pretty slim.

Ron Zook, Illinois: Anybody who is a non-hot chick talking their way out of a speeding ticket

Many Chief Illiniwek lovers were hoping Ron Zook’s days in Champaign were over last year. However, it seems that getting the Illini into a Rose Bowl in 2007 was enough to get him another year. Besides, I think this weekend’s dismantling of Penn State in Happy Valley (for their Homecoming, no less) effectively saved his job. If he can get the Illini to beat in-state rival Northwestern in November, there’s no way he gets the gate.

Saves His Job If: He likely already has with the win at Penn State. This team has an outside shot a t a bowl game, with Big Eleven Ten puddles Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota left on the schedule.

Gets Fired Because: The team completely collapses from here. If they fail to win another game and look ugly doing it, even the Penn State win won’t save him. But that isn’t likely to happen.

Lane Kiffin, USC: Data Insufficient, But There Is Cause For Concern

Honestly, I didn’t have Kiffin on this list until late Saturday night. I’m not sure how the loss to Stanford plays into the situation at Southern California, but it can’t help. The Trojan offense looks just fine; sophomore QB Matt Barkley has been solid, if unnoticed because of the Trojans’ fall from grace. However, he has completed 113 of 174 passes for 1,517 yards, 15 touchdowns, 4 interceptions. For whoever understands how this works, his passing efficiency mark of 162.03 is 14th best in the country.  Even in Saturday’s loss to Stanford, Barkley was 28-for-45 and a career-high 390 yards.

But the Trojan defense has borne the brunt of the blame. The Stanford loss only underscored the fact the USC defense can’t get many stops, especially the crucial, late-in-close-games kind. The Trojans rank 100th in the nation in total defense, allowing 428.67 yards per game.

Here’s where this gets dicey. Since Pat Haden arrived as the new Trojan athletic director, it has become clear that Kiffin simply isn’t “his guy.” Kiffin has no real head-coaching credibility, and in the wake of the scandals that have brought down the Trojan program, Kiffin is seen as an embodiment of those days.

Saves His Job If: Being in his first year as the USC head coach, he has to maximize his “new guy” status. His big problem is all the time he spent under Pete Carroll as an assistant at USC. Plus, if the boosters chalk it all up to a “probation” year and aren’t in the mood for a pound of flesh, Kiffin lives to die another day.

Gets Fired Because: Haden judges him on the sins of the past and other off-the-field criteria. On the field, that defense needs to stiffen now, otherwise their may be at least four foreseeable losses in the upcoming schedule:

Oct 16:    California
Oct 30:    Oregon
Nov 6:   Arizona St.
Nov 13:    @Arizona
Nov 20:    @Oregon St.
Nov 27:    Notre Dame
Dec 4    @UCLA

Plus, losing to Notre Dame and/or UCLA certainly won’t help.

Nine Things We’ve Learned From The First Two Weeks of College Football 2010

1) The ACC sucks. When the class of this league all gets beat on one weekend, including a Georgia Tech loss to a sinking Kansas program, and Virginia Tech spitting the bit against James Madison, it is getting safe to say whoever this conference puts in the BCS will be sure to treat us to a 30-point loss. The performances of Florida State and Miami at Oklahoma and Ohio State respectively underscore that.

 

Dear Virginia Tech: When you can't beat a president who has been dead for over 150 years...

 

2) South Carolina is a legitimate threat to win the SEC East. We’ve all  been waiting to see what would happen when Steve Spurrier finally got a quarterback in Columbia; combine that with the facts that Florida has serious problems on offense, Tennessee flat-out sucks, and the Gamecocks have already beaten Georgia, and Spurrier’s side seems to have the inside track to the SEC Championship game.

3) Notre Dame is a fraud, Michigan will have to wait a bit before they are exposed as one. Sure, Michigan’s quarterback Denard Robinson is a stud, but he is the entire Wolverine offense. Contain him, and the Wolvies become as toothless as they have been the past two years. The talk of Notre Dame winning eight or nine games needs to be over now. It’s entirely possible the Irish don’t win again until they host Western Michigan.

4) Speaking of Notre Dame, Joe Montana’s kid is terrible.

 

Nate Montana bears a striking resemblance to his father until he picks up a football.

 

After quarterback Dayne Crist’s mysterious eye injury, Nate Montana completed 8 unremarkable passes, nine if you include the interception that got him yanked. I hope you saw him on Saturday, because legacy or not, he ain’t seeing the field again for quite some time. He stares down recievers, he was completely inffectual moving the offense, which is really the reason why he’s the third-stringer.

5) Penn State’s Rookie Quarterback Will Be Very Good…Someday. Robert Bolden showed flashes of greatness; he also threw two terrible interception. But, he’s a true freshman; right now he barely knows how to pee with out help. But that will change. When it does, he is going to have a very deep stable of running backs like Silas Redd to make the future in Happy Valley so bright JoePa may need to go back to the Transistions lenses.

