Firing of Pelini Speaks Volumes for Where College Football is Today

Even a winning percentage of .713 couldn't save Pelini in Nebraska.

If I had told you seven years ago that your university’s head football coach would have a record at your school of 67-27 (winning percentage of .713) and that he’d be fired for said record, what would you have said?

Let me answer that for you. What you would likely ask are the following questions.

Did we win a national championship? No.

Did we win a conference championship? Um, no.

Did we win a division title? Yes! Yes you did! You won four of them. One in the Big Ten and three in the Big 12!!

Great! Did we win the conference title games? Oooohh, that would be no.

Did we have any Heisman Trophy winners? Nope.

So we won a lot of big games then huh? Well, there’s the problem.

You mean we fired our coach because he couldn’t win big games? Bingo. And the fact that he was a total jerk on the sidelines…

Former Huskers' QB Scott Frost could be a leading contender to take over Nebraska.

This is what we have come to now in big time college football. You win nine or ten games a season but it isn’t nearly good enough and that’s exactly what happened with Nebraska.

The above narrative was about Bo Pelini if you haven’t figured that out by now. No titles, and losing all of the big games will get you shown the door regardless of what else happens.

The same thing has rung true at Florida where Will Muschamp has already cleaned out his office and at Michigan where Brady Hoke learned of his dismissal yesterday.

What’s different about those two situations however is that both had poor seasons that were used to support their respective ousters.

Muschamp and Hoke each had 11-2 seasons but the other years were anything but successful and in two proud football universities like those two, average and poor are not accepted.

What Nebraska has to realize is what many programs fight to accept and that’s that the good ol’ days are gone. There are plenty of Big Red fans who’d love to see a return to the option rushing attack of Tom Osborne but that isn’t realistic.

Football has changed drastically since Osborne left the sidelines and the faster the fan base recognizes this, the better. They must also accept the reality that Lincoln, Nebraska is not one of the top destinations any longer prized recruits to come.

If I can go to Tallahassee or Baton Rouge or Austin or any other warm climate why wouldn’t I? This just isn’t unique to Lincoln though. Other traditional powerhouses will lose recruits to teams in the south because of lower academic standards and a greater path to the NFL as well.

The top candidate to come to Lincoln appears to be Oregon Offensive Coordinator Scott Frost. Not only did he lead the Huskers to a National Title but he’s from Lincoln and his Ducks run the ball very well which would clearly make the traditional fan base happy.

The only hang-up here is do you want to follow up a first-time coach with another first-time head coach? That’s what Nebraska would be doing with the hiring of Frost. Other candidates will include Troy Calhoun of Air Force and possibly Craig Bohl of Wyoming who built a dynasty at North Dakota State. He’s also a former Huskers’ player.

One thing is for certain; the Huskers need to get this right and they need to get it done before the Gators and Wolverines bring in coaches they are targeting.

Traditional Powers are Reeling in College Football Plus My Latest Playoff Prediction

Brian Kelly's Irish have dropped four of five and Irish fans aren't happy.

It wasn’t that long ago that both Notre Dame and Nebraska were sitting in good shape for a potential playoff spot if things broke right for them. Both teams had started their respective seasons undefeated and even when both finally lost their first games, they were still in contention for some really good postseason news.

Nebraska’s loss was at Michigan State. The Cornhuskers fell behind but rallied late and nearly pulled off the comeback in East Lansing before losing by five points. It was a loss, but it was widely regarded as a “good loss” because at that point, Michigan State had lost only to Oregon in Eugene so losing to the Spartans was nothing to be ashamed of.

In South Bend, the feeling was that the Irish had been robbed in Tallahassee when their late, game-winning touchdown was called back because of a controversial pass interference call. So much like Nebraska, the Irish were still very much in play for a playoff berth should they run the table.

Things change quickly in collegiate athletics and college football is the prime example.

I imagine the Huskers will see lots of this face this week at practice.

Just weeks later, both of these traditional powers find themselves searching for answers. Nebraska has now dropped two straight games to Wisconsin and to Minnesota. Ironically, those two teams will be playing for the Big Ten West Division title next week in Madison while the Huskers will be playing for pride and bowl position against Iowa.

