Monday, October 6, 2008

ACC Football Coaching Hot Seat

The ACC has certainly been under a lot of scrutiny lately, and with good reason. No team is in the top-15, a number of big losses on the national stage, and the top teams have been real disappointing. With a disappointing season in the works, what coaches are in trouble of losing their jobs?

(Note: All statistics provided by Coaches Hot Seat)

Boston College (4-1, 1-1 ACC)
--Head Coach: Jeff Jagodzinski (2nd season, 15-4 record with BC): SAFE
I'm sure Jagodzinski is happy Matt Ryan gave him a great first year, but he didn't need him long term. He's a new coach and is doing well to start. Both conference games were road games, a close loss to Georgia Tech and a close win against NC State. He'll easily be around next year.

Clemson (3-2, 1-1 ACC)
--Head Coach: Tommy Bowden (11th season, 72-44 record with Clemson): IN DANGER
Bowden may have a decent record at Clemson, but decent doesn't cut it in Death Valley. This year's squad was supposed to compete for a national title and is hands down the most disappointing team in the conference. An embarrassing loss to Alabama on national television and a real let down against Maryland. If Bowden doesn't turn this around with an ACC Championship, he'll be looking for a job elsewhere.

Duke (3-2, 1-1 ACC)
--Head Coach: David Cutcliffe (1st season, 3-2 record with Duke): SAFE
Before this year, Duke has the fewest wins this decade in the BCS. So far, Duke has had a decent start this season, and Cutcliffe may have this team going in the right direction. Though the Blue Devils have a lot to do in terms of scheduling and recruiting, a close loss to Northwestern and win over Navy is a good opening sign.

Florida State (4-1, 1-1 ACC)
--Head Coach: Bobby Bowden (33rd season, 304-86-4 with FSU): SAFE, FOR NOW
It is hard to imagine Bobby Bowden ever getting fired because of all he has done for Florida State, including two national titles. But he'll turn 79 next month and Florida State hasn't been stellar the last few years, including an academic scandal last year on many players. Right now, his 4-1 record including a win at Miami will quiet many of the critics, but a tough ACC schedule awaits. He'll probably never get fired, but someone at Florida State might want to have him retire.

Georgia Tech (4-1, 2-1 ACC)
--Head Coach: Paul Johnson (1st season, 4-1 record with GT): SAFE
Everyone enjoying the triple option offense down south? Right now the Yellow Jackets run more than four rushes for every pass. Paul Johnson has done well to begin with Georgia Tech, and like Cutcliffe, he'll have a few years before anything serious happens. A close loss against Virginia Tech is the only thing keeping them from the rankings.

Maryland (4-2, 1-1 ACC)
--Head Coach: Ralph Friedgen (8th season, 60-33 record with UMD): SAFE
It is always fun around College Park, one day the Terps are losing to Middle Tennessee State, the next day they are beating up California. While Friedgen may anger many Maryland fans this year with bad losses to MTSU and Virginia, and a lot of his success came in earlier years, the fact that he does fundraising for Maryland (which most coaches wouldn't dream of) and that he has decent success will keep him around his alma mater.

Miami (2-3, 0-2 ACC)
--Head Coach: Randy Shannon (2nd season, 7-10 record with Miami): SAFE, FOR NOW
Randy Shannon has had great recruiting classes come into Miami, but so far success has not come out. If this were a less prestigous school, Shannon would get a 5+ years to work with, but Miami, a school that has five national titles, won't wait long for Shannon to turn his recruits into gold. A big loss to Florida and two home ACC losses aren't good. Shannon will be fine for now so he can work two stellar recruiting classes next season, but Miami will not wait long.

North Carolina (4-1, 1-1 ACC)
--Head Coach: Butch Davis (2nd season, 8-9 record with UNC): SAFE
Like Shannon, Butch Davis has also been getting great recruiting classes for his team, but the difference is UNC doesn't have as big a history and most losses were competitive. The Tar Heels now have a ranking and are looking like a future powerhouse. Had they held on against Virginia Tech they'd be in the top-15 by now thanks to a big win against Connecticut. Watch out for North Carolina, Davis's coaching skills and great recruiting will lead to tremendous success soon.

N.C. State (2-4, 0-2 ACC)
--Head Coach: Tom O'Brien (2nd season, 7-11 with N.C. State): SAFE, FOR NOW
Normally a head coach in his second year wouldn't have many serious critics. But NC State is another school that doesn't take kindly to lack of success (in their eyes of course), and O'Brien's teams haven't looked very strong to begin his tenure. It isn't helping that they have a very difficult schedule, including losses to South Carolina, Clemson, and South Florida, but the Wolfpack will want to see some better play soon.

Virginia (2-3, 1-1 ACC)
--Head Coach: Al Groh (8th season, 53-40 with UVA): IN DANGER
Some thought he would have been gone after 2006, but a strong 9-4 season in 2007 quieted some of the critics. But this season UVA has gotten wasted by USC, UConn, and Duke, and the calls for his head have arisen again. The dominating win over Maryland will help Groh's cause, but the damage is severe and probably only eight wins will satisfy Virginia with the good recruiting classes they've been getting. Even though Groh hasn't done terribly with his alma mater, he will lose his job if the Cavaliers don't turn this season around.

Virginia Tech (5-1, 2-0 ACC)
--Head Coach: Frank Beamer (22nd season, 172-86-2 with V-Tech): SAFE
A little bit of a rough start with a loss to East Carolina, but they've rebounded with close wins against UNC, Georgia Tech, and Nebraska to get back to the rankings. The simple fact is that Frank Beamer is a good coach that recruits well at his alma mater, he's staying until he chooses to retire.

Wake Forest (3-1, 1-0 ACC)
--Head Coach: Jim Grobe (8th season, 49-40 with Wake): SAFE
While I'm not as convinced as everyone else that Grobe is an amazing coach, he's done a good job with Wake Forest, leading them to an ACC Championship two years ago. So far he's needed his star kicker to win him games, notably Florida State, but Wake Forest hadn't seen success in 50 years until Grobe, so he's perfectly fine in Winston-Salem.

It'll be interesting to see how things turn out in the conference, we could see a number of head coaching changes.

(Photo credits: ESPN (Friedgen, Bowden), Orlando Sentinel (Shannon))


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