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

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Who needs patience when you have TV money? In the final weekend of college football, two more Power Five coaches lost their jobs, and Colorado passing from Carl Dorrell and Wisconsin surprises everyone leaving Paul Christ. It was the fourth Sunday in a row that at least one Power Five coach was shown at the door after Nebraska’s Scott Frost, Arizona State’s Herm Edwards, and Georgia Tech’s Jeff Collins.

All five were fired with the idea that the schools that fired them wanted a “head start” in finding a replacement, which is a common motivator that leads to coaches being fired earlier and earlier every year. If Nebraska had waited until October and fired Frost the same day Dorrell and Krist were fired, they could have saved $7.5 million. Wisconsin reportedly owes Krist over $16 million for not doing his job anymore. This is Wisconsin Athletic Director Chris McIntosh speaking. Chryst ransom ‘significantly smaller’ than reported, so it could fall somewhere between $8 million and $10 million. What a deal!

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Coaching ransom seems to be similar to cryptocurrency. No one knows what they are, they only know that they exist and that someone supposedly pays for them.

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Whatever the case, seeing so many managers sacked so quickly this season is still frustrating, and Krist’s sacking may be the most shocking of all. Frost entered the season in a hot seat with a pay cut. He was in a winning position and then lost to the Northwest and South Georgia. He begged for a shoe. Herm Edwards entered the season with an NCAA investigation looming over his head that left him in a precarious position, even if his boss was his former agent. Jeff Collins didn’t win more than three games in his first three seasons at Georgia Tech and could always get fired. Colorado have looked like one of the worst teams in the country – not just the Power Five – and have been 4-13 since the start of 2021. For Dorrell, it was only a matter of time.

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But Christ? Krist 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 Pennsylvania State), the Cotton Bowl, and the Orange Bowl. His badgers went to the Rose Bowl after 2019.

Krist started the weekend with 68 wins in Wisconsin, the third most in program history. He was one win short of putting Bret Biema in second place behind the man who hired them both, Barry Alvarez. He then lost at home to the Illinois team by 24 points and was fired as Alvarez’s replacement.

None of this is to say that Wisconsin made a mistake or there were no warning signs. I have no idea what’s beyond Wisconsin from here. It may continue to be one of the top programs in the Big Ten and compete for playoff spots in the expanded roster, or it may be lost in the turmoil of a changing conference. One that will likely cut divisions when it adds USC and UCLA.

Wisconsin understood this and decided to take a step when he saw signs of decline. The Badgers have not won in the West since 2019, have struggled against ranked rivals in recent years, and roster changes that were supposed to improve off-season offense have only made matters worse. The Badgers shouldn’t lose at home outside of conferences like they did against Washington State. They should not lose at home to Illinois by 24 points. While they can live with losing to Ohio State (that’s just the rule of thumb for most Big Ten teams), they’d at least like to look competitive against them. This was not the case two weeks ago.

It’s okay for the Badgers to have slips like this from time to time, but all three can’t happen in the same month after the warning signs of the last two seasons. If Wisconsin had another midseason, finished second or third in the West, and went for a mediocre bowl game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jim Leonhard serving as an interim bowler.

But seeing Wisconsin make the move on the first weekend in October should surprise everyone. That’s what the SEC teams do because they’re crazy! Wisconsin should be a stable program with traditional Midwestern values! If Wisconsin suddenly becomes a program ready to fire its third-ranked coach in the first month of the season even though it has never had a loss, it could happen to anyone.

Keep your head on the swivel, trainers.

Trainer of the Week

Brian Harsin watched his team from Auburn take a 17-0 lead at home against LSU and probably thought to himself, “Oh, I’m about to go 4-1 and these lunatics are going to want to fire me anyway.” “. He was wrong on both counts. Well, for now, anyway.

Auburn squandered his 17-0 lead and lost 21-17. I went to bed Saturday night waiting for the news of Harsin’s dismissal, because that’s what every American football columnist has to think about every time they put their head on the pillow. Instead, the ax went to Carl Dorrell and Paul Crist.

What do you think were the chances over the summer that Krist would lose his job before Harsin did? I suspect Auburn would rather wait until he lost to Georgia to move on to Harsin than have a temporary wear it, meaning all neutrals should be rooting for the Tigers against Georgia this weekend. How embarrassing would that be?

Hottest double of the week

It’s a thrilling move by Liberty’s Jaivian Lofton and the quarterback’s look was even better after him, but are you ready for a take that’s hot enough to melt the screen you’re reading this on if you dare to continue?

The receiver’s gloves are PED.

Seriously, think about it a little. With Aaron Judge recently setting 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 McGuire were doped and we love to pretend that current athletes don’t take things that are even better than anything these guys could dream of.

In any case, I’m not here to continue this argument. Barry Bonds is the king of home runs, and if you think otherwise, then you are a nerd, and I don’t want to talk to you about it anymore. The only note I want to make is that sticky gloves like a Lofton pair and all the receivers that are worn these days are more effective than steroids in terms of performance. Football has been around for over a century, and players couldn’t make those kinds of shots. However, for some reason, we’ve seen them explode over the past decade with designer gloves created in a lab to give players superhuman powers.

This is an opinion that began with irony, but the more I thought about it, the more I began to believe in it. Football is not just about gloves. Look at equipment improvements across all professional sports. Whether it’s the bats that hitters use, the clubs that golfers use, or the gloves that receivers wear. All of them are designed to improve performance to make the athlete better and the game more interesting.

Week celebration

It’s Ole Miss defensive coordinator Chris Partridge in the spotlight with his staff celebrating after Ole Miss’s Austin Keys stripped Kentucky QB Will Lewis in the final minute of the game to keep the Rebels winning. The Wildcats were trailing 22–19 and scored the first goal at the 12-yard line with 58 seconds left when it happened. It looked like what Ole Miss hoped most of all was forcing overtime. Instead, the Rebels won and replaced Kentucky in the top ten in both major polls.

Music of the week

I hope UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson subsequently wrote an apology to their moms for what he did to their boys. UCLA beat Washington 40-32 with amazing DTR play (315 passing yards, 53 rushing, four touchdowns) to help the Bruins reach the top 25 in the AP rankings for the first time this season, setting up them to great success. game against No. 11 Utah this week.

Heisman Winner of the Week

I don’t see many scenarios where TCU QB Max Duggan ends the year getting Heisman votes, but if he continues to play the way he played in TCU’s 55-24 frog stomp in Oklahoma, he just might. Duggan completed 23 of his 33 pass attempts for 302 yards and three touchdowns. As if that wasn’t enough, he ran for 116 yards and threw two more touchdowns. He is the second player in TCU history to throw for over 300 yards and rush for over 100 yards in the same game. Trewone Boykin was first, throwing for 301 yards and rushing for 124 yards 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 finished the season 11–2 and ranked 7th in the AP Top 25 poll. Duggan’s performance improved the Horned Frogs to 4–0. Where can it lead from here?

College Football Playoff Week Prediction

Here’s what I think the selection committee would be like if they released the rankings this week.

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio
  3. Georgia


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