Programs That Need to Win Now
This is not a list of coaches who are in trouble or on the hot seat. This is a list of programs that need to win and win soon. They are big national programs that need to re-establish their baseline success after some years that are not up to the standards their school’s history demands. In a world where 140 character thought is considered deep and attention spans are no more than 24 hours these schools need to win now.
Michigan No team in the country has received more hype off of its history than Michigan. They lost seemingly everyone from a team that is 1-3 in its last 4 games and are still ranked in the Top 10. The truth is this: Michigan’s last Big Ten Title was in 2004 and they have yet to win a division title. If Michigan does not win the Big Ten this year they’ll tie their longest Big Ten Title drought (1950-1964). They need to start by getting a win over Ohio State. The Wolverines are 2-14 against OSU the last 16 years (and 0-5 against Urban Meyer). Given the hype, how long will the show last without so much as a Conference Championship game appearance?
Notre Dame This team has been inconsistent since the National Title rout at the hands of Alabama after the 2012 season. Since then the team has gone 31-20 with seasons of 8 wins, 9 wins, 10 wins and last year’s 4-8 record. Since their new ACC-affiliation deal started in 2014 they’ve gone 8-6 in ACC games with pedestrian losses last year to Duke, Virginia Tech and NC State. At times they’ve shown the flash of Notre Dame’s storied past but this being Notre Dame will that be enough for the faithful?
Nebraska Nebraska’s last conference title was in 1999--let that sink in. In that time they’ve made 4 conference championship game appearances going 0-3 in the Big 12 Title game and losing 31-70 to Wisconsin in the Huskers’ lone Big Ten Title game appearance. Nebraska is in a tough spot. The Big Ten move took them out of games in recruiting areas like Texas that were good for them. If there is a guy who can overcome geographical limitations it is Huskers’ Coach Mike Riley who won at Oregon State.
Miami While the media and fans over 30 years old still sell “The U” hype this is a program that has not won a conference title since being Big East Co-Champions in 2003. Miami has yet to even get into the ACC title game. As Clemson and FSU continue to be national players, it is vital that Mark Richt starts Miami climbing up the path to excellence worthy of “The U” tradition.
Tennessee The Volunteers need to make their move in 2017. In the Florida and Alabama rivalry games they are 1-11 against both teams in the last 12 years (lost 10 straight to Bama by an average of 23.5 points). Tennessee’s last SEC Title came in 1998 and last Division title in 2007. In the past twelve years Tennessee has suffered 6 losing seasons, and only finished with a winning conference record 3 times. From 1977 through 2008 Tennessee had 2 Head Coaches in 30 years and has had 3 since. Winning this year would be a good step to stabilizing the program for the long term.
LSU Yes the Tigers have a new head coach, but this is LSU where the fans are as impatient as any on the planet. The problem is Alabama--the SEC West’s elephant in the room, 800 pound gorilla, kingfish, lead dog, alpha male…you get the idea. After gassing Les Miles for only winning 77% of his games and a National Title, the bar is pretty high. Given the problems at Ole Miss and uncertainty at Texas A&M the Tigers should be in the SEC West mix this year…..but being in the mix will only play so long on the Bayou.