We are days away from the start of the 2022 college football season and the excitement is rising. But for teams like Auburn and Nebraska, this season could make or break the football program if we don’t see improvements. Both Bryan Harsin and Scott Frost are among the coaches around the country on the Hot Seat.
Nobody in their right mind would’ve predicted that schools like USC, Oklahoma, Florida, LSU and Notre Dame would welcome new coaches, but this past offseason was unlike any we’ve seen before.
This leads us to 2022, with the Auburn Tigers and Nebraska Cornhuskers leading the way, with outliers. A few coaches that made it through last season might not have the same luck over the next few months.
After Bryan Harsin survived what should be known as an attempted hostile takeover from boosters this past winter, the chances of him making it another are slim. Despite the noise surrounding his program and the internal inquiry that was launched, Harsin stood his ground by not giving into the boosters. He called their bluff, mentioning that there weren’t talks of his $18.3 Million buyout, at least with him personally.
If Auburn decided to go down this route again after the 2022 season, it would owe him around $15 million.
So, what will Harsin have to do in 2022 to keep the wolves away? It’s simple, just win. Now that sounds a lot easier than done, especially for this group of Tigers who will most likely be led by T.J. Finley at quarterback. Along with the SEC West gauntlet, the Tigers will host Penn State in Week 3, needing to set the tone for the season with a win over James Franklin. Add in Georgia from the Eastern division and this schedule isn’t promising.
There’s also the status of athletic director Allen Greene, who has been a supporter of Harsin’s. His contract expires Jan. 31, 2023 and there will be a new President leading the way on the Plains. So, the support system for Harsin could be taking a hit.
Auburn fans want to win right now and not wait for some type of rebuild. The Tigers staff is having a difficult time convincing recruits they will be back in 2023, so the underlying effects of this season are massive. Six wins won’t cut it, neither will seven, with Alabama and Georgia finding success, while LSU just hired Brian Kelly. Harsin has to win this season or he’ll be getting his buyout money and heading for the next job.
If the Cornhuskers return to Lincoln from Dublin with a loss, this could be a long season for Scott Frost. Is making a bowl game the new goal for this once dominant program? It’s been years since the Huskers were relevant. An overall record of 15-29 in four seasons at the helm is disastrous for Frost, it doesn’t matter that the team was competitive in most games last season.
Ii would be a difficult situation for Nebraska having to fire one of its own, but this program cannot keep hanging around mediocrity. Finishing 3-9 last season was a gut-punch to the loyal ‘Big Red’ fans and after speaking with numerous folks in the coaching ranks, the Cornhusker athletic department cannot sit back and wait for a potential turnaround.
It starts Saturday with Northwestern, in Ireland.
I have no idea how Herm Edwards still has a job with the Sun Devils. Edwards is close with his AD Ray Anderson, and any other coach with this type of baggage, and the NCAA investigating the program, would be gone. Edwards must win 8-10 games and the NCAA would have to magically disappear.
Geoff Collins has a buyout of just around $10 Million that drops to $7.1 Million on Jan. 1. He is likable, but things haven’t panned out for the Yellow Jackets. They will play Georgia, Ole Miss and UCF in the non-conference portion of the schedule. Good Luck.
Chip Kelly signed an extension after going 8-4 in 2021, but if the Bruins come out flat in Kelly’s fifth year in Westwood, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them head in a different direction before the Big Ten move. The Bruins athletic department would love to see Kelly’s continued progression, building off last season. UCLA might have the easiest non-conference schedule in the country, playing Bowling Green, Alabama State and South Alabama in the opening three games.
Mike Norvell is barely hanging on in Tallahassee. His 8-13 overall record isn’t going to cut it at Florida State. The Seminoles haven’t had a winning season since 2017 and if that doesn’t change in 2022, Florida State could be the next high-profile school looking for a coach.
Do we see any surprises like the 2021 offseason? Anything is possible, as previously proven.