2009 Big Ten Coaches Hot Seat - Part 2

Part 1 is here.

Pat Fitzgerald - Northwestern
4th Season

2006: 4-8
2007: 6-6
2008: 9-4
Total: 19-18

Any time there is talk, even if its just an old coot in State College, PA...whenever there is talk of shaking up the conference by either adding a team of dropping a team, the fine folks at Northwestern are usually on the edge of their seat. But to their credit, this conversation has been going on since the early 90's when we added Penn State...and they've made it this far.

But what Pat Fitzgerald has been able to to accomplish is nothing short of miraculous in Evanston. Over the three years of his head coaching career, he's shown steady improvement each year. A 9 win season is good for pretty much any Big Ten school...but 9 wins at Northwestern...that's something.

But 2008 was more than just a good coaching year for Fitzgerald. 2008 marked his entry into the College Football Hall of Fame. That, coupled with his obvious over achievement in coaching, is pretty much ensured that NU's greatest son is safe at home for quite a while.

I expect 2009 to probably not go as great as 2008 did, but the scheduling Gods have smiled on NU this year with no Michigan or tOSU on the schedule (although they might want to play Michigan again after last year), and the non-conf schedule is typically weak as usual.

Important Games in 09:
9/19 @ Syracuse
10/17 @ Michigan State
11/7 @ Iowa

Hotness Meter: Safe for Now

Jim Tressel - Ohio State
9th Season

2001: 7-5
2002: 14-0
2003: 11-2
2004: 8-4
2005: 10-2
2006: 12-1
2007: 11-2
2008: 10-3
Total: 73-16

Forget his first year, since then he's gone 76-14. Damn you Tressel!

As much as I hate this guy, I have to respect the fashion in which he has basically made the Big Ten his personal whipping boy. Timing is certainly on his side, as he had made tOSU a juggernaut when basically the rest of the conference has been running into walls trying to figure out how to play football.

I won't hide it, I think he's a total jackass. He has had a track record of skeptical recruiting behavior. He has been able to skirt any and all "questionable" treatment of his players from other coaches and/or football boosters. It is my biased and slanted view that Tressel is maybe the biggest liability to the Big Ten conference. I believe that in time, his antics will be brought into light and he will have to face the music sooner or later.

That all being said, he's a God in Ohio, and probably gets more write-in votes than anyone else whenever the governor is up for re-election. Forget all this "he can't win the big one" talk. As long as he keeps playing in "big ones", he's not going anywhere...anytime soon.

Important Games in 09:
9/12 USC
11/7 @ Penn State
11/21 @ Michigan

Hotness Meter: Safe for Now

Joe Paterno - Penn State
44rd Season

(I'd list his season-by-season records...but I just don't care that much)

Total: 383-127-3

It's not really true or fair to call Joe Paterno the head coach at Penn State anymore. Now-a-days, he's more of a figurehead, or a front-man for the program. If you want to ice the recruiting cake, just send Paterno into the living room of a prospect's home...done.

I guess we could put Galen Hall and Tom Bradley into this mix as well. They served as co-head coaches in 2006 when JoPa sustained an injury in the Wisconsin game. Hall is the OC for Penn State. He's been there since 04, and graduated from PSU in 61. Since his arrival Penn State has been a force to reckoned with offensively. 2005 and 2008 were exceptionally great seasons.

But the coaching fraternity at Penn State is pretty much set for a while. Joe isn't going anywhere, and his assistants are blindly loyal...which has turned out to be a good thing. The only threat to all of the head coaches at Penn State is the players inability to stay out of trouble or to stop getting caught smoking pot all the time.

Important Games in 09:
9/26 IOWA
10/24 @ Michigan
11/7 tOSU
11/21 @ Michigan State

Hotness Meter: Safe for Ever

Danny Hope - Purdue
1st Season

No more Tiller. This Michigan fan is both happy and sad to see him go. Happy in that he wasn't such a big fan of us either, and sad because Purdue has basically been a mediocre disappointment during his administration.

Danny Hope starts his tenure at Purdue with the offensive cupboard pretty much bare. QB Curtis Painter is gone, backup QB Justin Siller was booted off the team, and RB Kory Sheets is gone as well.

2009 will likely amount to a rebuilding year in West Lafayette. Given the lack of production in Tiller's last year as coach, and the offensive leaders of the team gone...expectations will be quite low for the new coach. But he has a long coaching resume that includes assistant gigs at Louisville, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Purdue, Louisville again and a head coaching job at Eastern Kentucky from 03-07. Last year he served as assistant head coach and OL coach for the Boilermakers.

Important Games in 09:
9/5 TOLEDO (his first game as HC)
9/12 @ Oregon
10/17 tOSU
11/7 @ Michigan

Hotness Meter: Safe for Now

Bret Bielema - Wisconsin
4th Season

2006: 12-1
2007: 9-4
2008: 7-6
Total: 28-11

FWIW, I laughed for a good three days when Michigan knocked off Wisconsin in Ann Arbor last season.

I know Beilema is a better coach than he showed in 2008. But his steady decline since 2006 is something of a concern for Badger fans. In his rookie season, he showed that he could compete with Alverez's players, but since then Wisconsin has veered off course. And if recruiting is any gauge for things to come, the future is not looking very bright in Madison.

I expected last season to be a nice feather in the young coaches cap, but he struggled to get through the meat of his schedule losing 4 straight to Michigan on the road, tOSU, Penn State and then at Iowa. They beat the other mediocre teams in conference, and slept-walked through their laughable non-conf foes (aside from Fresno State). But then got trounced by Florida State in the meaningless Champs Sports Bowl.

Bielema is one...maybe two more .500 seasons away from a forced departure. A New Years Day bowl and a win over an elite Big Ten foe will help him stick around. But Wisconsin fans are far too tired of being the best of the rest of the Big Ten.

Important Games in 09:
10/3 @ Minnesota
10/10 @ tOSU

Hotness Meter: Needs a Good Year

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