Pick 6: Kelly, Rodriguez, Mora in need of improvement in '17 - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Pick 6: Kelly, Rodriguez, Mora in need of improvement in '17

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File). FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2016, file photo, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez reacts after a penalty during the second half of the teams NCAA college football game against Arizona State, in Tucson, Ariz. The hot seat in college ... (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File). FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2016, file photo, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez reacts after a penalty during the second half of the teams NCAA college football game against Arizona State, in Tucson, Ariz. The hot seat in college ...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File). FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2016, file photo, UCLA head coach Jim Mora shouts instructions to his players during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State, in Tempe, Ariz. The hot seat in colle... (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File). FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2016, file photo, UCLA head coach Jim Mora shouts instructions to his players during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State, in Tempe, Ariz. The hot seat in colle...
By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer

Mark Helfrich went into last season with a 33-8 record in three years as Oregon coach and an appearance in the national championship game.

He then went 4-8 and was fired. Point is, just about every coach outside of Nick Saban and Urban Meyer can be considered on the hot seat.

For this exercise, let's narrow the definition: a coach who is in danger of being fired if his team does not improve upon last season. Finances also have to be taken into consideration. Paying an eight-figure buyout is just not something most schools want to do.

Six coaches who need to get better in 2017:

Dave Doeren, North Carolina State

Doeren was in trouble last season, but the Wolfpack beat North Carolina to end the season and give athletic director Debbie Yow an excuse to give him one more shot and concentrate on the basketball program - where a change did end up being made. Doeren is 25-26 in four seasons, with no victories against ACC Atlantic Division rivals Clemson, Florida State and Louisville. The roster has never been better under Doeren and just getting by is unlikely to be good enough again.

Hugh Freeze, Mississippi

Freeze's status is complicated by the on-going NCAA investigation of his program. By record, Freeze should be fine. Even after going 5-7 in 2016, he is 39-25 in five seasons in Oxford. But that NCAA cloud and sanctions possibly looming puts Freeze in a tight spot if another Rebels' season ends near the bottom of the SEC West.

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

Kelly knows another clunker after Notre Dame went 4-8 last season would likely force the hand of athletic director Jack Swarbick. Kelly's position is bolstered by the six-year contract extension he signed after the 2015 season. Notre Dame does not make Kelly's contract public, but a safe guess is that his buyout is upward of $15 million. Kelly is probably safer than most Notre Dame fans want to believe.

Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

The former Red Raider quarterback started his coaching career 7-0 but is 17-26 since, including 9-23 against the Big 12. There is certainly a desire among many in Lubbock to see Kingsbury succeed, but at this point, the football program is stuck on repeat. Excellent offense. Stunningly bad defense. Kingsbury will likely get one more season to fix this.

Jim Mora, UCLA

Mora's career arc with the Bruins has been interesting. His hiring did not excite many UCLA fans, but two straight 10-win seasons in Years Two and Three turned around plenty of skeptics and ramped up expectations. Since then, Mora is 12-13 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-12. A healthy Josh Rosen at quarterback alone should make UCLA better than it was last year, but the schedule is tough (Texas A&M, Memphis, Stanford, Washington, USC). UCLA's $280 million Under Armour deal could make it a lot easier to swallow Mora's $12 million buyout after this season.

Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

The reality is Arizona probably can't do much better than Rodriguez as a coach, but the athletic director who hired him (Greg Byrne, now at Alabama) is gone and the Wildcats went 3-9 last year. A modest step forward would likely be enough to keep RichRod safe, but the Wildcats play only six home games and have five Pac-12 road games. Forecasting another three- or four-win season is not a stretch.

___

EXTRA POINT

Six more coaches in precarious position heading into 2017:

Steve Adazzio, Boston College

David Bailiff, Rice,

Todd Graham, Arizona State

Paul Haynes, Kent State

Butch Jones, Tennessee

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrrussoAP

___

More college football coverage: http://collegefootball.ap.org/

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • SEC FootballSEC CoverageMore>>

  • SPORTS

    Alabama fires baseball coach Greg Goff

    Alabama fires baseball coach Greg Goff

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 6:16 PM EDT2017-05-24 22:16:01 GMT

    After one season on the Capstone, the University of Alabama Athletics Director has decided to relieve baseball head coach Greg Goff from his duties.

