It was another riveting week of college football with a myriad of twists and turns. From devastating injuries to newly fired coaches, this was the week that turned the season on its head. Let’s break it down with two minute drill takeaways!
First and 10 at the 25: Ohio State got it right where FSU didn’t. As a diehard Miami fan, it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the buckeyes. However, they do deserve great kudos for their amiable handling of the JT Barrett debacle. Shortly after being named the new starting quarterback, Barrett was arrested for DUI. Ohio State acted quickly, suspending him based upon program regulations, and suspended his scholarship for a semester. They punished him harshly but fairly, and did not include football in their decision making. Major college programs should take notes from OSU on how to handle if their star player is involved in an off field incident. This sharply contrasts the utter corruption and incompetence of FSU’s handling of the Jameis Winston sexual assault allegations and crab stealing (I still can’t believe that actually happened). Florida State should learn from this.
Second and 10 at the 25: Picking ideal hires for the newest head coach openings.
Hawaii: June Jones
- Hawaii is a sinking program at the moment in desperate need of a saviour. There aren’t a whole lot of coaches who would take the job, but there’s one who would and has been there before. June Jones has a lot of problems as a coach (especially when it comes to recruiting), but he’d be a great hire for Hawaii. He’s had experience resurrecting their program once (bringing them all the way to the Sugar Bowl and a #10 ranking!), and he won’t have many other opportunities for another head coaching job so he’s acquirable for a struggling program. This is his last shot, and Hawaii can land him hoping he can recapture the magic of the early 2000s.
UCF: Mario Cristobal
- UCF is a deceptively good job with rapidly improving facilities and a huge fanbase/market. Cristobal has been rumored incessantly to a different school in Florida, but he’d actually be a better fit at UCF. He needs another middle tier job before taking a major one, and UCF is right up his alley. He’d be able to slowly build a program like he almost did at FIU (unfortunately the stupidity of AD Pete Garcia did him in) while recruiting Florida like a madman. He has experience building a program, he’s the best Florida recruiter in the business, and he’s learnt under the great Nick Saban. He’d be a homerun hire.
Virginia Tech: Rich Rodriguez
- This is somewhat contingent on the Hokies convincing Bud Foster to stay on as defensive coordinator. The folks in Blacksburg haven’t had a great (even good) offense in their ranks since the days of Michael Vick in the early 2000s, and if the program wants to take the next step, they’ll need to move past Beamer ball into all around great football. Rodriguez is dying to be back on the East Coast at a true powerhouse, and Virginia Tech would be a great fit. Imagine pairing the nasty Bud Foster defense with the electric Rich Rod offense. It could be something truly special…
1st and 10 on the 50: Kevin Sumlin needs to put up or shut up. This won’t be a popular statement, but I think Sumlin’s work at TAMU has been vastly overrated. He’s without a doubt brought swagger and flash to the program, but at the end of the day he hasn’t really won. He’s on pace for an 8-4 finish in year 4… That’s not good enough for a program with as great resources as he has at his disposal. Meanwhile, we’ve seen a troubling failure to commit to a quaterback year after year. He benched Kenny Hill last year even though he was performing fairly well, and did the same to Kyle Allen this year. Sumlin keeps acquiring stud quarterbacks, but he gets so over excited by them that he can’t stick with one. Sumlin needs to cut out the nonsense and start winning.
1st and 10 on the 40: Same goes for Bret Bielema… Let me make this perfectly clear: Bret Bielema is a good football coach. However, he shouldn’t be 4-4 in his third year. This was the year the Razorbacks were supposed to take the next step. Sure, they’ve had a rough go of it with injuries and most analysts cautioned against the preseason hype, but this team has underachieved under his watch. They should be a solid 8-4 football team at this point, and they’re not where they need to be. It is way too early to start lighting a fire under his seat, but maybe it is time to put a hot plate there.
2nd and 4 on the 34: And Gus Malzahn! The notebook this week is horribly heavy with coaching hot seat watches, but for good reason… This year is shaping up to be a potentially seismic shift in the coaching landscape, the likes of which have never been seen in the history of college football. Nobody seems entirely sure what is the matter with Auburn this year. The talent is mostly there (although some deficiencies on defense would provide justification for some struggles), so why are they sitting at 4-4 an 1-4 in the SEC? The coaching simply hasn’t been up to par, and if they can’t scrape into a bowl game expect some wholesale changes to be made. Malzahn at the moment is looking closer to Gene Chizik than Tommy Tuberville.
Touchdown: Mark Richt and Georgia are speeding to a divorce. It seems more and more imminent every day that Richt will be out one way or the other by the end of the season. He simply has been good but not great. He’s consistently put up ten win seasons in the brutal SEC while pumping a multitude of players into the NFL. That would be more than enough for most programs, but this is Georgia. You need titles. A down season this year could catalyze immense frustration for a Bulldogs fan base wondering why the administration is content with mediocrity. It’s hard to say if the firing is warranted, but one can easily see a change of scenery seems to be needed for Richt. And Georgia might provoke him into that change…
It was a great week of football, and we can’t wait for next Saturday. Stay tuned for more updates and analysis!