The regular season ended for most teams last Saturday. So did the tenures of a number of coaches. We took a look at the coaching carousel might look like before the carnage began. Here’s a look at those ousted and a guess at their possible replacements.
Dennis Erickson (Arizona State): The Sun Devils reached their first bowl since 2007, but losing five of six to close the season was unimpressive. Even worse was who they lost to. UCLA, Washington State and Arizona each had or were in danger of having a new head coach next season. Erickson’s ASU lost to all three, in consecutive weeks. We’ll guess ASU allows the Leach rumors to fester, tries for Sumlin initially and, unwilling to wait until after the bowl game, ends up with former assistant Ron English.
Larry Porter (Memphis): The former LSU running backs’ coach inherited a program that went to five bowl games in seven seasons. He won two FBS games in his two seasons and had a 1-15 record in Conference USA. That’s how you get fired after just two years. They will want an established name for fundraising efforts. Mike Leach will think he can do better. So will the up and comers. We’ll guess Terry Bowden.
Neil Callaway (UAB): UAB hired Neil Callaway in 2007 after the school’s Bama-minded board of trustees blocked them from extending an offer to Jimbo Fisher, then in play to be Alabama’s offensive coordinator. He did what they expected, going 18-42. Expect the next coach to be cheap, ineffectual and Tuscaloosa-approved.
Paul Wulff (Washington State): I can’t say I understand this one. Yes, Paul Wulff had a 9-40 record, at a school that had once played in Rose Bowls. However, he inherited an absolute mess. His team showed signs of life last season. This year, they won four games, despite losing expected star quarterback Jeff Tuel to injury. A couple better breaks and they could have gone bowling. They look poised to break out next year. He deserved another year. The Seattle Times claims Leach is the top candidate.
Rick Neuheisel (UCLA): UCLA brought in Rick Neuheisel to close the gap with USC. He lost 50-0. Pistol Rick struggled recruiting, assembling a coaching staff and rousing the players. He squandered the chance to establish a beachhead during a USC downturn. He equaled the best regular season finish of his tenure this season, 6-6. UCLA will make a play for Chris Petersen and fail. The next call will be to Kevin Sumlin who will have better offers. Then, they will turn to Tom Cable or Mike Martz who will accept the job and not be successful.
Rob Ianello (Akron): If the Zips weren’t the worst team in FBS, they were close. LeBron’s hometown team was 118th in points scored and 116th in points allowed. They gave up 189 points in the final four games against Miami of Ohio, Kent State, Buffalo and Western Michigan. One FBS win in two seasons? Not going to cut it. Though, he received the news in about the worst way possible. We’ll guess someone on the Ohio State staff not returning or former Grand Valley State coach and current ND assistant Chuck Martin.
Ron Zook (Illinois): Unfortunately, “pulling a Ron Zook” was not a colloquial term for being really awesome. He took the Illini to the 2007 Rose Bowl, but never recreated that magic. His late season collapses became inevitable (3-13 in regular season games after Nov. 1 since 2008). The worst came this season – an 0-6 finish after a 6-0 start. He seems like a swell fellow, just not the most capable head coach. Illinois AD Mike Thomas made the Brian Kelly hire at Cincinnati. Desperate to claim Chicago and make B1G noise, we expect him to go big. The first play will be for Sumlin, who has B1G roots.
Turner Gill (Kansas): Kansas went from mediocre to awful under Turner Gill. In year two, they were 1-10 against FBS teams. Their average MOV was -21.5. The Jayhawks’ B1G highlight was blowing a 21-point fourth-quarter lead against Baylor. There’s no building from this. We’ll guess Larry Fedora, if he doesn’t get the Ole Miss job. Moderate Leach potential.
[Photo via Getty]