For the Irish, it’s been even worse. They struggled to put away Navy following the FSU loss since the win over the Midshipmen, Notre Dame has lost three in a row. The first of those was a sloppy loss at Arizona State and the last two have been at home to Northwestern and Louisville yesterday. The Fighting Irish are now 7-4 and still have USC to deal with.

Questions were already swirling about Bo Pelini’s fate in Lincoln and that will intensify this week. Brian Kelly can only ride the trip to the National Title Game so long before he starts to feel more pressure as well. His last two losses will not sit well with the Irish faithful.

Another traditional power on the outs is of course Michigan who dropped to 5-6 following a fourth quarter collapse and eventual loss to Maryland in what is sure to be Brady Hoke’s final game in Michigan Stadium.

The Wolverines now face the prospect of having to go to Columbus and defeat the Buckeyes in order to go to a bowl game and that ain’t happening. Michigan has suffered from horrible quarterback play and untimely defensive failures all year.

Interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett announced yesterday that the decision on Hoke’s future would be his to decide. Firing Hoke isn’t easy because he’s a likable guy and a ‘Michigan Man’ through and through but the evidence is overwhelming in favor of terminating him. The only thing that can save Hoke is a win over the hated Buckeyes but I can’t see it happening.

I expect Hoke to join Will Muschamp on the unemployment line very soon.

My Playoff Predictions for this week

1. Alabama – Revenge week begins as Auburn comes to Tuscaloosa.

2. Florida State – Yes, they struggled again but the name of the game is winning and they are doing that.

3. Oregon – Another ho-hum blowout this time over Colorado.

4. Mississippi State – The Bulldogs bounced back from their loss to Alabama by crushing Vanderbilt 51-0.

Still in the running… TCU, Baylor, Ohio State

Things Get Worse at Michigan; Where Do We Stand for the College Football Playoffs

Brady Hoke has lost control in Ann Arbor and just needs to go.

It’s pretty common knowledge that Michigan’s Brady Hoke is no longer on the ‘hot seat.’ It’s not that Hoke isn’t in serious trouble it’s that there is no seat under him to even be hot anymore. The latest nail in his maize ‘n blue coffin wasn’t even so much that blowout loss to Michigan State. It was his team’s behavior before the game and his reaction afterwords.

After taking the field in the annual ‘Backyard Brawl,” the Wolverines apparently drove a spike into the center of the Spartan at mid-field. Now before “Sparty” fan gets all high and mighty let’s not forget that it wasn’t too long ago that the Spartans stuck their flag in the center of Notre Dame Stadium following an upset of the Irish. Be that as it may, the actions by the Wolverines were tasteless and reeked of a team desperate for anything.

If you talk to Michigan alumni, they’ll tell you that’s the type of stuff that lesser programs used to do. Teams that needed to make their mark or gain attention through any means necessary. This was certainly not something Michigan did or would ever do but there it was and what made matters worse were Hoke’s comments afterwards.

The soon-to-be-fired Hoke claimed to know little if anything about what his team had done. Let’s consider just how dumb and how bad this looks on its’ own merits but then consider how badly it looks just weeks after Hoke claimed he didn’t realize his quarterback was nearly out cold.

Remember the Wolverines’ loss to Minnesota when Hoke started Shane Morris at quarterback? Morris was decked late in the game and while he tried to motion to the sidelines that he was ‘OK,’ he clearly was not as he stumbled and needed help getting to the sideline. Morris was later declared to have suffered a concussion and for Hoke and Athletic Director Dave Brandon it was a week of public discourse not seen in Ann Arbor perhaps in forever.

Brandon isn’t exactly off the hook either as he faces a huge push from the student body as well as the alumni to resign. My guess is that he will unload Hoke before anyone can unload him in a desperate chance to save his own job. Either way, but Hoke has demonstrated he really doesn’t have his fingers on the pulse of this team and that’s not good for anyone wearing the maize ‘n blue.

Don't sleep on Bo Pelini's Huskers who are flying under the radar right now.

Race to the Final Four

With Ole Miss’ loss in Baton Rouge, the college football playoff picture got a little more clear. Or did it? Auburn won at home but struggled with a very average South Carolina team. Mississippi State struggled at Kentucky while teams like Michigan State and Kansas State posted solid wins.

