Last week College Gridiron 365 identified five coaches this offseason who are on "the hot seat," one of them part of a conference less prestigious than the ACC, and that would be Central Michigan's Dan Enos.
Couple things here. One, the "hot seat" is a phrase that's tossed around much regarding coaches who are likely to be fired. And I imagine that coaches do a great amount of sitting down, whether it's a bus/airplane to a road game, a potential recruit's sofa, or their very own office where they make calls or study film or perhaps sleep sitting down, because these people work crazy hours and it's not something I'd ever want to do. But we mostly see coaches standing up and being rather mobile on the sidelines. Hot seat? How about "hot headset" or "hot visor"? Five Coaches Wearing Hot Visors. This makes much more sense to me.
Dan Enos has a very hot visor. His team has won six teams in two years and now he had to kick players off his team after being arrested for either growing mushrooms or selling mushrooms or perhaps stealing cars used for a fledgling 'shroom business. 9 out of 10 mushroom businesses run by NCAA football players fail within the first six months, and this type of extracurricular, while neither condoned nor facilitated by the man, could certainly add to the pile of reasons why Enos is the most likely fired MAC coach at the end of the year.
But! Let's rank 'em.
1. Dan Enos, Central Michigan, as previously mentioned.
2. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo — His team is not embroiled in criminal silliness but they're not winning either. Seasons of 2-10 and 3-9 are all he's got so far, and he's entering dreaded Year Three. Something along the lines of 5-7 or 6-6 will be required, for a reprieve until 2013. But it is Buffalo, where only Turner Gill has won since the program hath been restored to top division glory. They gave Jim Hofher four years so perhaps they'll also see his recruits out until their junior/senior seasons.
3. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan — When I put Cubit third, this is the list is created by me and not vetted by the thirteen athletic directors. Some schools display more loyalty than others and WMU AD Kathy Beauregard might lean on the more loyal side of the spectrum. And yes, he's won more than he lost. And yes, the only two losing seasons in seven years were simply 5-7 years.
But, my word, how much more mediocrity can a football team endure? He's brought in a slew of talented offensive players and some decent stoppers on defense. And his teams have reached three bowl games but won zero of them. Heck, if the Kalamazoo crowd is content with thrilling 41-38 victories and 7-5 records, then that's wonderful. Keep Bill Cubit because he's your man, and maybe all the luck will culminate into a MAC West victory, and someday they'll win a bowl game.
4. Dave Clawson, Bowling Green — Speaking of a football team historically content with mediocrity (which makes it easy to be pleasantly surprised by success), Clawson's best year was his first, going 7-5 with Gregg Brandon's fellas. Now he's at a point where they bounced back sufficiently from a 2-10 campaign to a 5-7 record, and the team's extremely young, so if this team doesn't bounce back to a winning record and falters back to 3-9 or something like that, it would be utterly disappointing and would behoove Greg Christopher to make a change.
5. Don Treadwell, Miami — Understand that we're entering a threshold there nobody's going to be fired, barring something ridiculously appalling, which tells you a lot about the newness of these coaches. The hangover of a MAC title and the departure of Mike Haywood came at a price, but it's nothing the RedHawks haven't felt or experienced in the past. Going 4-8 in his first year hurt a bit and pressure will be on Treadwell to win in 2013 if they can't improve on that in 2012, but unless a Stan Parrish-type dichotomy manifests itself, he'll stick around for at least two more years at this pace. (Hopefully more, of course.)
6. Darrell Hazell, Kent State — This team's a "sleeper," which is another buzzy word in sports that should probably be shot behind a tool shed any day now. Basically the MAC is always filled to the tippy top in underrated teams in any given year. However, among those teams in the MAC East, the Golden Flashes had a whale of a turnaround last year from struggling to score 10 points a game through their first seven (save for that South Alabama outlier) to finishing the season on a 4-1 bender, totaling 26 points a game.
7. Pete Lembo, Ball State — Six coaches below him, six above him. You've entered the Lembo Zone. Lemboville. Lembopolis. Lembograd. Lembington, D.C. Everything's kinda boring but sort of nice and methodical and you have nothing to worry about because at least they're winning. I have this magical theory that Ball State is going to go 6-6 until the end of time under Lembo.
8. Ron English, Eastern Michigan — We have many more coaches to mention and we're already at the reigning MAC Coach of the Year, deserved or not. But EMU is on a favorable trajectory and even if they don't get much better than 6-6 they can still consider this an improvement because they'll be playing a tougher schedule, as in, fewer FCS teams. In fact it's almost to the point where English may be able to parlay this into a better job in 2013, should the Eagles succeed.
9. Frank Solich, OHIO — I really think this job is his until he decides not to coach anymore. He's also very unlikely to be hired away by another program, given that he'll turn 68 on the second game of the 2012 season. The team isn't perceived to go 10-4 again, mostly because we're about ready for the rest of the MAC East to catch up with him, plus you can't count on that Temple win anymore. But that shouldn't be enough to push him out of Athens even if they go, say, 5-7. It'll suck, but college football regression is a cruel despot.
10. Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois — Win the MAC, stay at least another year. Doeren has a coaching profile likely that he'll turn success at NIU into a job at a lesser Big Ten school pretty soon. Like OHIO, the Huskies are bound to suffer after losing some key offensive players, namely Chandler Harnish, and if they plummet to something silly like 4-8 then maybe there will be cause for concern. But he seems well set.
11. Matt Campbell, Toledo — A first year coach is nearly impossible to fire, but let's put Campbell at the top of the first-yearsies because their team has the most expectations of all. I'm not saying the Rockets will go 0-12, but if they did, it's the ONLY way imaginable you might see Mike O'Brien make change. And if you don't believe that ... then let's just say Campbell goes first because I'm ageist.
12. Terry Bowden, Akron — He's said all along that his goal is to win one more game than last year, which was a victory total of one. If they lose all games ... I mean, they probably wouldn't fire Bowden right away because who wants to be paying five football coaches at once?
13. Charley Molnar, UMass — They already sloughed off Kevin Morris as part of their transition to FBS. They're famously playing all FBS teams, setting the degree of difficulty at 10/10, which seems almost suicidal, so going 0-12 might actually be an expected outcome. Hence, Ol' Eyebrows not going anywhere.