USC fired Lane Kiffin and UConn axed Paul Pasqualoni. Both firings were expected, especially Kiffin’s. Pasqualoni’s firing was understandable, but it’s not easy winning at UConn.
Is there anyone next on the chopping block? Not at the moment, as many of the top programs have coaches who are in the early stages of their contracts.
On the hot seat . . .
Mack Brown, Texas: The Longhorns (2-2, 1-0) were off this week. An argument can be made that this bye week is why Brown might keep his job. Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz a few weeks ago and replaced him with Greg Robinson. Midseason coaching changes are never easy, especially in football. And it will take Robinson a little time to get up to speed. A 10-day layoff for the Longhorns, who play at Iowa State on Thursday night on ESPN could be just what Robinson needs to get the defense right and save Brown’s job. Furthermore, Texas is 1-0 in the Big 12 along with Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Baylor hasn’t played a league game yet. Fortunately for the Longhorns, they play all three teams. If Robinson can get the defense headed in the right direction, there is still a chance for Texas to make a run in the conference.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska: Pelini didn’t himself any favors getting blasted by UCLA a few weeks ago. Making matters worse was the recording of him ripping Cornhuskers fans hitting the public airwaves. Things have calmed down a bit in Lincoln, especially after their dismantling of South Dakota State on Sept. 21. Nebraska will be tested by an Illinois team that is off to a strong start. The Fighting Illini (3-1) blitzed Cincinnati in Week 2 and played well in a 34-24 loss to Washington. That notwithstanding, a home loss to Illinois could mean the beginning of the end for Pelini.
Matt Rhule, Temple: Rhule was hired in Dec. 2012, so you figure he’d get some more rope. And he will probably get ample time to get his program in place. But Temple is starting to regress back to the dark days of the 1990s when there was no hope for the program. The Owls (0-4) played well for a while in a 28-6 loss at Notre Dame to open the season. They weren’t terrible in a 22-13 loss to Houston either. But back-to-back losses to Fordham (FCS) and FBS independent Idaho can’t bode well for Rhule’s future. Making matters worse, Idaho was 0-4 entering its game against Temple. This doesn’t mean he should be fired, because a coach has to get three to four years to bring in his players. But the Owls need to pick things up in a hurry.