There is any number of one-loss teams right now waiting to pounce if one of the remaining unbeatens goes down. Two interesting two-loss teams to keep an eye on though as West Virginia and LSU. If things get really crazy, don’t count either of these teams out if they run the table because of the teams they will have beaten.

One other team to pay attention to is Nebraska. After hosting Purdue this week, they play at Wisconsin, host Minnesota and finish at Iowa. If the Cornhuskers run the table and presumably play a one-loss Michigan State or Ohio State in the Big Ten Title Game and they win, that becomes a one-loss team that cannot be ignored by the selection committee.

Baseball Playoffs Plus Michigan Continues to Struggle

Salvador Perez and the Royals are on to the AL Championship Series.

For the 40 plus years I’ve been alive the playoffs in Major League Baseball have changed significantly but the one thing that has never changed is what wins games in the postseason. If you can get great pitching and timely hitting then you are more than likely going to win yourself a championship or two.

It’s very clear that I underestimated both the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles who used this exact formula to advance to the American League Championship Series. Kansas City dispatched the American League’s best team in the Angels of Anaheim in a three-game sweep that was never close.

The Orioles rode very solid pitching and took advantage of a horrible Detroit bullpen to sweep the AL Central Champions in three games. Baltimore defeated Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price to accomplish the feat. No easy task but they got hits at just the right time and stayed patient as Tigers’ Manager Brad Ausmus was forced to go to his bullpen.

As for the Royals, they just might be that team of destiny we hear so much about. After squeezing into the wild-card, they then needed 12 innings to knock off Oakland in the play-in game. From there, the Royals used their pitching to almost completely shut down the powerful Angels’ offense.

I had both of these teams losing in the divisional rounds. I figured Detroit would ride its’ offense and starting pitching to a 3-1 victory and I believed the same of the Angels but the old truths about the playoffs haunted me as they did them. Of course I also had Washington beating the Giants (SF leads 2-0) and the Dodgers beating the Cardinals (series tied at 1) so I’m pretty sure I know absolutely nothing about baseball in 2014.

Michigan had no answer for Rutgers' Gary Nova in yet another loss.

More Mayhem at Michigan

Lost in much of the craziness that was college football weekend week six was the fact that Michigan dropped yet another game. This time it was a loss to new Big Ten member Rutgers in New Jersey. While I’ll say that I thought the Wolverines got jobbed a bit on their final drive in which a catch on the sidelines was ruled ‘not a catch,’ Michigan did itself no favors.

The defense has been thought of as the savior of this team but they were exposed all evening by the Scarlet Knights’ quarterback Gary Nova who threw for three touchdowns and over 400 yards. The offense at times looked better under Devin Gardner who took over at quarterback after giving way to Shane Morris last week.

The loss drops Michigan to 2-4 overall and to 0-2 in the Big Ten for the first time since dirt was discovered. It’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ Brady Hoke is fired as the head coach but rather a matter of ‘when.’ The man who hired him, athletic director Dave Brandon problem shouldn’t fare any better but he may survive if he handles the transition to a new coach properly.

Things are almost falling into line too perfectly for the marriage of former Wolverine QB Jim Harbaugh and the school. Several reports this weekend confirmed that this appears to be Harbaugh’s last year with the 49ers as players are apparently unhappy with him. It’s also no secret he doesn’t get along with the team’s general manager either.

While Harbaugh burned some bridges with many at Michigan in recent years, I believe he would be welcomed back. Usually when these stars align this well something comes along to ruin the pattern but time will tell for now.


‘Big Boy Business’ is Exactly What College Football is

Charlie Weis won just six games at Kansas and was sent packing this past weekend.

Saturday saw the end of one rather rotund head coach in college football while the seat underneath another one got about as hot as it can possibly get. While those things are happening there are also some pretty intriguing things on the horizon as college football enters October.

Kansas Cans Weis

The Kansas Jayhawks fired Head Football Coach Charlie Weis following their shutout loss to Texas. Weis went just 6-22 and also won just one Big 12 Conference game during his time in Lawrence. Weis took over after a disastrous stint from Turner Gill but he quickly put his stamp on the program by booting 29 players and Weis has since stated he regrets that decision.

