The Ship Be Sinking for Many ACC Coaches...
As Marcus pointed out so well on Atlantic Coast Chronicles, several ACC coaches did an abysmal job on the first week of the season. One ACC team lost to a 1-AA opponent and two others were beaten by Big East schools which, let's face it, is just as bad. Even the conference's two flagship programs were soundly criticized after their defensive struggle on Labor Day. If The Chop Shop were laying odds on ACC head coaches getting fired after this season we'd put the over/under at five right now. Here's a look at the league's head coaches, and the chances that they're still ACC head coaches a year from now...
CALL THE MOVERS, IT'S TIME TO GO
John Bunting, North Carolina - Back in 2004 UNC scored a huge upset over Miami. At the time it was one of the best wins in school history...turns out, it may have been one of the worst. Thanks in large part to that win John Bunting remained the head coach and UNC remained one of the most underachieving programs in the country. Hopefully the Tarheels embarrassing 21-16 loss to Rutgers will finally convince the administration that instead of Bunting, UNC should be going for a home run.
Al Groh, Virginia - Remember back in the good old days of Virginia football when Matt Schaub was leading the league in passing and there was a stable of stud LBs ready to destroy any opposing players foolish enough to venture across the line of scrimmage? Graduation, suspensions, and defections have gutted the once-promising Cavaliers to the point that they were humiliated at the hands of Dave Wannstedt Pitt Panthers (Dave Wannstedt!). Mediocre records and embarrassing bowl losses are bad enough, but losing to the Wannstache is inexcusable. Time for Groh to go.
Chuck Amato, NC State - Chuck the Chest was supposed to bring NC State their own version of Bobby Bowden. Instead he's been closer to Ron Zook, hauling in strong recruiting classes that ultimately disappoint on the field. Never in all my days have I seen a team that beats itself in more ways and with more regularity than the Wolfpack under Amato. When you can't beat Appalachian State by two touchdowns with the talent NC State has at its disposal it's time to go in another direction.
Ted Roof, Duke - The only reason Roof wasn't fired immediately after the Richmond loss on Saturday afternoon is that the expectations at Duke are so ridiculously low. But at ANY 1-A school it simply unacceptable to get shut out...at home...to RICHMOND. Roof has had some relatively strong recruiting classes so far and up until now was thought to be instilling a better attitude in the Blue Devils, so he'll likely get a chance to oevrcome the rocky start, but even a program as accustomed to humiliation as Duke can't accept home losses to 1-AA schools. The Roof! The Roof! The Roof is getting Fired!
MIGHT WANT TO UPDATE THAT RESUME, JUST IN CASE
Chan Gailey, Georgia Tech - The Yellow Jackets strong showing against Notre Dame last Saturday was a double-edged sword. On the one hand they went toe-to-toe with the #2 ranked team in the country. On the other hand they very well could have beaten the #2 ranked team in the country were it not for a flat, unimaginative offense that couldn't convert short 3rd downs. Since offense is supposedly Gailey's milieu (and he appeared to get more involved in the play-calling just as the Jackets began to trail off) he has to take some of the blame for the loss. If Georgia Tech doesn't build on their strong showing and winds up regressing to their customary 7-5 record Gailey might get rambled right out of town.
Larry Coker, Miami - How could a coach that started his career 23-1 possibly be on the hot seat just three years later? By misusing his talent and producing a string of uninspiring victories sprinkled with shocking upsets to lesser teams. After Miami's 10-13 home loss to Florda State - a loss in which the 'Canes were held to 12 yards of total offense in the 2nd half - the heat is on Coker more than ever. His seat is so hot it appears to have burned all the hair off his body! If UM doesn't make a run at the ACCCG expect all 12 die-hard Hurricane fans to lobby hard for Coker's dismissal after they get blown out again in their bowl game.
Ralph Friedgen, Maryland - During his first two year at Maryland the Fridge brought a level of prosperity to the Terrapins - and local restaurants - never before seen in our lifetime. After back-to-back ten-win season and a BCS berth many pundits felt that Maryland was a rising power, but since those halcyon days the Terps have regressed to their previous level of mediocrity. Worse yet, Friedgen's offensive genius has been M.I.A. from a halting, inconsistent attack. Quarterback play has been a major issue and with Florida transfer Josh Portis waiting in the wings there is still hope, but if Maryland is going to struggle with the likes of William & Mary the lights may go out on the Fridge era before Portis gets a chance to right the ship.
Tommy Bowden, Clemson - Now wait, how could we have Clemson at #5 in our rankings yet place Tommy Bowden in the "at risk" category? So far Bowden's tenure has been a roller-coaster tease for Clemson fans, who ache for the return of the good-old Danny Ford days when they could cheat with the best of the SEC teams. Bowden has assembled a Special Ops Death Squad of offensive talent that has only ratcheted expectations up to a fever pitch, but with higher expectation comes greater pain when the inexplicable losses to Wake Forest and Duke occur. We think the Tigers are going to be awfully tough this year, but if they experience their usual let-downs against the dregs of the league the fall from grace may be too much for Clemson fans to bear.
NOT GOING ANYWHERE
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest - Bobby Bowden himself has called Grobe the best coach in the conference. His annually overachieving teams have beaten Georgia Tech and Clemson recently and have even put a few scares into the big boys of the league. Wake is a tough, gritty team that is always well-coached and usually posts a winning record. Let's just put it this way...you would never, EVER see the Demon Deacons get shut out at home by Richmond. Grobe does more with less than just about any coach in the country, and Wake is lucky to have him at the helm.
Tom O'Brien, Boston College - O'Brien's BC teams seem to mirror their coach...they're conservative, solid, and consistent winners. The Eagles annually produce good results and do a great job of turning average talent into dangerous squads capable of playing with any team in the country on any given Saturday. With Matt Ryan at the helm another strong season is expected in Beantown, and if history is a good guide the Eagles will produce. O'Brien is a credit to his profession and has been an asset for the league in the short time BC has been a member.
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech - Beamer has done a pretty good Bobby Bowden impersonation in transforming Virginia Tech from a no-name school in the middle of nowhere into a perennial college football power. Two years in the ACC have yielded one outright Championship and an appearance in the first-ever Championship Game, plus the 2006 edition of the Hokies got off to a great start by blanking Northeastern. Frank the Tank will go when he damn well feels like it.
Bobby Bowden, Florida State - When there's a statue of you outside the stadium and the field is named after you your job is pretty safe. Unless Jeff Bowden brings the whole program crashing down, which is still a distinct possibility.