 

Ehhh...sure is bright in here. Is that Cappeletti?

 

6) It’s never to early to start a Coaches’ Death Watch. The three most likely guys feeling the heat under their kiesters at BCS schools are Ron Zook at Illinois, Dan Hawkins at Colorado, and Rich Rodriguez at Michigan. Although, after this week I think one may one may safely add Tim Brewster from Minnesota (losing to FCS South Dakota when the boosters are expecting a good bowl game since they are only a year removed from building first-class facilities) and Brian Kelly at Notre Dame. Sure I understand Kelly is only on his second game on the South Bend sideline, but let’s face it; expectations are so stupidly-high in South Bend even Jesus himself would onnly get three years to be in a BCS game…and he better win it, otherwise Notre Dame becomes גבירתנו של כסף overnight.

7) Dan Dierking is the most interesting player you’ve never heard of.


Dan Dierking rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns to help Purdue beat Western Illinois 31-21 on Saturday in its home opener. Dierking has really stepped for the Boilermakers in the absence of Ralph Bolden. In all honesty, there are some legitimate concerns with the Purdue offense, but Dierking isn’t one of them. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; his father Scott was one of Purdue’s best backs during his days in West Lafayette in the 70’s. Bloodlines aside, how can you not love a 5’9″ 190-pound kid who benches a “clean” 435,  can run between the tackles, return kicks, and pees on the sidelines?

8 ) “Shower Discipline.” Really?

I thought this was a gag. But then I saw it involves Tennessee, and all surprise left me. It seems that a staph infection outbreak among several Vol football players left coach Derek Dooley with no option other than to conduct a team-wide clinic on proper showering technique and hygiene. I have to give Dooley credit here; he actually got these words out of his mouth while keeping a straight face:

“We’ve had a few staph infections, so we did a clinic yesterday on proper shower technique and soap and using a rag, Dooley said. We put some new rags in — y’all think I’m kidding, but I’m serious. We had, I told them, the worst shower discipline of any team I’ve ever been around. So we talked a little bit about application of soap to the rag and making sure you hit all your body. You know, you can neglect it trying to cut corners, and it shows in how you practice and elsewhere. I’m hoping we show some improvement in that.”

Oh, the questions this raises…How bad at showering and cleaning yourself do you have to be before your coach intervenes? Don’t you think that hygiene issues would have become very apparent during the two-a-day workouts? Did the Volunteers actually hire Bart Simpson as a training consultant for this exercise? Just what exactly is “shower discipline?” And after seeing pictures like this, are staph infections all Tennessee should be worried about?

9) We can dramtically simplify the Top 25 Rankings.

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Everybody else

Penn State ’10 – The Last Year for the Big Eleven

That’s right, with the addition of Nebraska beginning in 2011, the Big Ten will have twelve members. Gone are the days of hiding the “ten that is actually 11″ thing Escher-like in the conference logo.

Gone are the days of my being able to refer to this league as the Big Eleven Ten (I will be sticking with Big Tweleveten beginning in 2011 unless they change the name.) And gone are the days of Penn State being the figurative new kid on the Big Ten block.

But when the focus is returned to this upcoming season, what isn’t gone are the days of Penn State having an early loss. In fact, the Blue and White may have doubled-down on that trend as the Nittany Lions face the first schedule ever that features three teams that won BCS bowl games, and two of them are scheduled in the first five games. Even better, there is some huge irony in the fact the Lions get to play the role of the Christians in the Roman era, as they get to face all three away from Happy Valley.

September 4 – Youngstown State

Let’s be honest. This is merely a tune-up, Youngstown won’t mount any real opposition; instead, they will be happy to take a Happy Vally seal-clubbing, and return to Ohio check in hand.

September 11  – @ Alabama

This easily could be the Ghosts of College Football’s past. Back in the days when Penn State was still independent, a Joe-Pa vs. Bear Bryant contest was a regular on the schedule. Not to mention the Nittany Lions routinely faced an SEC team in their usual bowl game.

What do Elvis and Bear Bryant have in common? Most Alabamians think they are both still alive.

Now it is Alabama who is coming off a National Championship and enters this season ranked at the top of the food chain. Penn State will face a daunting task to win in Tuscaloosa, but if they do, look for The Blue and White to rocket up the rankings.

September 18 – Kent State

The Golden Flashes should be just another little Ohio school coming to collect a pot of gold for being another Lions’ sacrificial lamb. Although they have a hope Youngstown State doesn’t; a letdown after the trip to Tuscaloosa.

