Did Your Favorite College Football Team Hire A Shitbag? Let’s Find Out!
10:38 AM EST on November 29, 2022
The NFL’s coaching carousel is an exciting but predictable affair. An NFL head coach who sucks is either A) Fired midseason and replaced by Jeff Saturday, whose charms wear off the second his game management skills do, B) Fired the day after the regular season is over, or C) Forced to fire all of his assistants, and then gets fired anyway a year later. Been there, fired that.
But the college football coaching carousel … now that’s a truly magical contraption. Built upon a foundation of staggered scheduling, unrealistic expectations, needy boosters, and 131 athletic directors all terrified that the gravy train is about to stop, this carousel is a rickety joyride with a thousand loose screws, all of them firing out like bullets as it spins around at G forces that would make an astronaut puke. And when the ride stops, and you take a look at who’s sitting atop all of those fiberglass tigers and badgers and bulldogs and anthropomorphic oranges, you’re likely to find a horde of shitbags, enough to populate multiple Tom Wolfe volumes.
The majority of these men are handsomely paid to make empty promises and churn out play sheets that make you want to die. But did YOUR alma mater manage to hire a genuinely good coach, or at least a shitbag with a working brain? Let’s look at some of the major vacancies that have been filled so far and evaluate.
[a teen with his bangs hanging down in front of his eyes hits the START button while praying for his shift to end so that he can go buy some weed]
Your problem: Nebraska hasn’t had a winning conference record since 2016. Your team plays in the Big Ten, mind you. I could play in the Big Ten, as a one-man team, and still manage to routinely beat schools like Indiana in a 9-6 barnburner. But you guys haven’t finished in the AP Top 25 in 10 years. You haven’t played in a bowl game—for which the barrier to entry is that your team simply exist—since 2016.
But you’re Nebraska, which means a lot to you and to precisely no one else. You should be really good, and you should have widely adored superstars larding your roster every year, like you did back in the day! You know, like Lawrence Phillips! And Christian Peter! Great guys!
Your last coach: Scott Frost, who lasted a whopping four games this season before being mercifully cut loose to go ruin an AAC team in the near future.
Your new coach: Former Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, who lasted one whole game longer than Frost did before getting fired himself this season. What an upgrade. But before you go tearing your corn out about this hire, just remember Rhule’s Way of the Panther:
A document, obtained by CBS Sports via a source, titled "The Way of the Panther" is purported to have been created by Rhule early in his time as Panthers coach … The first point was "don't beat ourselves." From the start of the 2020 season when Rhule became the coach through Week 5 of the 2022 season—a timespan that will be used for all the statistics here and to follow—the Panthers had the 11th-most penalties in the NFL.
Now that document sounds bad, what with all of its Pepsi talk and what have you. But look, things can only get better from here. Frost was an uncommonly lousy hire, so much so that Nebraska was willing to buy out his contract for an extra $16.4 million just so that they could be rid of him early and then do this:
Is he a shitbag? Yes.
Your problem: You are the perpetual third wheel of the Big Ten and that will never change as long as any of us shall live. Ever. I’m not even saying that to be mean. It’s just that I have eyes.
Your last coach: Paul Chryst, who made a bowl game in all seven full years of his tenure and won six of them. The only bowl game that Chryst lost, however, was the hallowed Rose Bowl, which cannot stand. Wisconsin judges every coach by whether or not they’re Barry Alvarez. Paul Chryst was no Barry Alvarez.
Your new coach: Former Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell, whose Bearcats nagged a surprise berth in the CFP just a season ago. They went on to lose to Bama by three touchdowns.
Is he Barry Alvarez? No.
Did he go to Ohio State? Yes.
Is he a shitbag? Probably.
Your problem: You aren’t Bama.
Your last coach: COVID denier Bryan Harsin, who only lasted a season-and-a-half on the job and almost got the gate even sooner, because of this ...
... And because of an alleged affair with a staffer that led Harsin’s wife to post this:
We call this kind of post a Lisa Wilson. I never tire of seeing one out in the wild. Anyway, Harsin defended all of these allegations by telling ESPN, "Any attack on my character is bullshit. None of that is who I am." Nine months later, Auburn decided that it didn’t like who Harsin was either way. They quickly replaced him with beloved alum Cadillac Williams as interim coach. Did ‘Lac win the job permanently? My friend, you are Auburn. Any attack on your character is factually correct. Ergo …
Your new coach: FREEZE!
