Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Preseason

The quest for Sweet 16 begins. - Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Week 1 of the Quest for Sweet 16! As part of our continuing services to you, the loyal Crimson Tide fans, the RBR staff will do our best to keep you entertained and informed. As your humble servant, I hope to keep you abreast of the happenings in college football across the United States. Hence the name of this weekly piece: "Random Thoughts From Around the Country".

  • The 2013 season should be an interesting one for the Coaching Carousel. A few high-profile programs may be parting ways with their head coaches if these individuals do not show marked improvement this season.
  • Conversely, there will be some coaches moving up the charts looking to take those jobs.
  • And finally, could we perhaps see a few retirements after this season?

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The HOT SEAT:

Lane Kiffin, University of Southern California Trojans


Why does Kiffin always look confused? (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

2012 was a disaster for the Trojans. They started the season as the top-ranked team and ended it at 7-6. The last two games produced only their second loss to UCLA since 1998 and a sad 21-7 loss to lowly Georgia Tech (who were 6-7 before the game) in the Sun Bowl. Southern Cal left quite a wake in El Paso as several players made disparaging remarks about the city before the game. They followed that up by being 90 minutes late to a joint dinner with the Yellow Jackets and bowl officials. If that wasn't enough, a post-game locker room fight broke out involving 10 to 15 Trojan players.

If you missed out on their season, you can recreate it at home. You will need the following ingredients: 1 gallon of gasoline (any grade will do), 1 lit match, and 1 dumpster from your local community. Mix and enjoy!

In addition to all that has happened in the land of Troy, cross-town rival UCLA has been improving and winning the hearts of the people of Los Angeles.

Even Mark Richt has got to be wondering: "Has Lane Kiffin lost control of this team?"

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Mack Brown, University of Texas Longhorns


Does this shirt make me look fat? (Photo by Scott Sewell-US PRESSWIRE)

Alabama fans are familiar with this story. Mack Brown's Longhorns win the 2005 BCS National Championship behind an outstanding performance by QB Vince Young. From 2001 up until kickoff of the 2009 BCSCG, Texas was an astounding 101-15 and 7-1 in bowl games. After Alabama's dominating 37-21 win, the 'Horns have gone 22-16 including three straight losses to rival Oklahoma with an epic 55-17 debacle in 2011 and 2012's 63-21 implosion in which it looked like Texas just gave up. It's enough to make Big Tex burn!

Another 9-win season or even another embarrassing loss to the Sooners may be enough for Texas to figure out that Mack Brown is not worth $5,400,000 per year.

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Gary Pinkel, University of Missouri


I can't tell my right hand from my... hey... where'd it go? (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Gary Pinkel has guided the Tigers since the 2001 season. It was rough going for a couple of seasons as the former regime of Larry Smith (33-46-1 over seven seasons) left a bare cupboard upon his 2000 firing. By the 2007 Big 12 Championship Game, Mizzou was 11-1 and ranked #1 in the land only to have their hearts stomped on by Oklahoma for a second time that season. Pinkel's Tigers would also go on to lose the 2008 and 2010 Big 12 Championship Games.

2011 saw an 8-5 season but 2012 was a bitter pill to swallow as Missouri joined the SEC and finished 5-7 (2-6). It was his first losing season since 2004 (5-6), but it is all about "what have you done for me lately?"

Add in a 2011 DWI with a 2012 divorce and it has not been good times for Pinkel.

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Others to keep an eye on:

* Maryland must be kicking themselves for booting Ralph Friedgen after going 9-4 (5-3) and winning the ACC Coach of the Year. The Terps brought in UConn's Randy Edsall who has underwhelmed in two seasons. He is 6-18 but only four victories over FBS (I-A) teams. The only thing Edsall has accomplished in introducing the most gawd-awful uniforms you will ever see.

* Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is making almost $3.9 Million per year. 7-6 in 2011. 4-8 in 2012. Need I say more?

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The HOT COMMODITIES:

* Louisville Cardinals Coach Charlie Strong will be on everyone's short list come December. With QB Teddy Bridgewater's likely jump to the NFL, I can see Strong being open to upgrading to some of the above jobs.

* Mark Hudspeth has taken the "Laff" out of Louisiana–Lafayette. A laughing stock no more, he has managed back-to-back 9-4 seasons and two bowl wins in his first two seasons with the Ragin' Cajuns. So what's the hold-up? He is 0-4 against BCS teams. They travel to Arkansas this Saturday.

* After Robert Griffin III left for the NFL, many thought Baylor would regress back to a .500 team. But Art Briles has kept the Bears relevant including 2012 upsets of then-ranked #1 Kansas State, #23 Oklahoma State, and #17 UCLA in the Holiday Bowl to finish 8-5.

* I have to wonder if Chris Petersen (Boise) is ever going to step up to a bigger challenge or if he is just too complacent in his second-tier wannabe little brother world.

Taking Up Golf Full-Time:

This is purely speculation by my part but there are a few coaches who may be ready to hang up the headset.

* Steve Spurrier is 68 and Jadaveon Clowney will be gone after this season. Will the Evil Genius still have the fire or is he just in it for the money and ego-stroking?

* 2012 was a rough season for Frank Beamer and his Hokies (7-6). Another flat season or two and we may be looking at a Bobby Bowden situation in Blacksburg.

* K-State's Bill Snyder was born on October 7, 1939, one week after the first televised college football game between Fordham University and Waynesburg College. A little over two years later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor bringing the United States into World War II. He's old, ya get it? Bless his soul for still being active and able to keep up the pace of the job but 2012 was their year and I am sorry to say that ship has sailed. QB Collin Klein, Arthur Brown, and the majority of the 2012 defense have moved on. Rivals rated Kansas' 2013 recruiting class #46. The Wildcats were #65.

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