My guess is that there is still a future in football for Weis but I have to believe it will just be as a coordinator perhaps at the NFL level.

No Rest for Hoke

Michigan’s Brady Hoke said after his Wolverines lost 30-14 at home to Minnesota that this is a “Big Boy Business” and he’s absolutely right. Hopefully he remembers this when he is sent packing. It is no longer a matter of ‘if’ but when Hoke is relieved of his duties. His team was physically dominated on both sides of the ball by a Minnesota team that had beaten Michigan just once in the last ten years.

Hoke’s problems initially began and ended with his quarterbacks but now it’s evident there are even more problems as his defense was run over and his offense is as listless as a sailboat without wind. At Michigan however, it’s one thing to struggle on the field but when you can’t put butts in the seats at Michigan Stadium then things really get serious. Right now “serious” is an understatement.

The ol' ball coach is already sitting at 2-2 in the SEC East.

Picks Gone Wrong

At the beginning of the season I said South Carolina would win the SEC East and for all I know they still could but that choice is looking more and more doubtful after they saw Missouri come back and beat them on Saturday night in Columbia. The Gamecocks are now 3-2 on the season and 2-2 in the SEC. They are the only SEC team to have played four conference games.

They’ve defeated Vanderbilt and Georgia but have lost two conference games at home to the Tigers and Texas A&M in the opener. South Carolina still has time but they’ll need help to win the East.

Another team I had winning their division was Virginia Tech and like South Carolina, they still have a great shot at achieving their goals but things need to get better. I thought for sure when the Hokies went into Columbus and upset Ohio State that this Frank Beamer-led team was on its’ way but they stumbled against a good East Carolina team and then lost their only conference game to this point against Georgia Tech.

The Hokies will only be as good as QB Michael Brewer is I believe and that’s a lot of pressure on the young man but there’s still plenty of time.

My Weekly Final Four Predictions:

Now that we are into October, I’ll give you my selections for the four teams that qualify for the College Football Playoff.

Michigan State – The only road block is when the Buckeyes visit East Lansing.

Oklahoma – Baylor visits November 8th.

Alabama – They still face tough challenges from A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn.

Oregon – They haven’t looked as dominant as other Ducks’ teams but who will beat them?

It’s a Good Time to Talk About a Little of Everything in Sports

Quit messing around MLB'ers! The game can speed up simply because of you.

If it sin’t already obvious to you I enjoy discussing football, both college and pro, more than any other sport. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the other sports because I do. Its just that I’ve always had a special place in my heart for football. Today I’ll certainly touch on that but I also have some thoughts on baseball and that’s where I’m going to start.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced yesterday that he will be forming a committee that will have the sole purpose of finding ways to speed up the game. I find this development very interesting because I’m pretty sure THERE ARE ALREADY THINGS IN PLACE TO SPEED UP THE GAME BUT THEY ARE NOT ENFORCED.

Sorry for the ‘all caps’ there but this is like having water to put out a fire yet you don’t use it for stupid reason. If you want to see games move along then let’s get pitchers back on the hill after talking to the sky for thirty seconds. Let’s get hitters back into the batter’s box rather than adjust their cups and re-velcro their batting gloves for a minute and a half between every pitch.

How about we stop specializing the game so darn much? Why do managers feel it necessary to make pitching changes based on so many factors that a nuclear physicist would get dizzy?

The fixes are already there for baseball but Selig, in one of his last parting moves of idiocy, wants a committee to investigate it. Sheesh.

Steve Bisciotti laid out his case yesterday but according to ESPN, it has holes.

Late yesterday, Baltimore Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti spoke to the media in regards to the handling of the Ray Rice situation and the recent ESPN Outside the Lines report. Bisciotti claims that Ray Rice’s camp manufactured the story that OTL reported. Bisciotti hadn’t even finished speaking and already ESPN reporters were standing by their story.

At it’s core, this is still about a man knocking a woman out cold. The waves that came from that punch are still rippling throughout the league and society in general. What is obvious is that the Ravens did two things; they clearly lobbied Goodell for a lighter suspension for Rice and they had access to the video a lot sooner than they originally claimed. If it can further be proven that the NFL conspired to keep this incident and video in particular under wraps than this is very far from over.