    More >>

    After one season on the Capstone, the University of Alabama Athletics Director has decided to relieve baseball head coach Greg Goff from his duties.

    More >>
  • Brent Rooker named 2017 SEC Player of the Year

    Brent Rooker named 2017 SEC Player of the Year

    Monday, May 22 2017 5:32 PM EDT2017-05-22 21:32:33 GMT
    WLBTWLBT

    The MSU senior leads the SEC in several offensive categories, including batting average (.415), hits (85), RBI (73), home runs (20), doubles (28), slugging percentage (.873) and total bases (179). He is the first Mississippi State player to reach 20 home runs, 20 doubles, 70 RBI, and the first SEC hitter to do so since 2000.

    More >>

    The MSU senior leads the SEC in several offensive categories, including batting average (.415), hits (85), RBI (73), home runs (20), doubles (28), slugging percentage (.873) and total bases (179). He is the first Mississippi State player to reach 20 home runs, 20 doubles, 70 RBI, and the first SEC hitter to do so since 2000.

    More >>
  • Ole Miss softball wins Oxford Regional, advances to Super Regionals

    Ole Miss softball wins Oxford Regional, advances to Super Regionals

    Monday, May 22 2017 1:12 PM EDT2017-05-22 17:12:34 GMT
    WLBTWLBT

    Ole Miss softball adds another check to a historic 2017 season. SEC Championship  - Check. Most wins in a season - Check. Hosting NCAA Regionals - Check. Winning Oxford Regional - Check. Ole Miss beat North Carolina 7-2 Sunday to win the Oxford Regional. Mike Smith's Rebels advance to Super Regionals for the first time in program history. They will face the winner of the Los Angeles Regional. If UCLA wins, the Rebs are heading to LA. If Cal State Fullert...

    More >>

    Ole Miss softball adds another check to a historic 2017 season. SEC Championship  - Check. Most wins in a season - Check. Hosting NCAA Regionals - Check. Winning Oxford Regional - Check. Ole Miss beat North Carolina 7-2 Sunday to win the Oxford Regional. Mike Smith's Rebels advance to Super Regionals for the first time in program history. They will face the winner of the Los Angeles Regional. If UCLA wins, the Rebs are heading to LA. If Cal State Fullert...

    More >>
  • Ole MissMore>>

  • Ole Miss and UCLA open Super Regional series

    Ole Miss and UCLA open Super Regional series

    Thursday, May 25 2017 8:05 PM EDT2017-05-26 00:05:00 GMT
    Source: Ole Miss SportsSource: Ole Miss Sports

    Game 1 is Thursday at 8:00pm CT in Los Angeles. The series opener will be televised on ESPN, online ESPN3.com

    More >>

    Game 1 is Thursday at 8:00pm CT in Los Angeles. The series opener will be televised on ESPN, online ESPN3.com

    More >>
  • Auburn edges Mississippi 5-4 in SEC tournament

    Auburn edges Mississippi 5-4 in SEC tournament

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 12:05 AM EDT2017-05-24 04:05:14 GMT
    Blake Logan homered and Casey Mize pitched six strong innings of relief to lift Auburn over Mississippi 5-4 on Tuesday night in the Southeastern Conference tournament.More >>
    Blake Logan homered and Casey Mize pitched six strong innings of relief to lift Auburn over Mississippi 5-4 on Tuesday night in the Southeastern Conference tournament.More >>
  • #12 Ole Miss advances to Oxford Regional Final

    #12 Ole Miss advances to Oxford Regional Final

    Sunday, May 21 2017 12:10 AM EDT2017-05-21 04:10:18 GMT
    WLBTWLBT

    Kylan Becker had a RBI triple, Kaitlin Lee tossed a three-hitter as the #12 Rebels beat Arizona State 2-0 on Saturday.

    More >>

    Kylan Becker had a RBI triple, Kaitlin Lee tossed a three-hitter as the #12 Rebels beat Arizona State 2-0 on Saturday.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly