The Monday After: Wisconsin’s firing of Paul Chryst shows any coach can get the ax mid-season

Who needs patience when you have money for TV? College football’s last weekend saw two more Power Five coaches lose their jobs, along with Colorado pass by Karl Dorrell and Wisconsin surprising everyone by launching Paul Chryst. It was the fourth straight Sunday in which at least one Power Five coach has been fired, following Nebraska’s Scott Frost, Arizona State’s Herm Edwards and Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins.

All five were fired with the idea that the schools firing them wanted to have a “head start” on finding their replacement, which is a common motivation leading to coaches being fired earlier and earlier. every year. If Nebraska had waited until October and fired Frost the same day Dorrell and Chryst were fired, it could have saved $7.5 million. Wisconsin owes Chryst more than $16 million for not doing his job. Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh said Chryst’s buyout was “much less” than expected, so it could drop to between $8 million and $10 million. What a bargain!

It seems coaching buyouts are like crypto. No one knows what they are, they just know they exist, and someone is supposed to pay for them.

Either way, seeing so many coaches being fired so quickly in the season is still shocking, and Chryst’s dismissal might be the most shocking of them all. Frost entered the season in the hot seat with reduced pay. He was in a win or else position, then lost to Northwestern and Georgia Southern. He was begging for the boot. Herm Edwards entered the season with an NCAA investigation hanging over his head, which put him on shaky ground even though his boss was his former agent. Geoff Collins hadn’t won more than three games in his first three seasons at Georgia Tech and was still likely to be fired. Colorado looked like one of the worst teams in the country — not just the Power Five — and was 4-13 since the start of 2021. It was only a matter of time for Dorrell.

But Christine? Chryst won at least 10 games in four of his first seven seasons with the Badgers and went 9-4 last season. He won three Big Ten West titles (but lost all three Big Ten championship games, twice to Ohio State and once to Penn State), a Cotton Bowl, and an Orange Bowl. His Badgers went to the Rose Bowl after 2019.

Chryst entered the weekend with 68 wins at Wisconsin, the third most in program history. He was one win away from tying Bret Bielema for second behind the man who signed them both, Barry Alvarez. He then lost by 24 points at home to an Illinois team led by Bielema and was dismissed by Alvarez’s replacement.

None of this is to say that Wisconsin made a mistake or that there weren’t any warning signs. I have no idea what Wisconsin will be like from here. It could continue to be one of the Big Ten’s top programs and compete for playoff berths in an expanded field, or it could be lost in a shifting conference shuffle. One that will likely drop divisions when it adds USC and UCLA.

Wisconsin realized this and decided to move on when it saw signs of decline. The Badgers haven’t won the West since 2019, struggled against ranked opponents in recent years, and personnel changes that were supposed to improve the offense this offseason only seemed to make things worse. The Badgers aren’t supposed to lose non-conference games at home like they did against Washington State. They’re not supposed to lose by 24 points at home to Illinois. While they might be fine with losing to Ohio State (it’s just a rule of life for most Big Ten teams), they’d like to at least look competitive against them. This was not the case two weeks ago.

It’s nice when the Badgers have slip-ups like these once in a while, but all three can’t happen in the same month after the telltale signs of the past two seasons. If Wisconsin had had another average season, finished second or third in the West, and had a mediocre bowl game, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Jim Leonhard serving as interim bowl.

But seeing Wisconsin make the move the first weekend in October should come as a surprise to everyone. That’s the kind of stuff SEC teams do because they’re crazy there! Wisconsin is meant to be a stable program with traditional Midwestern values! If Wisconsin is suddenly a program ready to fire its third-winningest coach in the first month of the season, even though it has never had a losing record, it can happen to anyone.

Keep your head on a pivot, coaches.

Coach of the week

Bryan Harsin watched his Auburn team take a 17-0 home lead against LSU and probably thought, “Hey, I’m about to be 4-1, and those psychopaths are still going to want to fire me. ” He was wrong on both counts. Well, for now, anyway.

Auburn lost its 17-0 lead and lost 21-17. I went to bed Saturday night expecting to hear news that Harsin had been fired because that’s what every college football writer should be thinking every time he lays his head on a pillow. Instead, Karl Dorrell and Paul Chryst got the ax.

What kind of chances do you think you might have had this summer that Chryst lost his job before Harsin? I suspect Auburn would rather wait until after their loss to Georgia to move to Harsin than have the interim carry him, which means all neutral observers should support the Tigers against Georgia this weekend. . How inconvenient would that be?

Hottest catch of the week

It’s a spectacular take from Liberty’s Jaivian Lofton, and the defender’s look afterwards was even better, but are you ready for a take so hot it could melt the screen you’re reading this on if you dare to continue?

The receiving gloves are PEDs.

Seriously, think about it. With Aaron Judge recently tying the American League single-season home run record, there’s been a lot of silly talk about who The Real Home Run King is because Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire have all taken PEDs, and we like to pretend that mainstream athletes aren’t taking even better stuff, which these guys might have dreamed of.

Anyway, I’m not here to continue this debate. Barry Bonds is the king of the home run, and if you feel different, you’re a nerd, and I don’t want to talk to you about it anymore. The only point I want to make is that gloves as sticky as the pair that Lofton and all receivers wear these days are more effective than steroids in terms of performance. Football has existed for more than a century, with players unable to make such catches. Yet, for some reason, we’ve seen them explode over the past decade with designer gloves created in a lab to give players superhuman abilities.

It’s a take that started out ironically, but the more I thought about it, the more I started to believe it. It’s not just the gloves in football. Watch the improvement of equipment in all professional sports. Whether it’s the bats used by hitters, the clubs used by golfers or the gloves worn by catchers. All are designed to improve performance to make the athlete better and the game more fun.

Celebration of the week

This is Ole Miss defensive coordinator Chris Partridge at center forward with his staff celebrating after Ole Miss’ Austin Keys stripped Kentucky’s QB Will Levis in the final minute of the game to preserve a victory for the Rebels. The Wildcats were trailing 22-19 and had a first-and-a-half at the 12-yard line with 58 seconds left when it happened. It seemed Ole Miss’s best hope was to force overtime. Instead, the Rebels won and replaced Kentucky in the top 10 in both major polls.

juke of the week

I hope UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson then wrote an apology to their mothers for what he did to their boys. UCLA then beat Washington 40-32 behind a tremendous performance by DTR (315 passing yards, 53 rushing, four total touchdowns) to help put the Bruins in the AP Top 25 for the first time this season. setting them up for a big game against No. 11 Utah this week.

Heisman winner of the week

I don’t see many scenarios in which TCU QB Max Duggan ends the year receiving Heisman votes, but if he continues to play like he did in TCU’s 55-24 kick in Oklahoma, he might well. Duggan completed 23 of 33 passing attempts for 302 yards and three touchdowns. As if that wasn’t enough, he rushed for 116 yards and two more touchdowns. He is the second player in TCU history to throw for 300+ yards and rush for 100+ in the same game. Trevone Boykin was first, throwing for 301 yards and rushing for 124 in a 52-45 win over Kansas State in the 2015 season.

This performance by Boykin improved the Horned Frogs to 5-0 that season and they would finish the season 11-2 and ranked No. 7 in the AP Top 25 poll. Duggan’s performance lifted the Horned Frogs to 4-0. Where could it lead from here?

College Football Playoff Week Projection

Here’s how I think the selection committee would look if they released the rankings this week.

  1. Alabama
  2. ohio state
  3. Georgia
  4. Clemson

Until next Monday After!

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