Michigan Head Football Coach Brady Hoke made it clear in his press conference on Monday that he believes this team still has much to play for and that includes a Big Ten title. I certainly don’t fault Hoke for being positive because that’s what coaches have to be when the chips are down. The numbers unfortunately say something much different however.

Hoke’s Wolverines are as bad offensively as it can get. They’ve scored just one offensive touchdown against a power five conference school in their last three games and that was a late TD against Kansas State in their bowl game. Devin Gardner has actually gotten worse in recent games dating back to last year. His decision-making is poor at best and he struggles mightily any time Devon Funchess isn’t available.

Michigan still has trips to East Lansing and Columbus this season among other Big Ten games and I honestly don’t see this offense getting any better anytime soon.

College Football Provides More Talking Points

Fisher Winston
Fisher Winston
Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston must have some kind of relationship.

What is it about college football that it seems to provide us with no shortage of great, terrible or just plain kooky moments? Yesterday was no exception as there were upsets, big wins and coaches seats that got hotter. Let’s start with the kooky stuff first.

Earlier in the week, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended for the first half of last night’s eventual OT win against Clemson. On Friday, FSU was not satisfied with Winston’s explanation and suspended him for the full game. So it was with some surprise that as the Seminoles took the field for warm-ups that Jameis Winston was fully dressed and participating.

The video, which I’m guessing you’ve seen by now, shows Head Coach Jimbo Fisher clearly disgusted over his QB’s decision. What I found really odd was that after Winston returned to the field without pads, you can clearly see Fisher apologize to him. My question is why and for what? Just what in the wide wide world of sports is going on at FSU?

How does your QB not know he shouldn’t be dressed for action? How forgets to tell him this nugget of information? Fisher apologizing to him tells me everything I need to know about who runs the team and it sure isn’t anyone named Fisher.

Will Muschamp has to be feeling the pressure as his Gators struggle.

Time to dust off the resumes’ for Hoke and Muschamp

It wasn’t exactly a secret when the season began that Michigan’s Brady Hoke and Florida’s Will Muschamp were both skating on thin ice in regards to their respective jobs. After yesterday’s performances I don’t think either man should plan to do any skating any time soon.

In Tuscaloosa, Muschamp’s Gators hung tough with his mentor’s Alabama Crimson Tide thanks to Bama miscues but in the end lost 42-21. The loss was one thing but the fact the Gators gave up a school record 645 yards and tallied only 200 of their own will not sit well with the Florida faithful. Prior to 2009, the Gators owned the SEC but now they will struggle once again to even reign in their own division.

In Ann Arbor, if were possible for a head coach to be fired during an actual game, this instance may have occurred while the Michigan Wolverines and Utah Utes waited out a storm delay of several hours with Utah holding a 26-10 lead. The frustration on social media was running hot and with good reason. Michigan would eventually lose by the same score.

During the game, Hoke was seen in a verbal argument with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison which will not do Hoke any favors as his team falls to 2-2 with wins against Appalachian State and Miami,OH. Going back to last year, the Wolverines lost five of their last six games and nearly lost games to UConn and Akron as well. Hoke may be a ‘Michigan Man’ but he is not getting the job done in any way, shape or form.

Other Items of Note

Raise your hand if you had Indiana as the one Big Ten team to salvage a significant non-conference win. The Hoosiers, who lost to Bowling Green last week, knocked off #18 Missouri in Columbia 31-27… Michigan State scored 73 in a win over Eastern Michigan and Georgia hit 66 in a win over Troy… Not to be outdone was East Carolina who bested North Carolina 70-41.

Five Fearless Predictions for College Football 2014

Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes will survive the loss of Braxton Miller and still win ten games.

There are any number of adjectives I could use to describe my predictions for college football 2014 but ‘fearless’ just seems right. After all, they are fearless. I mean, it isn’t like I should ‘fear’ any repercussions should my predictions prove untrue right?

Enough lip service. Here are some predictions sure to come true for college football this year.

1. Ohio State still wins 10 games despite the loss of Braxton Miller. Have you seen the Buckeyes’ schedule? The two biggest road games are at Navy in the opener and at Michigan State in what most expect will be for the Big Ten East Division title. While the loss of Braxton to season-ending shoulder surgery is a tough pill to swallow, it’s not like Urban Meyer suddenly forget how to recruit and how to coach. Even with a redshirt freshman quarterback I expect Ohio State to still win ten games.

