Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Checking the Big 12 coaching hot seats
By David Ubben
CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd took a look at the 2011 coaching hot seat ratings, and as the temperature outside heats up, now is as good a time as ever to check the gauge for the Big 12's coaches.
Dodd's system of ranking is on a 1-5 scale.
0-0.5 -- don't even think it -- can't be touched
1-1.5 -- very safe -- change highly unlikely
2-2.5 -- safe -- solid position
3-3.5 -- on the bubble -- you never know
4-4.5 -- warm seat -- feeling the pressure
Here's how Dodd ranked them, complete with comments from yours truly.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma (129-31, 13th season)
Stoops rightfully earned a 0.0 rating, the only Big 12 coach to do so and one of just 14 coaches nationally with zero heat. One national title. Seven Big 12 titles. Eight BCS appearances, two Heisman winners and two more Heisman finalists. Fans can cry about the 6-6 bowl record and BCS failures all they want, but Stoops returned Oklahoma to the glory days after some dark days post-Barry Switzer. When teams like Florida and Notre Dame are (reportedly) courting you, you're untouchable in your current spot.
Bill Snyder wants to "calm the waters" at Kansas State before leaving and it's unlikely anyway will make him.
Bill Snyder, Kansas State (149-80-1, 20th season)
Snyder drew a 0.5, rightfully one of the coolest seats of any Big 12 coach. Snyder's second go-around in Manhattan finished with a bowl berth last season, the Wildcats' first since 2006. Snyder wants to "calm the waters" for his replacement, and he's on the way to doing it. K-State looks unlikely to win any championships this time, but there's no way Snyder gets the program moving in a direction that ends with his unwilling exit.
Gary Pinkel, Missouri (77-49, 11th season)
Pinkel drew a 1.0 rating. He has quietly accrued some impressive tenure at Missouri, sticking around in his current job longer than every coach in the league other than Mack Brown and Bob Stoops. His seat was very, very hot after a 5-6 season in 2004 with Brad Smith at the helm, but Missouri hasn't missed a bowl since and won 40 games in the past four seasons.
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State (47-29, seventh season)
Gundy also drew a 1.0 rating that could be a bit lower. He's at his "New York Yankees job" and the Cowboys seem like they see him as their Joe Torre. Gundy is an alum, and has built the program to a point where it's as strong as almost any other point in its history. Both sides look likely to be in for a long haul here.
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State (12-13, third season)
Rhoads drew a 1.0 rating. I'd agree with that. His Iowa roots endeared him to the Cyclones fan base, as have upsets over Nebraska and Texas on the road in successive seasons. He also won a bowl in 2009 in his first year. Those seven wins in 2009 were two more than his predecessor, current Auburn coach Gene Chizik, had (5) in two years in Ames.
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech (8-5, second season)
Tuberville was the only Big 12 coach with a 1.5 rating, which is about right. He looks like he's going to reel in the two best recruiting classes in Texas Tech history, and he alleviated fans' fears last year that he'd radically change the offense that gave the program an identity under Mike Leach. His SEC pedigree has earned him a long leash, and he hasn't used up any of his goodwill, making inroads with boosters and winning enough early in a tough situation to satisfy most.
Art Briles, Baylor (15-22, fourth season)
Briles drew a 2.0 rating. I might even bump it to a lower number. Briles career record at Baylor is weighed down by a pair of 4-8 seasons, but he eschewed advances from Texas Tech before the 2009 season and proceeded to put Baylor in a bowl in 2010 for the first time since 1994. He's also recruited well enough to make sure his team is deeper than ever and improving rapidly.
Mack Brown, Texas (133-34, 14th season)
Brown drew a 2.0, which took a big bump after last year's 5-7 disaster. Fans are a bit restless, but Brown's accomplishments before 2010 earn him at least one more (unlikely) losing season before anyone can have serious conversations about him being fired or asked to resign. The loss of his coach-in-waiting, Will Muschamp, and re-invigoration from last year should provide a new sense of purpose for Brown and the Longhorns that I'd expect to eventually pay off on the field.
Mike Sherman, Texas A&M (19-19, fourth season)
Sherman also drew a 2.0, which could be a bit higher. He earned a lot of goodwill from last season's finish, but Texas A&M is bringing back an even better team in 2011, and if the team disappoints and wins 7-8 games, the voices wondering if Sherman can win big at A&M like R.C. Slocum did will be much louder than a murmur. Unlike others in the league, he doesn't have much to fall back on at A&M. Last year's 9-4 finish was his first winning season in three years at A&M. That said, I don't see A&M disappointing this year, and Sherman is working on what will almost certainly be a top-10 recruiting class in 2012. There's no doubt he's building some big things, but a few bounces of the ball this year (or last year, even) could have changed his perception.
Turner Gill, Kansas (3-9, second season)
Gill drew a 3.5. I'd agree with that, on the "you never know" point. He's unproven at the major conference level, and Kansas' team last season was one of the worst in Big 12 history. It needed a 28-point, fourth-quarter comeback against a 5-7 team, Colorado, to earn its only league victory. That win got Colorado's Dan Hawkins fired, but Gill deserves time to turn it around at KU. He's recruited very well. The Jayhawks will need to show some improvement on the field as that continues.