Who Will Be The First College Football Coach Fired in 2012?
Boston College's Frank Spaziani enters 2012 on the hot seat.
By: Steven Lassan | 7/18/12, 5:29 AM EDT
Coaching in the college football ranks is no easy task. 28 programs changed head coaches at the end of 2011 and there will be no shortage of openings following the 2012 season.
Who Will Be The First College Football Coach Fired in 2012?
Mark Ennis, Manager of Big East Coast Bias (@Mengus22)
I think the first coach to be fired will be Boston College coach Frank Spaziani. Spaziani got the job three years ago under bizarre circumstances when Jeff Jagodzinski was abruptly fired for interviewing for an NFL opening. Things looked already as Boston College went 8-5 in his first year. The following season the Eagles dipped to 7-6 and the bottom fell out last year with the team missing a bowl for the first time since 1999. In addition to struggling to win games, fans began to increasingly bail out on him with officialy attendance dropping as low as just over 30,000 in September. Then, in the offseason, Spaziani lost a number of coaches from his staff who chose to leave for jobs at Temple and Rutgers. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. The Eagles open with Miami, face Northwestern two weeks later, then have a four week stretch of games against Clemson, Florida State, and Georgia Tech. A 2-5 start is a distinct possibility and if that happens, Boston College will have to pull the plug and get a jump on the other schools in need of a coach. Boston College is not an easy job to recruit to, players or coaches, so a head start will be vital.
David Fox (@DavidFox615)
For a coach to lose his job midseason, he generally has to be 1.) already under pressure to win now and 2.) not in a position where he’s likely to win early in the season. Think of Arizona’s Mike Stoops last season, who faced Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon and USC all by Oct. 1. Not surprisingly, Arizona lost them all and then had little left in the tank to beat Oregon State. Boston College’s Frank Spaziani is in the middle of a storm that brings about an early exit: a track record of success before his arrival (12 consecutive bowl games), diminishing win totals (from eight to seven to four), an imperfect ascension to head coach when Jeff Jagodzinski was suddenly fired and infighting among his staff. By facing Miami, Northwestern, Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech before the end of October, the season could be a lost cause by November. Maryland and Wake Forest could provide a BC a chance to save face. I just wonder if Spaziani will still be the guy in charge by then.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Mike Price could be looking at a 1-6 start at UTEP, Kentucky's Joker Phillips' 2-7 start is almost guaranteed and Rice's David Bailiff could easily begin 0-5, but Boston College's Frank Spaziani is my pick to be the first head coach fired in 2012. There is one guaranteed win on the schedule this fall (Maine, Week 2) and a victory on the road at Army is a must in Week 5. Otherwise, this team is likely going to start 0-4 in ACC play and 2-5 overall heading into the Maryland game. Should the Terps win in Chestnutt Hill October 27, the first coaching move of the year could come before Halloween. With a loss, the Eagles will likely be headed for a year without a conference win for the first time in the school history. After wild overachievement with Tom O'Brien at the helm — try eight straight winning seasons — Boston College has gone from a division title to potential 10-loss season in four short years. Phillips will be hot on his heels.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I think Boston College’s Frank Spaziani will be the first coach fired in 2012. The Eagles got off to a 1-6 start last season but rebounded by winning three out of their final five games. Although Boston College showed some signs of improvement at the end of last year, this team is littered with question marks. The Eagles finished eighth in the ACC in total defense in 2011 and must replace linebacker Luke Kuechly. The defense is in better shape than the offense, which ranked last in the ACC in points scored and yards per game last year. New coordinator Doug Martin was a solid pickup, but the Eagles need a big year from quarterback Chase Rettig. Boston College’s schedule sets up for a 1-3 start, while the last month of the season is brutal – Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and at NC State. Unless the Eagles can somehow muster three or four wins by midseason, Spaziani will likely be the first college football coach fired.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
I’ll go with Mike Price, who is entering his ninth season at UTEP. Price went 8–4 in his first two years in El Paso but has had six straight losing seasons since. His record is 45–52 overall and 28–36 in conference play. The 2012 Miners are solid at the quarterback position with the return of senior Nick Lamaison, but not many outside the program expect this team to be a factor in the C-USA West race. The schedule is difficult, as well. The Miners play Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Wisconsin in the first month of the season and play both UCF and East Carolina, projected to be the two best teams in C-USA East. It’s tough to find more than three or four wins on the slate. One other thing to note: Price enters 2012 on the final year of his contract.
Joker Philips is 11-14 in two seasons at Kentucky, but only three of those victories are against teams with a winning record, while two others came against FCS opponents. The Wildcats have won just four SEC games in Phillips' two seasons and even though that does include last season's historic 10-7 win over Tennessee in Lexington, Ky., it came against a Volunteers team that went 1-7 in the conference in 2011.
Phillips may have bought him some time with that win over the Vols, a victory that broke the Cats' 26-season losing streak to UT, but I don't see him getting the opportunity to make it two in a row. Kentucky opens this season against in-state rival and Big East favorite Louisville and also plays MAC member Kent State and Western Kentucky, the Bluegrass State's other FBS school, before opening SEC play. A second straight loss to the Cardinals and/or to either mid-major team, especially the Hilltoppers, and I don't think Phillips will have to worry about coaching against the Gators in Gainesville, Fla., or the Gamecocks at home.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I’ll go with Robb Akey at Idaho. After three wins in his first two seasons in Moscow, Akey led the Vandals to an 8-5 record and a bowl victory in 2009. However Idaho has totaled only eight wins over the last two years, six in 2010 and a meager two last season. The Vandals return four starters from an offense that finished 111th in the country in 2011 and three starters on a defense that ranked 101st. The WAC slate is watered down this season, but Idaho’s non-conference schedule includes trips to Bowling Green (who won 32-15 at the Kibbie Dome last season), LSU, North Carolina and BYU. With Boise State’s amazing achievements and the Vandals program seemingly stuck in neutral, Idaho fans may demand a change unless Akey and staff can get the 2012 offense playing like it did in that ‘09 bowl campaign.
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