Trevor Knight was great in last year's Sugar Bowl but I have concerns this season.

2. Oklahoma doesn’t make the Final Four. Everyone is jumping on the Sooners’ bandwagon and it all has to do with Trevor Knight’s performance against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Let’s think about this for a second; Alabama was playing a meaningless game after their difficult and heart-breaking loss to Auburn. They went from the number one team in the land and potential SEC Champ to a Sugar Bowl bid. Oklahoma Tech could have beaten Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last year based on this theory. Knight is a nice QB but I expect some less than good games along the way. Don’t be surprised to see the Sooners lose one or two they probably shouldn’t. One loss is enough to cost them a Final Four bid.

3. Florida State drops an unexpected game. By all accounts, the Seminoles could be better than they were last year but that doesn’t mean they are infallible. If you had to point to a game where the opponent could give them trouble, you’d say Oklahoma State, Clemson, Miami and Florida. I have a feeling they are going to stunned by an unexpected foe however. Don’t rule out a road loss to NC State or Louisville. Both environments will be rocking.

4. Michigan’s Brady Hoke will lose to both Michigan State and Ohio State. Again. I like Brady Hoke and I think  a lot of the Michigan faithful does as well but I think there’s one major problem with him and that’s that I don’t know how good of a coach he really is. Look at the losses in his time in Ann Arbor and you’ll notice multiple losses to Urban Meyer, Kirk Ferentz, Bo Pelini and Mark Dantonio. There’s no shame in losing multiple games to those coaches but at some point you have to start questioning whether he can get it done with his great recruiting classes. This year won’t be any better as the Wolverines have to go to both Columbus and East Lansing.

5. South Carolina wins the SEC. Yup. That’s what I said. South Carolina wins the SEC. The first clue was the fact that Head Coach Steve Spurrier has been flapping his trademark gums more than usual of late. Dating back to his days coaching the Florida Gators, that’s a sure sign that he likes his team. Secondly, the Gamecocks avoid both LSU and Alabama on the schedule. Their only two tough road games are at Auburn and at Florida. Normally I’d add Clemson to that list but Spurrier has owned the in-state Tigers. I like USC to win the SEC Title game over Alabama.

College Football Coaches Feeling the Heat in 2014

Mike London needs a bowl game at least to save his job at Virginia.

With many college football teams across the country getting ready to start camp in the next few days, it’s a good time to look at coaches who desperately need to win now or else they’ll be polishing up their resumes for jobs elsewhere.

Mike London, Virginia – After an 8-5 record in 2011, the Cavaliers’ top man has struggled to repeat that success. The last two seasons have seen UVa go just 6-20 and in the competitive world of college football that isn’t going to cut it. There is a lot of hope that things will turn around this season with a strong recruiting class but how much can be expected from freshmen this season?

The schedule isn’t going to help much as they host UCLA in the opener and then must travel to BYU, Florida State and Virginia Tech.

Verdict: If London goes 6-6 and gets to a bowl he’ll survive. Anything less and he can pack his bags.

Norm Chow, Hawaii – Once one of the hottest offensive coordinators in college football, Chow has been brutal as the head coach of the Warriors going just 4-20 in his first two seasons. The schedule isn’t horrible but will probably start with two losses as they host Washington and Oregon State. The one issues with the schedule? Three road games in the final four.

Verdict: 5-7 would probably save Chow’s job. Anything less and a return to the mainland is likely.

Charlie Weis needs to show some type of improvement in order to stay at Kansas.

Charlie Weis, Kansas – You’d think with a 4-20 record at Kansas, Weis was coaching as if he was being paid by another school. Oh wait, he is! Weis is still getting paid by Notre Dame who kicked him to the curb after the 2009 season. The good news for Weis is that he gets 17 starters back on offense and defense. The bad news is that his Jayhawks still have to travel to Duke, Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas State.

Verdict: Weis has to go 6-6 or better. It’s that simple.

