Who is slated for their comeuppance in 2009?
Some really good coaches, actually. And one or two that are perceived to be.
I will eschew the legalistic prick picks like Utah (the Utes went 10-3 in 2009, crashing down from their 13-0 record in '08!!!!) and give you a few of the teams that will be picnicking on shit sandwiches and will be qualitatively much worse in 2009.
Like Jim Grobe at Wake, Brian Kelly has had a remarkable three year run at Cinci (29-11). And he did his best coaching job in 2008. I hope he pocketed some of that capital as he'll need it in 2009. The Bearkats return exactly one defensive starter from 2008 having just completed a three year cycle of good defense (20.1 ppg in '08, 18.8 ppg in '07, 19.6 ppg in '06). That talent is now purged and I expect the Bearkats to struggle. QB Tony Pike will still be throwing to serial child-hugger Mardy Gilyard and they'll score enough to stay respectable, but 6-6 or 7-5 would be a solid achievement for Brian Kelly. In fact, the dude is Knute Rockne if he pulls that off. Mid-major programs have to reload in three to five year cycles and this is the beginning of a new one.
See above. Jim Grobe is an outstanding football coach and his 28-12 run at Wake over the last three years is a case of extraordinary talent maximization. That written, despite QB Riley Skinner's media friendly image and endless eligibility, the star for Wake was its defense and special teams. All gone now. Stud Aaron Curry and a load of very good DBs and cat quick DL are playing in the NFL now and it's time for Wake to pay the piper. They'll have a losing record in 2009.
After winning ten games in 2008, I'm having trouble finding six wins in 2009. Only nine starters return from a team gutted by graduation. Sean Weatherspoon will be a bright spot at LB and a lot of folks feel that young Blaine Gabbert is the real deal at QB, but this team just doesn't have the guns. October will prove particulary nasty when they play this five game stretch: NU, @ OSU, Texas, @ Colorado, Baylor. 1-4 is likely, 0-5 is possible. Sorry Tiger fans, I don't like your chances against the Jayhawks in Kansas City either.
Ah, Jarrett Dillard, Chase Clement, James Casey. These are players that come along at a Rice once every (three) decade(s) or so. Bert Emmanuel sends his regards. Last year, the Owls went 10-3 and whipped some ass in the Texas Bowl. They'll look back on those halcyon days with real affection. They even grew ironic moustaches! Youuuu guys! A couple of them even got laid by a Rice co-ed who was an honest 7 on a 10 point scale. Truly, an unprecedented year.
The reality of 2009 is that nine returning defensive starters from a defense that gave up 33 per game probably isn't a good thing and depleted offensive firepower in a conference like CONF USA is like going to a chinese throwing star fight (which are common) armed with wacky wallwalkers. 4-8 would be an optimistic projection.
CFN predicts them at #7 in 2009 after the Ducks 10-3 effort in 2008. This makes perfect sense: Oregon gave up 28 ppg per game last year and then lost their three best defensive players to the NFL. So we can expect defensive improvements immediately. Offensively, the high-powered Ducks (41.9 per game in '08) return four starters. Including one OL. You know, those fat fucks that open up holes who possess minimal value to an offense. I'm a Chip Kelly fan but if I may quote Samuel L Jackson from Pulp Fiction "You seem to have caught me in a transitional period." Oregon certainly won't have a losing record in 2009, but they're far too vulnerable defensively to be taken seriously against a schedule that features USC, Cal, Boise State, Utah. I don't have to look too hard to see a 8-4 record. Or to be suspicious of anyone named Chip placed in a position of leadership.
True, it's hard to fall down when you never really bring a program up and Spurrier's innovation as a coach peaked sometime around 1992:
You see, I call this the THREE WR SET! ALL OF THEM ARE ELIGIBLE PASS CATCHERS! YOU MUST COVER THE SLOT WITH A LB, CIRCA 1990s S-E-C DEFENSES! AND YOU MUST PLAY MAN. IT IS A RULE! NOW I WILL THROW A FADE ROUTE! HA HA HA HA! THE NFL WON'T KNOW WHAT HIT THEM! HMMM? NICKEL ZONE? WHAT SORT OF WIZARDRY IS THAT?
They went 7-6 last year so it's not like they have much more room to crash and burn and South Carolina plays in the more forgiving SEC East, but I see a team that's worse at every position across the board, has a QB team leader in Garcia who is an insufferable prick, a head coach grown increasingly lazy and complacent in his bad habits, and a coaching staff with massive offseason turnover (lost 6 assistants). Spurrier has avoided a losing record at SC for five years...until now. How long can a guy live off of his reputation?
Yes, you probably don't remember this team, but last year various idiot sportswriters and some Barking Carnival scribes took this team seriously after their 12-0 start, ranking them in the Top 15 and demanding that they play Florida or some shit. In any event, Ball State lost their last two games and reminded everyone why they average 19,000 per game in attendance and were forced by the college football gods to exist in Muncie, Indiana. They also lost their head coach to San Diego State and hired Stan Parrish who has a 2-31-1 career record (won a fierce bidding war with Texas A&M). In any event, they graduated everyone and return no one. Or something. Fortunately, you won't have to hear about Ball State this year as they'll be 6-6. I can hear the Central Michigan chatter already...
I don't see a dramatic decline, but 11-2 isn't happening again. 8-5/9-4 seems more like it. People predicting a total flame-out aren't looking at the evidence. Other than A&M. the South no longer features an easy game and their North draw of Kansas and NU in Lincoln does them no favors. I expect Tech to have a more typical Tech year: an exultant smashing of Aggy, a scare thrown into a big boy (maybe OU in Lubbock), a shootout loss to someone they took for granted (hi Baylor!), and several excellent quotes from Leach.