Last coach: Lane Kiffin
Interim coach: Ed Orgeron
The entire culture of USC over the last 13 seasons has been centered around Pete Carroll. It was Carroll who took over for the overwhelmed Paul Hackett in 2001. It was Carroll who almost immediately returned the program to national prominence, winning two national championships, finishing in the national top four in seven consecutive seasons and taking six of the seven BCS bowl games the Trojans played.
It was also Carroll who beat the NCAA out the door, fleeing for Seattle just as the santions police were closing in on Southern Cal. Longtime athletic director Mike Garrett was forced out due to the sanctions, but not before he had installed former Carroll assistant Lane Kiffin as head coach and retained much of Carroll's staff.
This hire falls to Pat Haden, who is not as beholden to the Carroll regime as Garrett was. The big question is whether Haden has any loyalty to Carroll's lieutenants at all. Kiffin was one of them. Top candidate Steve Sarkisian used to be one. And Ed Orgeron, interim coach, was Carroll's assistant coach, defensive line coach, and recruiting coordinator for the good years before flaming out as head coach at Ole Miss.
Orgeron is not going to get the USC job -- that stint at Ole Miss should guarantee that -- but his appointment as interim coach could be a sign that Haden isn't quite ready to break up with the Carroll era just yet. And that is probably a bit of good news for Sarkisian.
Last coach: Paul Pasqualoni
Interim coach: T.J. Weist
If the chances of Orgeron -- who, ironically, coached defensive line for Pasqualoni at Syracuse -- getting the USC job are slim, the odds of T.J. Weist keeping the UConn job are nil. The 48-year-old Weist was elevated to the top spot after just four games as the offensive coordinator. He had a long stay at Western Kentucky as coordinator and assistant head coach for Jack Harbaugh and David Elson. Also, he played and coached under Ray Perkins and Bill Curry at Alabama. But UConn is going to swing for their relatively-modest fences with this hire, and an unknown first-time head coach won't be the spark the Huskies need.
Last coach: Don Treadwell
Interim coach: Mike Bath
This is what happens when you lose to Dan Enos. Last week, Treadwell was just on the Hot Seat radar. This week, he's unemployed after his RedHawks lost 21-9 at home against Central Michigan. In a conference chock full of horrible teams, Miami might be the worst.
Treadwell leaves with an 8-21 record as a head coach. For those who followed him at Michigan State, it comes as a bit of a surprise. Treadwell led the Spartans to wins over Notre Dame and Wisconsin while Mark Dantonio recovered from a heart attack in 2010. He had coached for 27 years before taking the Miami job. He seemed almost overqualified for a downtrodden MAC team. For whatever reason, he never got it to work.
Bath preceded Ben Roethlisberger as quarterback for the RedHawks, joined the staff as a graduate assistant in 2004, and, aside from a two-year stint at Division II Ashland University, has never left. Miami is already 0-5 and ranked 125th nationally in scoring offense and 108th in scoring defense. But if Bath can somehow string together wins against UMass and Akron in the next two weeks, grab an upset out of the last five games on the slate and leave fans with a pleasant thought, he just might have a chance to take the job permanently.
Mack Brown, Texas
Last week: Defeated Iowa State 31-30
Overall record: 236-119
School record: 149-45
Three-year record: 20-11
Three-year dollars per win: $803,063
Buyout: $2.75 million
Football ratio: 63.7%
The good news for Brown: his Longhorns are 2-0 in the Big 12 and still very much in play for a conference championship.
That's about it.
Texas probably should have lost in Ames Thursday night, surviving by virtue of yet another beneficial late-game refereeing decision in its favor. The controversial victory only further fanned the flames under Brown's chair. A Pete Thamel column in Sports Illustrated on the downfall of Texas athletics put a flashlight on Brown's recruiting and player development issues, and the announcement that athletic director DeLoss Dodds' successor will be selected in December, despite the fact that Dodds won't retire until August, is an especially bad sign for the 16-year head coach. Oh yeah, and the Longhorns face Oklahoma next week.
Mack's not going to get fired mid-season; both Dodds and university president Bill Powers like Brown and want him to retain his dignity, and Texas won't be looking for a new coach until the new AD is picked regardless of when Brown shuffles off this mortal coaching coil. But if Texas loses to the Sooners this weekend, it's a question of when, not if.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska
Last week: Defeated Illinois 39-19
Overall record: 53-21
School record: 53-21
Three-year record: 23-9
Three-year dollars per win: $375,000
Buyout: $4.5 million
Football ratio: 65.4%
When a tape of Bo Pelini cursing Nebraska fans and the local press surfaced after a tough loss to UCLA, talk was that the person who had released the tape had held it until the worst possible moment for Pelini before providing it to the world. Those people clearly hadn't looked at Nebraska's schedule: In the six weeks after the UCLA loss, the Huskers face South Dakota State, Illinois, Purdue, and Minnesota. They should have little trouble going to 7-1 before encountering Big Ten Legends Division contenders Northwestern, Michigan, and Michigan State in early November. All things considered, Nebraska again looks like a division favorite, and a 10-2 season could well be enough to save Pelini. It's all Pelini can do to save his job. It remains to be seen if that will, in fact, be enough.