Will Muschamp, Florida – The former Georgia Bulldog player has gone 22-16 at Florida and that might be good some places but not in Gainesville. Despite going 11-2 in 2012, the sting from a Sugar Bowl beatdown by Louisville and then a brutal 4-8 season in 2013 has left Gator fans wondering if Muschamp is the man for the job.

To be fair, the injuries were beyond normal last year but considering the talent on the roster, the record should have been better. Seven starters return on each side of the ball and that includes QB Jeff Driskel. The schedule is daunting especially on the road. UF has to go to Alabama, Tennessee and Florida State. They do get LSU and South Carolina at home but those are not going to be easy.

Verdict: Muschamp needs at least an eight-win season and with little drama or else he’s gone.

Brady Hoke, Michigan – Hoke was the ‘Michigan Man’ the faithful wanted following the RichRod Era and it started well with an 11-2 record and Sugar Bowl victory. The 26-13 record at Michigan is OK, but two straight seasons barely above .500 are not sitting well with Wolverines’ fans. Throw in the fact he is now 1-2 against both Michigan State and Ohio State and that puts serious heat under his bottom.

The road schedule is not kind. Michigan has road dates with Notre Dame, Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State.

The Verdict: With seven starters back on offense, eight on defense and several great recruiting classes, Hoke may need a nine-win season to keep his dream job.

Hot Seats and Hot Teams in College Football

Auburn under the direction of Gus Malzahn, can do serious damage to the BCS with a win over Alabama.

Here is what we know about the race to compete in the final BCS National Championship; Alabama is still number one and will face new number four Auburn on Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium. At stake is the SEC West Division title and a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Title game. Oh, they happen to fierce rivals too.

Sitting in the number two spot is Florida State. They host the Vandals of Idaho this past Saturday and hung 80 points on them. The Seminoles will finish the regular at rival Florida who by the way just lost to FCS team Georgia Southern at home in the Swamp. FSU also has the sexual abuse allegations hanging over quarterback Jameis Winston. Either way, the ‘Noles should beat the Gators and the will play a much weaker team in the ACC Title game.

The current odd team out is Ohio State. After crushing yet another Big Ten foe this past weekend, the Buckeyes are preparing for rival Michigan who is dealing with their own issues. With Baylor going down handily to Oklahoma State, the Buckeyes can only hope the same happens to either Alabama and/or Florida State.

Now besides Oklahoma State and Auburn, there are other one-loss teams that have dreams of moving up with losses by those top dogs. Clemson, Missouri and possibly Michigan State are still hanging around. Both the Tigers of Missouri and the Spartans can control a little of their own fate.

If Mizzou can get to the SEC title game and upset either Bama or Auburn, they would vault up significantly. Michigan State is in a similar position but needs more help because they currently sit at number 11 in the polls. They could move up though with an upset of the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Title game.

We will obviously know much more after this coming weekend but you really can’t beat the drama provided by so many teams this late in the college football season.

Two Hot Seats

I have to believe Muschamp is on the way out at Florida.

There are two very powerful programs that have some serious questions today and one might surprise you. In Gainesville, the heat on third-year head coach Will Muschamp was already scorching because he received the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ from the athletic director and school president. Then Saturday happened…. The Gators were defeated at home 26-20 by Georgia Southern who did not complete a pass the entire game.

The Gators had held the longest streak of going to a bowl game but that streak is over now as they fell to 4-7 on the year. In fairness, Muschamp has had to endure loads of injuries to his quarterback and running back among many others. That can’t be an excuse however because programs like this should be able to see guys step up and many of these guys didn’t.

I’ll be very surprised if Muschamp is still employed by the university following Saturday’s game against Florida State.

Perhaps the more shocking hot seat is the one Michigan head coach Brady Hoke finds himself on right now. Hoke was brought in to clean up the Rich Rodriguez mess and in some ways he did that. It doesn’t help though that his best season was his first and that was largely done with Rodriguez’s players.

When you coach Michigan, you have three responsibilities. You win Big Ten Titles, you beat Michigan State and you beat Ohio State. Hoke is now 1-2 against the Spartans and will more than likely be 1-2 against the Buckeyes after Saturday. Unlike the Gators, the Wolverines will go bowling but a likely 7-5 record is not going to keep the massive Michigan Alumni happy.

Hoke will get another year but it must be decidedly better than the last two.