Big 12 Coaches In The Hot Seat
By Steve Pipps
The college football-coaching carousel will be set in motion this season and it may be a little busier than 2013. Last season only seven head coaches from the Big 5 Conferences were replaced and from that group only two had been fired.
The Big 12 replaced only one head coach this off-season in Mack Brown at Texas, but with at least two coaches on the hot seat this season the end of 2014 is sure to see a shakeup.
Two coaches make the honorary hot seat list:
- Dana Holgorson
- Charlie Weis
It is tough to say whose seat is hotter at this point, so lets break it down.
Holgorson became the head coach of West Virginia in 2011 while the team was still a part of the Big East conference. That season the Mountaineers finished with a 10-3 record, the Big East Title and a record setting win in the Orange Bowl against Clemson.
That team had a number of weapons in Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. The Mountaineers were a high-powered offense that couldn’t be caught in the open field.
When Holgorson and the Mountaineers came to the Big 12, the team started off hot winning the first five games of the season including victories against No. 25 Baylor and No. 11 Texas. The Mountaineers crumbled and lost six of their next eight games finishing the season at 7-5.
2013 was another step back for the program when the Mountaineers finished 4-8 with a 2-7-conference record and missed reaching a bowl game for the first time since 2001.
It’s not entirely Holgorson’s fault. Moving conferences, especially moving to a big 5 conference, can be difficult. The Big 12 features teams with higher ranked recruits and legacies that help bring in both money and talent. West Virginia, coming from the Big East, needs time to acclimate to the new scene.
In 2014 the Mountaineers have the hardest schedule in the conference and one of the hardest in the country. The Mountaineers need to find their groove on offense and win at least seven games to help solidify Holgerson’s spot at the helm.
Charlie Weis is in no better of a position at Kansas. With a combined 4-20 record over his first two years as head coach Weis needs to prove that he is making strides if he wants to keep his job.
Making strides isn’t necessarily a six or seven win season, because that might be out of reach this season. Of Weis’ four wins only one has been to a conference team, WVU. The others were to Louisiana Tech, South Dakota State and South Dakota. Making strides means at least five wins including all non-conference games. A victory over Kansas State or Oklahoma State would help the cause as well.
Weis knows he is in a tough spot this season. He confidently named Montell Cozart the starting quarterback shortly after spring practices wrapped. He also brought in Miami University (OH) transfer Nick Harwell to help bolster an anemic wide receiver core.
There is no waiting around until next year for Weis. He has to be bold in his choices and do what is best for the team to win. The last five-win season for Kansas was in 2009 under head coach Mark Mangino. Weis needs to hit that mark to keep his job.
Weis has the harder job this season of the two. Holgorson has shown that he can lead a team to a seven and 10-win season. This coming season he has a strong base at quarterback with Clint Trickett leading the pack and Paul Millard, Skyler Howard and Logan Moore backing him up.
With the addition of FCS defensive end Sahquille Riddick, the WVU defense looks to stave off the strong offenses in the conference.
Kansas doesn’t have these upsides. Cozart isn’t a bad quarterback, but he still has a lot to prove after only 223 passing yards and no touchdowns last season in seven games. Weis also doesn’t have the small winning history that Holgorson has. Wies is 39-47 as a head coach and has only one bowl win in three attempts.
This is Weis’ best shot at bringing the Jayhawks a five win season and if that doesn’t happen he’ll be looking for a new coaching job in 2015.