By Tyler Fenwick @Ty_Fenwick on June 6, 2014
Job security is difficult to come by these days in college football because immediate results are almost always expected. "Rebuilding" for more than a season just won't cut it. So with the 2014 season quickly approaching, I'm going up and down the list to hand every Big 10 coach a job security grade.
Bo Pelini's name was a popular one being tossed around about this time last season when talking about job security, because there were many who believed he was sitting on a hot seat at Nebraska. But after a strong finish to last season and a good 2014 recruiting class, he's trending in the right direction. But his Cornhuskers are only 9-14 against Top 25 teams, and his infamous "If they want to fire me, go ahead" rant still lingers.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon heroically came to the rescue of Brady Hoke after a rather disappointing end to last season, saying anyone going against Hoke's job was "ill-informed." You love that support from your boss, but does it carry over to this season? Hoke made some necessary moves this offseason to improve his staff, including firing offensive coordinator Al Borges and replacing him with Alabama's Doug Nussmeier.
Darrell Hazell's first year at Purdue was atrocious. The Boilermakers finished 1-11, but I don't think that's any sort of a lock for Hazell's future. The last coach to give it a run at Purdue was Danny Hope, who stuck around for four seasons and never won more than seven games. Athletic director Morgan Burke has shown his patience in the past; I think he'll give Hazell a fair shot at turning this ship around in the right direction.
Gary Anderson should feel just fine at Wisconsin. He's under a great athletic director and has a very talented team ready to take the field this season. The Eastern Division is wide open, and my pick is Wisconsin. There's absolutely nothing to worry about right now in Madison.
There isn't a chance in the world that Penn State lets go of James Franklin after his first season. I'm not going to "grade" a first-year coach. Besides, his immediate recruiting success already has everyone excited, and he's yet to coach his first game.
Jerry Kill isn't going anywhere. He has the wheels spinning in the right direction at Minnesota, and this 2014 season could very well end up being his best with the Gophers. Barring some sort of scandal popping up, Kill is absolutely safe right now at Minnesota.
Kevin Wilson's ride at Indiana has been a very interesting one. His offense can't be stopped, but his defense can't stop anyone. After blowing a wonderful opportunity to play in a bowl game last season (eight home games), I think that has to be priority No. 1 for the Hoosiers this season. If they fail to make a postseason game again this season, I don't think Wilson is out, but his seat becomes a very heated one.
Kirk Ferentz began his stint with Iowa in 1999, and even though he hasn't won at an elite level with the Hawkeyes, his contract would make it extremely difficult for them to let him go. Obviously Iowa is a big fan of Ferentz, and as long as he continues to post eight- or nine-win seasons, he's fine as is.
Mark Dantonio's job is one of the most secure in college football right now. Fresh off a Big 10 championship and Rose Bowl victory, Dantonio is a prized possession in East Lansing, and his teams in the near future don't figure to regress.
I don't think Fitzgerald has a reason to start sweating quite yet, but a very disappointing 2013 season is not helping any case he has to put together. I think Fitzgerald is a great young coach who deserves a break or two because of the potential, but another collapse like last year would at least have him nervous going forward.
Tim Beckman is heading into his third season with the Fighting Illini, and he is yet to win a conference game at home. In fact, he's only won one conference game and that was at Purdue. (Illinois did come close to stealing one in overtime last season at Penn State.) I believe the third year is the decisive year. I don't want to place a standard on the season, but anything that resembles the last two seasons is probably worth a firing.
Urban Meyer isn't going anywhere. Even if his team was "exposed" the final two games of last season, that didn't do anything to hurt his security -- not by any stretch of the imagination. He brings that winning attitude Ohio State loves to have around, and I'm sure the institution doesn't mind the natural publicity that comes with a guy like Meyer.
I think Kyle Flood will be assisted by the transition to the Big 10. The results his Rutgers team posted in the AAC won't be expected to carry over to this conference, so my guess is there will be some lenience here. Personally, I think Rutgers gives him two years to improve in this conference before going on the hunt for a new coach.
Randy Edsall is in the same boat as Kyle Flood, although I would argue Edsall's job is still more "secure" than that of Flood. I would be shocked if a poor debut in the Big 10 resulted in the firing of either one of these coaches, but especially Edsall, who currently has Maryland trending in the right direction.
August 4, 2015 by Dan Escalona
With a new head coach and a new offensive system to adjust to, Tommy Armstrong's ability to transition is key for Nebraska as it gears up for a run at the Big 10 West Division title in 2015. Read More
August 4, 2015 by Tyler Brett
How will LSU handle losing another defensive lineman this summer with the departure of Maquedius Bain? Read More
August 4, 2015 by Mike Gibson
Today is AAC Football Media Day and the talk focused on Temple, which learned explosive playmaking wide receiver Robby Anderson was declared eligible on Monday. Read More
With the addition of Joe Mixon to Samajie Perine, the Oklahoma backfield will be one of college football's best in 2015. Read More
August 4, 2015 by Tim Letcher
The Mississippi State Bulldogs had a magical season in 2014. Read More
August 3, 2015 by Tim Letcher
Over the past two weeks, there has been much discussion about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Read More
August 2, 2015 by brookshooley
Illinois has improved under Tim Beckman, and that will continue in 2015, but will it be good enough? Read More
August 2, 2015 by Jason Shawley
The Terps took the first head-to-head Big Ten matchup against the Nittany Lions last year, but Maryland has much more to prove before it's a top-tier conference rivalry. Read More