Coaching status report week rolls on to the Big 12. Thanks to the conference’s light roster and relatively settled coaching situation, this one should be short.
Movin’ On Up… Eventually, Maybe
Matt Campbell, Iowa State
Tenure: 8-11, 5-8 Big 12
This year: 5-2, 3-1 Big 12
We outlined in detail yesterday why Campbell most likely isn’t going anywhere this winter, but now’s a good chance to reiterate what an interesting position Campbell is in. Right now the Cyclones are riding a 3-game winning streak, No. 25 in the AP poll and the toast of college football. That could change drastically in the next three weeks — for better or worse. Iowa State’s next three games: vs. No. 4 TCU, at No. 22 West Virginia, vs. No. 11 Oklahoma State.
By Nov. 12, Iowa State could be 8-2, a mortal lock to reach the zombie Big 12 Championship and Campbell could be in “THIS GUY IS THE NEXT URBAN MEYER!!!!” territory of hype. Or, he could be 5-5 and in “Hey, remember when Iowa State was a big deal last month?” territory.
Always On Watch
Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Tenure: 205-109-1, 119-83-1 Big 12
This year: 3-4, 1-3 Big 12
The records here don’t even matter. Snyder will coach for as long: A) he wants to coach and/or B) his body allows him. Still, The Wizard is 78 and spent his offseason battling cancer. The end of his illustrious career is coming sooner or later. The question, though, is whether a disappointing season — K-State was No. 18 in the preseason AP poll — increases Snyder’s resolve to coach at age 79 or encourages him to hang it up.
These Next Five Games Are Huge
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
Tenure: 28-29, 14-26 Big 12
This year: 4-3, 1-3 Big 12
The metaphor we used to open this series — about this being the late third quarter of the season, and how mistakes that were costly earlier in the year are fatal now — applies to Kingsbury perhaps more than anyone else in college football. Through Oct. 7, this looked like a solid bounce back season for Texas Tech, following the pattern of the Kingsbury era where the Red Raiders make bowl games in odd-numbered years and miss them in even-numbered years.
Texas Tech’s defensive yards per play ranking has jumped from 126th to 65th, and its turnover margin has leaped from 93rd to 15th. So, yes, all looked good through the first five-and-a-half games, when Texas Tech opened 4-1, falling only 41-34 to Oklahoma State, and built a 35-17 lead on West Virginia in Morgantown.
But the Red Raiders surrendered 29 unanswered points in a 46-35 loss to WVU, and then got blown out at home by Iowa State on Saturday. Now all of a sudden what looked like a 6-1 (3-1 Big 12) start has wilted to a 4-3 record with five crucial games ahead: at No. 10 Oklahoma, vs. Kansas State, vs. Baylor, vs. No. 4 TCU, at Texas.
If you assume losses to the top-10 opponents, that leaves three toss-up games that Kingsbury would do well to sweep.
It’s All Out There For You
David Beaty, Kansas
Tenure: 3-28, 1-21 Big 12
This year: 1-6, 0-4 Big 12
Beaty’s tenure was already analyzed in our round-up of third-year head coaches. Here’s what I said then:
Well, what can you say? The record is what it is. If you want to build a case to move on from Beaty, the numbers are right there in front of you.
But why on earth would Kansas even entertain moving on from David Beaty? The man is as good and earnest as there is in college football and, more importantly, is excited to represent Kansas football. This isn’t a 3-year rebuild.
What’s changed since then? Well, the Jayhawks have played two games and didn’t score in either of them. KU gained 106 yards in a 45-0 loss at Iowa State, and followed that up by posting a Big 12 record-worst 21 yards in a 43-0 blanking at TCU. Also, the local media has begun to make the case for KU to move on from Beaty.
Beaty’s teams have always played with a level of enthusiasm well beyond a level that evidence and logic say they should. But if that changes and it’s apparent the team has quit on its coaches, it will be tough for the administration to ask an understandably frustrated fan base to look beyond the box score.