September 25 – Temple

Once again, Temple will be the second MAC representative to face the Nittany Lion buzzsaw. They also will likely become the first one to lose to a Joe Paterno-led team 26 times. Once again, this will just continue to put the in-state rival from Philadelphia in sole possession of the distinction of suffering the most losses to a Paterno-led team.

October 2 – @ Iowa

Last year, I dubbed this game The Rolaids Bowl. This year, I have made it official; Iowa has replaced Michigan as one of two “red circles of seething hate” on my Penn State schedule (of course, the Ohio State Suckeyes being the other). How does this game get such a distinction? Because fucking Iowa always finds a fucking way to win this fucking game. The last time Penn State visited Iowa City, they left having to swallow that miracle field goal. Iowa also returns a very solid team from that which won a BCS game back in January.

One of the most under-appreciated movies ever.

Then there’s the “ugly numbers;” such as Iowa’s 7-1 record in their last 8 games against the Nittany Lions in this decade, Penn State’s 7-10 record in Big Eleven Ten openers, and are only 3-3 in conference openers at Happy Valley and you see why the PSU faithful may need to keep the antacids handy.

October 9 – Illinois

Linguists have discovered "Zook" is an old Illini word meaning "3-9."

Illinois represents the first conference foe toward which I am officially dismissive. The salad days of Juice Williams, Arrelious Benn, and Rashard Mendenhall are long gone, and odds are head coach Ron “I never met a Coke machine I couldn’t head-butt” Zook have will be gone soon as well. Zook is clearly on the list of guys who need to win to save their jobs. Going to Happy Valley after what is likely a Penn State loss on the road doesn’t bode well for Coach “Z”picking up a “W” here.

October 23 – @ Minnesota

This will be Penn State’s first visit to Goldy F. Gopher’s new home in TCF Stadium. Having lived in Minnesota last year, I can tell you personally this is a beautiful facility. It is even better if you don’t look at the team Minnesota puts on the field. This program defines mediocre; being just good enough to make a low-level bowl game, but never being able to get over that hump. The combination of the new stadium that brought heightened expectations from boosters coupled with the mediocrity which has spanned two different head coaches means Tim Brewster is beginning to reek of the same cologne of desperation in which Ron Zook and Michigan’s Rich Rodriguez are marinating.

October 30 – Michigan

See the entries for the previous two games. First of all, Mi-shit-gan is the second conference foe that can be summarily dismissed. The math is easy: the “spread offense” without any real talent equals Purdue at the end of the Joe Tiller era when the Boilers’ douchebag AD started screwing around with the team. Secondly, there is the aforementioned “cologne of desperation” oozing from Coach “Forehead” Rodriguez’ pores.

Could Coach Four-head be foretelling Michigan's win total?

Michigan supporters simply won’t support any further slippage of this program; its “bowl or bust” for Rodriguez, and like Zook, he isn’t likely to get a helpful outcome in State College.

November 6 – Northwestern

Honestly, Northwestern scares me when Penn State has to go to Evanston. The Blue and White have only ever lost three times to the Wildcats; two of those occurring in Illinois. While Northwestern has improved to the point where they are no longer everybody’s homecoming patsy, the Wildcats tend to become the declawed kitties in Happy Valley.

November 13 – @ Ohio State

This very easily could be the conference championship game.  I won’t go through the litany of “what if” scenarios; suffice it to say if Penn State and Ohio State enter this game with less than two losses each, the implications could be huge.

Last time he went to Columbus, Joe Paterno proved there is a formula for beating the Ohio State Penitentary University. The calculus remains the same this year; if you want to see a Penn State win, you want to see a plodding, ball-control type game with stiff defense on both sides, something akin to watching two sloths using a rock to break open a coconut. If that happens, the blue sloth will win by a field goal.

November 20 – @ Indiana (FedEx Field, Washington, D.C.)

Now for the streak that has taken on even more meaning in the last year. Since joining the Big Eleven Ten, Penn State is 13-0 vs. the Hoosiers. However, on this day, I happen to be getting married to an alum of Indiana’s biggest rival. And even though Purdue isn’t on Penn State’s schedule this year, if for some odd reason the Nittany Lions lose this game, I will have no choice but to get an immediate divorce as I will not be shackled to a jinx.

November 27  – Michigan State

Since some things never really change, I’m just going to quote myself from last year.

“Picture it…State College, in a closet somewhere deep in the recesses of Beaver Stadium sits the Land Grant Trophy. It has been there for years, draped in a towel with years worth of dust on it. It’s two days before this game, and nobody can remember where they left the damn thing…it won’t matter, because they won’t need it…The reason is simple: the Spartans are always out of gas when they get to this game…and this year will be no exception.”

The bottom line: expect The Nittany Lions to be in a bowl game; BCS in the best case, and no worse than New Year’s Day in any event.

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