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
Last week: Defeated NC State 28-13
Overall record: 109-109
School record: 76-77
Three-year record: 14-17
Three-year dollars per win: $483,171
Buyout: Unknown; $9 million left on contract
Football ratio: Unknown
Here's a scenario: Your team is 2-3 with wins over Presbyterian and Army, a home loss to Louisiana-Monroe, and a seven-touchdown deficit in your conference opener. Your offense, typically built around the running game, is inept. The defense has been competent, but again: Presbyterian, Army, and Louisiana-Monroe are on the schedule.
So what do you do? Handily beat 3-1 NC State, of course. Because the ACC will always be the ACC.
The Wolfpack aren't quite world-beaters -- they have a new coach and some questionable wins of their own -- but they looked exponentially better than the Demon Deacons against Clemson. The victory temporarily stops the bleeding in Winston-Salem, the Deacons now have an off week before an interesting matchup with Maryland, and writers are focusing on the problems of basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik far more than those of Grobe. He has a chance.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Last week: Lost 59-26 vs. LSU
Overall record: 31-25
School record: 31-25
Three-year record: 17-14
Three-year dollars per win: $467,647
Football ratio: 38.3%
When the knock against you is that you feast on non-conference cupcakes, but underperform in conference games, losing by 33 at home to drop to 0-2 in the SEC doesn't do much to change perceptions. Mississippi State has annihilated Troy and Alcorn State, but stands at 2-3 after a lethargic non-conference loss to Oklahoma State and conference defeats at the hands of Auburn and LSU. If the Bulldogs remain true to form, they'll dominate Bowling Green next week, and could extend their record to 4-3 against Kentucky to close October. But a run of South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Alabama to open November could determine Mullen's fate before the Egg Bowl kicks off on Thanksgiving Day.
Mike London, Virginia
Last week: Lost 48-27 against Ball State
Overall record: 42-29
School record: 18-24
Three-year record: 14-16
Three-year dollars per win: $547,813
Buyout: $2 million
Football ratio: 21.4%
It's probably time we talk about Mike London, who increasingly looks incapable of turning around a gradual slide at Virginia. Sophomore quarterback David Watford has just three touchdowns and seven interceptions, and the Cavs are 110th nationally in passing offense as a result. The season-opening win over BYU that gave London some breathing room is now ancient history, buried under a 21-point home defeat against a MAC squad that previously lost to North Texas. Duke looks like the only eminently winnable game left on the Cavaliers' schedule, and the November slate -- Clemson, UNC, Miami, and Virginia Tech -- looks particularly brutal. And when just 38,228 are showing up for your games, the time is drawing near.
Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last week: Defeated Miami (Ohio) 21-9
Overall record: 15-28
School record: 15-28
Three-year record: 12-19
Three-year dollars per win: $81,400
Football ratio: 24.8%
Enos won last week's Battle of Who Could Care Less against Miami, leading to the immediate termination of the RedHawks' head coach. His Chippewas now have games against MAC championship competitors Ohio, Northern Illinois, and Ball State before three winnable contests close the season. Pick off a win in those three -- the trip to Ball State is probably the most likely -- and sweep the final three, and a 6-6 record makes Enos safe.
Ron English, Eastern Michigan
Last week: Lost 42-14 at Buffalo
Overall record: 11-42
School record: 11-42
Three-year record: 9-20
Three-year dollars per win: $120,172
Football ratio: 23.9%
In this day and age, most coaches get three years to turn around a struggling program. Lucky ones -- coaches at historically downtrodden programs, or coaches showing modest improvement -- might get a fourth season. English got a fifth, largely on the basis of a 6-6 campaign in 2011 and his ties to the nearby Michigan football program. But there are few excuses left for English, who has not broken the two-win mark in any season but 2011, and the schedule offers even fewer routes of escape: somehow, Eastern Michigan does not play UMass, Miami or Akron, though the Eagles do get directional Michigan rivals Western Michigan and Central Michigan in November. Barring a miraculous turnaround, it could be too little, too late for English.
Ron Turner, Florida International
Last week: Defeated Southern Miss 24-23
Overall record: 43-65
School record: 1-4
Three-year record: 1-4
Three-year dollars per win: $500,000
Football ratio: 30.3%
FIU is paying Mario Cristobal a buyout. It has that absurd 80 percent subsidy. Turner's contract includes an equally absurd buyout. And, as crazy as AD Pete Garcia is, I don't think he has the capital -- financial or political -- to fire yet another coach. Plus, though the Golden Panthers have some of the nation's worst statistics on both sides of the ball, they are still 1-0 in Conference USA after this week. Everything's coming up roses!
Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last week: Off
Overall record: 89-51
School record: 9-34
Three-year record: 7-23
Three-year dollars per win: $214,286
Buyout: $1 million
Football ratio: 13.7%
UNLV got a week off before the QUEST FOR BOWL ELIGIBILITY begins again against Hawaii Saturday. It, like the last three games, is a must-win for Hauck, because there aren't three more wins on that schedule.
Charley Molnar, UMass
Last week: Lost 28-7 at Bowling Green
Overall record: 1-16
School record: 1-16
Three-year record: 1-16
Three-year dollars per win: $801,250
Buyout: $1 million
Football ratio: Unknown
As expected, UMass struggled at Bowling Green, but life might have lended Molnar a hand: the Minutemen get recently-coachless Miami (Ohio) at home this week. With Western Michigan and Akron also visiting suburban Boston in coming weeks, the embattled UMass coach should have at least a couple of opportunities to show some improvement. Win two and he might have a chance.
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