Derek Dooley [Tennessee] Tennessee is a major SEC program with national ambitions. The last two years under Dooley have been pathetic. The Vols have had a 4-12 record in the SEC, including a 10-7 loss to Kentucky that cost them a bowl trip last season. They have fallen far enough to celebrate a close win against Vanderbilt. Seven Dooley assistants abandoned ship after 2011. Tennessee had to guarantee $2.4 million over three years to get Sal Sunseri to accept a promotion to coordinator. With big-time money and new facilities, patience will be minimal.
Randy Edsall [Maryland] How do you fire a coach after just two seasons? How do you keep a coach who has done this poorly? Randy Edsall inherited a nine-win team with a returning quarterback and went 1-10 in FBS. His Lieutenant Bligh-like reign has seen more than 20 players with eligibility depart. He has been equally as unimpressive off the field, alienating the media and now using a PR firm to soften his image. The best argument in his favor is the fact Maryland probably can’t afford to buy out him and his assistants. Kids may love the new uniforms. They will not love unrelenting failure.
Frank Spaziani [Boston College] Spaziani had an impressive spell as Boston College defensive coordinator under Tom O’Brien and Jeff Jagodzinski, with the Eagles averaging 8.8 wins from 1999 to 2008. He took over as head man in 2009 and the win totals have progressively declined. In 2011, the team needed a late rally to finish with a 3-8 FBS record. Boston College has finished in the Top 100 in total offense just once since Matt Ryan left in 2007. Profound boredom is fine, if you’re winning. Spaziani may not survive another year floundering in a winnable ACC.
Mike Riley [Oregon State] Mike Riley averaged nine wins per season from 2006 to 2009. He has won eight games the past two seasons. 2010 was hard luck. The Beavers finished 33rd in SRS, but lost to TCU and Boise State non-conference and had two conference losses by less than a field goal. In 2011, the Beavers were just bad, finishing 80th in SRS and losing at home to Cal State Sacramento. They have been far outpaced by Oregon in the Civil War. With improvement probable at Stanford, Washington and Washington State, the Oregon State is in danger of being passed over by the rest of the Pac 12 North. Riley had a great run. He is experienced, likable and a Corvallis native, but a third year outside of bowl play may be his last.
Jeff Tedford [California] Tedford is Cal’s most accomplished coach since the 1950s, though his reign has begun to sour. The Bears have won 12 games the past two seasons, going 3-9 on the road. Tedford’s forte has been as a quarterback guru. The last time Cal ranked in the Top 60 in FBS in passer rating was 2007, when they finished 52nd. Cal is set to move forward with new facilities, a revamped stadium and an influx of Pac 12 TV money. They need to move forward in a division with Stanford, Washington and Washington State fast improvng. Tedford needs to prove this season he is the man to guide them.
[Photo via Getty]