You might be thinking to yourself, Hey man, isn’t that the same Hugh Freeze who got run out of Ole Miss for committing multiple NCAA violations and calling up escorts while on the job? The same Hugh Freeze who, as a high school coach, ordered female students as young as eighth grade to remove their shirts in front of him, and also SPANKED them as a punishment? The same Hugh Freeze who, while coaching at Liberty (***ALARM BELLS RINGING***), personally DMed this to a sexual assault survivor at that school?
Yes, that Hugh Freeze. WHOA HEY WATCH OUT BAMA WE’RE COMIN FOR YEW! WAR EAGLE!
Is he a shitbag? There is no greater shitbag to be had.
Your problem: Kinda the same as Nebraska’s, but sadder.
Your last coach: I don’t remember. Who would?
Your new coach: Well, if you’re lucky, it’ll be this guy:
Deion Sanders is not only one of the greatest football players I’ve ever seen, he also did gameday highlights better than any analyst I can remember, so much so that I dearly miss his presence every Sunday at 7:30pm Eastern. He also, after his playing career, started up a fake high school that made Bishop Sycamore look like Horace Mann. And he signed a deal with Barstool. Real sweet and sour energy to be found here.
Deion has become the hottest name in college coaching thanks to his past three years in charge of Jackson State, where he’s exploited both his own NIL assets and those of his recruits to compile a 23-5 record, culminating in a SWAC title last season. But which Deion are you getting if you, a Power Five school, decide to take him on? Are you getting a savvy fella who knows how to appeal to modern athletes, or are you getting a clumsy grifter who literally chokes people whenever they dare challenge him? Well luckily for you, college football teams tend to thrive when they hire the latter and not the former.
On a less fortunate note, Deion won't take this job because it's beneath even him.
Your problem: You haven’t fired Jimbo Fisher yet, because you can’t.
Your last coach: Kevin Sumlin! Remember that guy? Boy lemme tell you, he was Sumlin awful!
Your new coach: I’m cheating here, because this is actually Jimbo’s fifth year in College Station. This ain’t new blood we’re talking about here, but I find Jimbo’s ongoing downfall one of the most fascinating subplots to the 2022 season. And that demise shows no signs of ever ending! Perhaps you guys remember when you snatched Jimbo away from Florida State, flying him into Texas on a private jet and handing him 10-year, $75 million deal. You also probably remember that TAMU was so happy with Jimbo’s first three seasons on the job (he went 26-10) that they gave him a NEW deal that runs through 2031 and pays him $95 million. These are no longer fond memories for you. Quite the contrary. Those contracts do be binding.
Jimbo has gone 13-11 since his extension, including a nightmare 2022 in which the Aggies have lost to giant killers Appalachian State and also gone on a separate six-game losing skid, all of them conference games. This has all transpired despite Jimbo having a national title on his resume from his tenure at Florida State, and despite him bringing in not just the best national recruiting class of 2022, but one of the best recruiting classes in the history of this sport.
So what the fuck happened? Well, if you believe this detailed coroner’s report from ESPN’s Andrea Adelson and Dave Wilson (and I do), Jimbo has continually insisted on forcing his blue chippers to play in a pro-style system that few of them are able to grasp, leading to a number of those players to head for the transfer portal while the ones left behind get earholed as they attempt to parse this man’s byzantine playbook in real time. If you’re the head coach and you’re regularly getting questions about whether or not you should keep calling plays, you should probably stop calling plays. Jimbo has not given up his playcalling duties and likely never will. His buyout will cost you guys $50 million if he gets shitcanned before 2027. Hence, you are fucked. Given what I know about both TAMU and College Station, I can’t say this saddens me.
This sport has always been rife with wannabes like TAMU and Auburn who believe they should win a national title every year and whose boosters will pay impossible sums upon impossible sums to will that demand into being. Save for Bama and Georgia, all of them fail. Every time. That will never, ever stop these schools and their patrons from indulging in such delusions. College football is where some of our worst and dimmest car dealer magnates go to set their money on fire. Watch it burn so bright!
Is he a shitbag? Frankly, Jimbo is something of a hero to me for doing this.
Your problem: Your school churns out more porn stars than bowl victories.
Your last coach: Herm Edwards, who played to win the games but did not.
Your new coach: Former Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, who is just 32 years old.
Is he a shitbag? It doesn’t matter.