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Monday, 3 November 2014

College Football 2014: Great Coaches, Losing Teams

Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks can’t seem to catch a break. After a devastating loss to Tennessee, the coach who had a quip about everything if you put a microphone in his face had nothing to say. After 41 seconds at the podium, Spurrier was dejected and looked like a man who was beaten.

In all of the years of covering football, I have never seen the former Gator great in this condition.

For most coaches, losing is part of the equation. For this coach, it is the exception. What it means for him and the future of the South Carolina football program remains to be seen.

Just because a team has a losing record, it does not necessarily mean the coach is as bad as the team’s record.

As we all know, college football is in many ways cyclic. Every season there are teams that fall below expectations only rise above in a season or two. Here are six teams that have great coaches but the program’s record does not reflect it.

Butch Jones – Tennessee

Sooner or later, the Volunteers are going to bring Rocky Top to a fever pitch again. Jones was the hot coach before the season who was going to bring the Tennessee program back to prominence. Jones is the hottest thing to be on campus since Phil Fulmer was winning national titles back in the early 2000s. The Volunteers are a team on the rise for sue and should be an SEC Championship contender soon.

Charlie Strong – Texas

Do you think Charlie Strong knew things might be a little tough when he left the confines of the Louisville Cardinals confines for Austin to replace a legend in Mack Brown?

It all started with the loss of quarterback David Ash and has been a roller coaster he been on since. Strong is an innovator on defense and as he settles in at Texas, things will be better. There are kinder days ahead.

Steve Spurrier – South Carolina

Spurrier? Yes, the Ol’ Ball Coach. At the beginning of the season, the Gamecocks were one of the favorites to win the SEC East and possibly an SEC title. Now, Spurrier will be happy is he earns a post season bowl game. It’s a good thing those rumors about Spurrier returning to Florida have been put to rest.

Frank Beamer – Virginia Tech

It used to be that if you put together a list of great coaches in college football, Frank Beamer’s name would be amongst the best. These days, his Hokies have fallen on hard times. Logan Thomas is gone behind center and the defensive secondary is not what it used to be.

Larry Fedora – North Carolina

At the beginning of the year, Fedora was thought to be a coach in waiting. I thought he might be the next head coach at Florida. The Tar Heels program has been solid over the years, but after the game against Miami, where the Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson tore up the defense, it looks as though this team is mediocre at best.

Bret Bielema – Arkansas

There is something about the Razorbacks that makes up feel the light will go on pretty soon in Bielema’s program. The team is much improved from last season and have played the best (Mississippi State and Alabama) close and looks to be a team opponents will certainly fear in 2015.


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