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What these three coaches tell us about the state of college football

There are 128 head coaches in Football Bowl Subdivision. If you were to place all of them on a scatter plot by their hiring dates, there'd be a massive cluster around the last five years and then, starting around 2008, a handful of dots every year until the turn of the century until you got to one lonely speck marking Frank Beamer's hiring at Virginia Tech back in 1986.

With a total of 126 hirings over the past five years (mind you, there are just now 128 teams in FBS) college football is very much a win-or-get-out business. Make it past year four, and chances are it's because you started winning very quickly. But for every rule there is an exception, and in this case there are three.

Of the 128 FBS head coaches, three of them have won seven or less games each of the past four seasons. They are Iowa State's Paul Rhoads, Central Michigan's Dan Enos and UNLV's Bobby Hauck. This may read like a negative note, but it's not. Plenty of coaches don't get four years to build a program, as Jon Embree, Ellis Johnson and a host of others can attest. 

Two of the three are in the midst of a definite upswing. After three straight two-win seasons, Hauck took UNLV to its first bowl game since 2000 this fall. Enos rebounded from back-to-back 3-9 campaigns to a Pizza Bowl win in 2012 and a 6-6 follow-up in 2013. And even though Rhoads' Cyclones ultimately suffered a down year in 2013, the Iowa State faithful was enamored enough with him before the season to completely sell out of season tickets three weeks before opening kick. 

This is more of a commentary on the state of college football and the expectations heaped on coaches. When 128 athletics directors and presidents have their fingers glued to the eject button, you get a coaching middle class with a population of three.