10:30 PM EDT, August 22, 2012
At Arkansas, Penn State
I'll point to two — for totally different reasons.
Arkansas' John L. Smith needs to win. Now. His contract runs a mere 10 months. In replacing the disgraced Bobby Petrino, Smith will have to hit it big with a Razorbacks team primed to compete for an SEC title because of studs Knile Davis and Tyler Wilson and a favorable schedule (Alabama and LSU at home).
The public won't expect much out of Penn State, but alums will be restless if Bill O'Brien can't win more than five or six games. He already has had nine players transfer, and they have another year to bolt without penalty. The pressure is on O'Brien to keep intact a recruiting class that ranks 53rd nationally, according to 247sports.com.
Heat is on at Texas
There's no shortage of candidates who could make this list, including Boston College coach Frank Spaziani Randy Edsall at Maryland and, perhaps, Brian Kelly at Notre Dame.
But we're going to give the honor to Texas coach Mack Brown.
In 2010, Texas, the second-winningest Division I-A college football program of all time, didn't go bowling at all and last year, it had to fight to win eight games.
Now, neighboring TCU and West Virginia come to the Big 12 hungry. The Mountaineers, just in from the Big East, were picked to finish second in the league's preseason poll and rival Oklahoma was picked to win it. Texas is third. But it's 15th in the preseason AP poll. If the Longhorns finish there or better, Brown should be OK. If not, his seat will be hot.
Dooley, Edsall on spot
If there is a proverbial hot seat, Derek Dooley's butt is on it. Since taking over the Tennessee in 2010, the Volunteers have gone 11-14 and finished no better than third in the East Division of the SEC. Hampered with injuries and transfers, it has been very rocky on top of Rocky Top.
Meanwhile, you know things must be bad if a coach is on the hot seat after one season. That's what happened to Maryland's Randy Edsall, who finished 2-10 in his first season with the Terrapins. It got so bad that the only thing fans wanted to talk about were the team's crazy uniforms. With 23 players lost to transfer and a starting quarterback lost for the season with an injury, things aren't looking good for Edsall.
Pivotal year for Kelly
Los Angeles Times
Somebody needs to get into Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's face and scream at him the way he chews his quarterbacks out. Kelly has to pick up his overall game. He's 16-10 after two years at the No. 1 hot-rock Rockne spot in the nation.
Bob Davie was 16-9 in the same span and ultimately got canned. Charlie Weis was 19-6 after two years and he's now coaching Kansas. Tyrone Willingham was 15-10 and was fired after Year 3. Kelly needs to find a quarterback who completes passes to his team. He needs to beat Navy in Dublin, Ireland, and navigate a schedule that includes trips to Michigan State, Oklahoma and USC. Kelly probably won't be fired if he has a lousy third year because all Notre Dame coaches get five years to get the job done. Well, at least the coaches before, and after, Willingham did.
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