Monday, November 21, 2005

BlogPoll Roundtable #13

1. Since the end of the 2004 season, there have been 23 head coaching changes in Division I-A college football. Thus far, which new coaching hire is working out the best? Which is working out the worst? Who has been the most pleasant surprise? Who has been the biggest disappointment?
It's hard to argue with Charlie Weis' turnaround at Notre Dame. Despite playing a weak schedule and losing to a lousy Michigan State team at home, he has done a good job and he should have Notre Dame competing for national titles regularly. The worst hiring has to be Hal Mumme at New Mexico State. He ran a corrupted program at Kentucky and he has done little to improve over what Tony Samuel accomplished in Las Cruces. Walt Harris has been a pleasnat surprise at Stanford. While the Cardinal appear to be headed for a 5-6 finish and could have reached a bowl by just beating 1-AA Cal-Davis earlier in the season, Harris has already done more in one season than Buddy Teevens did in his three seasons. Stanford will reel in some solid recruiting classes and Harris should make them a bowl regular. The biggest disappointment has been Dave Wannstedt at Pitt. He go back the component parts of their Big East "championship" season in 2004 and big things were expected at Pitt this season. Instead the Panthers appear headed ot a 5-6 season unless they beat 8-1 West Virginia in Morgantown.

2. Which school's fans need to be more patient with their new head coach? Which school's fans need to beat the Christmas rush and get rid of their new head coach sooner rather than later? Which school's fans are happy with their new head coaching hire now but will be disappointed in him after another couple of years have passed (a la Tyrone Willingham at Notre Dame)?
Urban Meyer at Florida. Chris Leak isn't the right QB for his offense and he is still working with Ron Zook's players. He needs to get some of his own recruits into the mix before we can judge his performance. Dave Wannstedt is going to drive the Pitt program back into the ground, a la Paul Hackett and the second coming of Johnny Majors. Wanny will likely miss a bowl game with a supposedly "BCS-caliber" team, so what will he do with a decimated team next season? Tough call here. I think Weis, Spurrier and Harris will all have success at their new schools. I've already used Wannstedt and Syracuse fans are probably ready to throw Greg Robinson under the bus. Maybe Ty Willingham again.

Bonus. If you knew now that your school's head coach would not be back next year and you could hire anyone now living to replace him, which successor would you pick and why? (No fair reaching back in time and getting Knute Rockne or Bear Bryant when they were alive or taking Bobby Bowden in his prime. Anyone you pick, you're picking right now, at his current age and with his current resume, baggage and all.)
Joe Paterno is a legend and cannot be replaced easily. I suppose my short list would include Mike Stoops, Kirk Ferentz and Randy Walker.


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