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Dawg Mid-Season Report Card

Top Five Coaches that Could Be Unemployed By Seasons End


Every college football season, there comes a point around the halfway point where one can look at the landscape and see where coaches are struggling and facing huge fan backlash. The 2023 season is no different and today I am taking a look at the most glaring examples of this trend. I will be focusing on five head coaches who are on what is often called "the hot seat", in this Dawg Mid-Season Review/Report and could possibly be fired by season's end or shortly after.


To begin the 2023 college football season, there were some really big names and jobs that were reportedly on the hot seat. Names like Jimbo Fisher, Billy Napier, Eli Drinkwitz, and Brent Venables were on virtually every list available. At this point in the season, I do not see any of these head coaches in danger of being fired. In fact, in each case, I see each of those as being extremely safe. Here are the top five head coaches that I expect to be facing serious consequences if they cannot somehow turn around their seasons going forward.


1. Dawg Mid-Season Report Card: Sam Pittman, Arkansas

To say that fan apathy at Arkansas is bordering on an inferno right now would be a gross understatement. Viewed in the preseason as a potential challenger to win the West Division of the powerful SEC, things have not progressed well in Fayetteville. While they did win their early season non-conference games, albeit not without a struggle, they did lose one such game to BYU. When compared to the 2022 BYU matchup, this was a huge shock to Razorback Nation, as it happened at home and was against a team they had scored more than 50 points against previously and had defeated resoundingly. The inability to close out a win at home against the Cougars was the spark. Starting the SEC portion of their schedule against their two biggest rivals in LSU and Texas AM with losses has not done Coach Pittman any favors. Scores of fans are calling for his job and multiple references to the Chad Morris ERA at Arkansas, which was far less than successful. If this trend continues for the red and white, look for AD Hunter Yurachek to make a move by the season's end. With an upcoming schedule that includes the Ole Miss Rebels and the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Hogs will be hard-pressed to even make a bowl game and appear to be headed towards another season of having a losing record within the SEC.



2. Dawg Mid-Season Report Card: Brent Pry, Virginia Tech

The respect for the Virginia Tech football program that was built by Frank Beamer throughout his brilliant 29-year career at VTU has sadly dwindled to the point of being nonexistent. To fall from a perennial Top 10 program to losing at home to Marshall is a long fall. Currently sitting with a 2-3 record, the Hokies face the daunting task of competing against Florida State, Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Louisville consecutively going forward, all teams with much better records. With "little glimmer of hope"

of returning to bowl play in 2023, Virginia Tech cannot afford to continue to move forward as an afterthought when a school like James Madison, their virtual neighbors, continues to excel and put a good product on the field. Granted it is only his second season in Blacksburg, but the damage locally to the brand cannot be allowed to continue on that trend. I look for Virginia Tech to part ways with Brent Pry and make a run to hire Shane Beamer, often identified as their "favorite son". Bringing in the younger Beamer would energize the fan base and give opponents reason to fear visiting Blacksburg at night again with "Enter Sandman" rocking the house. Oh, what used to be.....


3. Dawg Mid-Season Report Card: Tom Allen, Indiana

When the University of Indiana hired Tom Allen as its permanent head coach on December 1, 2016, he took over a program that had just clinched its second straight bowl game despite having gone 26-47 over six seasons. It was safe to say that the program was on an upward trajectory when it released Kevin Wilson based on "philosophical differences". Allen was hired in less than half a day as his replacement. Early on, it seemed to be the correct move, as he recorded a 14-7 record in two seasons with two bowl trips in 2019-20. Since that time, however, Indiana has gone 6-18 in the past two seasons. In 2023, the Hoosiers are currently sitting at 2-3 with an embarrassing loss at home to Indiana State, 41-7. It also took the red and white-clad team four overtimes to overcome a hapless Akron Zips squad that sits at 1-4. To allow this to continue in the new realm of the transfer portal, NIL deals and realignment would be a giant risk to the university. In fact, season ticket holders have already voiced their displeasure by telling Coach Allen "It's a business". Allen has already fired his offensive coordinator and by all accounts appears to be on his very last leg in Bloomington.

4. Dawg Mid-Season Report Card; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State


This one may come as a surprise to many as Gundy has actually been a very successful head coach in Stillwater. Annually his teams have always been very competitive and repeatedly appeared in Top 25 polling. This season has been remarkably different. While his team is currently 2-2 on the season, his team has sunk to a level of losing at home to South Alabama in a game that was not as close as the 33-7 score would suggest. His refusal to play his son at quarterback for fear of being accused of favoritism or nepotism may ultimately cost him his job at a school where T Boone Pickens has invested millions of dollars to produce a winner. Openly stating he does not like the transfer portal and NIL would suggest that he might possibly be tanking on the 2023 season with intent. That is a dangerous proposition and could have a farther-reaching impact than what would appear on the surface. With a daunting schedule going forward with the likes of Kansas State, a resurgent Kansas team, Oklahoma, and a solid BYU team on the horizon, the season does not look to have a promising end. I believe that the Mike Gundy era may be coming to a close at the end of the season if they do not reach bowl eligibility, which would be a first since the 2006 season, his first at the helm of the Cowboys.


5. Dawg Mid-Season Report Card: Justin Wilcox, California

Named the head coach at the Berkley, California school in January 2017, the Justin Wilcox era got off to a very good start in his teams going 15-11 in 2018-19 following a 5-7 record in 2017. It seemed he had the program on the right path to success, including a 2nd place finish in the Pac-12 North in 2019. Since then, however, the Navy Blue and Gold Bears have gone 10-18 (not including 3-2 in 2023 currently) and have not reached postseason play since that '19 season. With an impending move to the Big 10 conference, it is imperative that this program starts to move in a positive direction. That has not been the trend under Wilcox. Disgruntled fans and rumors abounded in the summer that he may be on the hot seat in 2023 despite signing an extension in 2022. With the product on the field being among the worst offenses in college football, it is a stretch to think they can keep up on the scoreboard with the likes of Oregon, USC, Oregon State, Utah, and Washington State. By all appearances, at best, they have two more chances to win to close out the season. Given that reality, some wonder if Wilcox can even make it to Thanksgiving. With crowds at the games being at an all-time low, there is no way he can survive the mess that is Cal football.



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