2011 CFBMatrix – Hottest Seats in the Stadium

Many of our past coaches on this, i.e. Shannon, Wannstedt, etc., have already been sent packing.  I break the hot seat coaches down into 3 tiers. The rankings are all based on a coaches performance versus the modeled expectations for winning and losing games.  The worse and more frequent the losing against the model, the higher a coach will be ranked and the greater the likelihood of being replaced.

Conference Net Coaching Effect Numbers/Rankings Links:


Tier I Coaches

The first tier are coaches that have been in charge for several years and have consistently been bad and under performing expectations.  Bad coaches, bad recruiters or a combination of both that is unsustainable in order to get results. These first tier coaches have had at least 2 consecutive years of very poor performance.  It is rare that a coach gets to 5 straight ‘under the model’ seasons.  There has been only one coach get to 5 straight under perform years and that was Randy Shannon at Miami.  UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel is getting his 5th year in 2011 (both were coaching their alma mater).

#1 UCLA – Coach Neuheisel – Profile:  The Bruins are on a 4 year trend of -4 net negative game effect.  -3, -4, -4 and -5 games is one of the worst stretches of under performing the recruiting level in the past 8 years.  Coach Neuheisel leads our PAC12 and national rankings in net negative game effect by over 2.5 extra losses per year.  Recruiting is very high and development of players is very low.  2011 needs to show improvement to stay at his alma mater.   This is year 4 of a 5 year contract signed in December, 2007.  (In conference comparable recruiting level and schedule – Oregon) Dec 1, 2011 Update – Fired

#2 Texas A&M – Mike Sherman – At -10, Coach Sherman does have the worst net negative number (see Texas below), but he has the only 3 year streak of net negative coaching in the conference.  Seasons of -5, -4 and -1 are very poor, but 7 of those upsets were at home.  Its one thing to lose on the road, but in front of season ticket holders that pay big bucks to see a team win is not a good emotional impression.  For 2011 the BIG 12 scheduling favors A&M but home games haven’t been good for Sherman.  Projected at 10 wins, any win total that is 8 and under for ’11 is again, sub par and a net negative for the coaching staff.  And we know, that few coaches make it to try for a 5th straight net negative season. (In conference comparable recruiting level and schedule – None (Neb. closest)) Dec 1, 2011 Update – Fired

#3 Illinois – Ron Zook – In the last 4 years at Illinois, Coach Zook has produced a zero, -7, -3 and -1 coaching effect.  His -10 games total effect is bay far the worst in the Big Ten.  His recruiting has been inconsistent and the #36 national class he produced in 2011 will not help increase their talent level.  Although Illinois went to a bowl game and won it in 2010, the team was an under performer.   This is a critical year for Coach Zook and his staff because one more bad season makes 4 net negatives in a row and the trends don’t often allow for a 5th try.  Anything under 9 wins is a net negative year for the Fighting Illini. (In conference like recruiting level – Iowa) Dec 1, 2011 Update – Fired

#4 GeorgiaCoach Richt – As this is one the only subjective pages in the site based on the modeling, I was not sure as to whether to put Coach Richt in this tier or tier II below.  He is only -6 games over the past 4 years for a -1.5 game effect.  However, he and his staff are on a serious 2 year slide with a -3 and a -4 net game effect in 2009 and 2010 which is by far the worst record against the CFBMatrix modeling in the SEC (the next worst 2 year number is -1 game).  There is only one team from 2000-2010 that ranked in the top 5 for combined recruiting classes that did not win a BCS National Title game (Georgia) and no one has higher expectations and demands than the SEC fans.  With this talent, the Bulldogs should be contenting for a SEC East title every year.  The national trends show that 3 bad years in a row (-2 net game effect or worse) gets a lot of coaches removed from their position. Dec 1, 2011 Update – -2 for 2011 but SEC East champ at 10-2 as predicted.  Retained for the foreseeable future.

Tier I coaches recently retired/removed/replaced:  R. Shannon – Miami (5 consecutive net negative years)  D. Wannstadt – Pitt (4 consecutive net negative years.  Top BE recruiter w/ no BCS appearances) C. Weiss – Notre Dame (huge net negative numbers in tenure, top recruiter, terrible game coach).

Tier II Coaches

The second tier are under performers that have had two sub par years in a row or a combination of a good year with several poor performing years and are one more bad turn down in wins away from being tier I.

#1 California – Coach Jeff Tedford – 6 net negative game effect over the last 4 years (-1.5 games per year) and 3 of the last 4 years have been under performers.  The problem is on the road.  They win and lose as predicted at home and the net negative game effect is all on the road.  There is no calculable home advantage (rare) for Cal either.  Recruiting rising and they have always had the talent.  A bad year could be the end of the Tedford era or move him up to Tier I for a last chance in 2012.  Model expects him to win more games in 2011 vs. 2010.  Dec 1 2011 Update – Dead on with more wins in 2011 for the Bears and Tedford.  Still an OK year for California as the game won were exactly as predicted.  Expecting him off the CFBMatrix Tier II Hot Seat for 2012

Tier III Coaches

The tier III guys are the rookies.  The problem with net negative coached is that once they turn down, it is rare they become good, net positive coaches.  This is really our future ‘watch list’ for lining up on the Tier I and II hot seats.

#1 USC – Coach Kiffin – When you recruit at the #1 level in the country over the last four years, there is only one way to go and that is down.  But not 5 games.  USC was favored to win 12 of 13 and got 8 victories for a net negative of -5 games!  Not Weiss, Willingham or Brown type territory but a concern none the less.  Don’t be fooled by the ‘pending’ sanctions.  USC still has more talent at even position than most teams in the country.  They had a full class in 2010 and 2011 so anything less that 8-10 wins in 2011 will be disappointing failure.  However, the sanction will not hit bottom until 2015 so expect Coach Kiffin to be around until then as they pay out the contract and suffer through the overzealous sanctions.
Dec 1 2011 Update – Only -1 game in 2011 with 10 wins.  Solid season and give USC fans hope for 10 wins in 2015 when sanctions stop on the scholarships.

#2 Notre Dame – Brian Kelly – At -3 games, Coach Kelly and his staff trailed only USC in missed opportunities to win football game with their talent.   Not only was the coaching effect -3 games but the losses that Notre Dame sustained were terrible.  Granted, they won a big game against USC but Navy? Tulsa? This easily could have been a 10 win football team in 2010 and has an easier schedule in 2011.  Coach Kelly needs to get this team into the 9+ wins and stop giving away easy wins.  This athletic department is likely on a razors edge of patience after letting Willingham and Weiss tank for so many years in a row.
Dec 1 2011 Update – Another -3 failure of a season for Notre Dame and Coach Kelly.  This team should be 10+ wins every year with the talent and tremendous independent schedule advantage in South Bend.  This team is extraordinarily bad at home, which compounds donor and season ticket holder patience.  Tier I head coach in 2012!

#3 Texas Tech – Tommy Tuberville – This might be a little nit picky as a -2 game effect in a head coaches first year is not really uncommon.  However, in the last decade there have been 8 new head coaches taking over a team that won 9 games the previous season.  All but 2 of them when -1 or better.  the only 2 that didn’t were Bill Callahan of Nebraska and Buddy Teevens at Stanford.   Both didn’t have success in their tenures.  So let’s keep an eye on Coach Tuberville as a good season can shake him off the list or a bad one will move him up.
Dec 1 2011 Update – -3 in 2011 in my opinion is the end of the Tuberville era.  If they don’t fire him now, he is Tier I for 2012.  -5 games in just two and the trend is down, not up.  Red Raider football is cratering under Tuberville.  Change is imminant.


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