One bad season can put a coach in danger of being fired, and these guys are in a precarious position entering this season.
Six coaches who really need some wins. You'll notice a distinctly Big Ten flavor.
Rich Rodriguez, Michigan. No surprise here. Rodriguez has lost 16 games in two seasons with the Wolverines AND he's gotten the program in trouble with the NCAA. Oh yeah, and he's now working for an athletic director who did not hire him. But Michigan does not hastily fire coaches. Eight victories and a bowl game should buy Coach Rod another year. A losing record will almost certainly finish him in Ann Arbor.
Dan Hawkins, Colorado. A hefty buyout — about $3 million reportedly — probably kept Hawkins in Boulder for a fifth season after the Buffaloes went 3-9 in 2009. He's been to one bowl game in four season and has yet to have a winning record. He was in a tough spot when he took over following Gary Barnett's messy departure, but there have been few signs of progress. Unfortunately for Hawk, the schedule does him no favors (at California, Hawaii, Georgia, at Oklahoma and at Nebraska).
Ron Zook, Illinois. Since taking the Illini to the Rose Bowl in 2007, Zook has won eight games. He cleaned out his coordinators after last season, bringing in Paul Petrino (Bobby's brother) to run the offense and Vin Koenning (from Kansas State) to handle the defense.
Bill Lynch, Indiana. Lynch stepped into the toughest of situations, taking over the program after Terry Hoeppner's death in 2007. He took the Hoosiers to a bowl that season, but has had two losing seasons since.
Tim Brewster, Minnesota. He came to Minneapolis and energetically tried to rally support for a program that has been mostly mediocre for a while. He won one game his first season, bounced back with eight his second — helped by a weak schedule — and fell off to six last year. With a fancy new stadium to fill, the university is unlikely to swallow another clunker.
Ralph Friedgen, Maryland. The Fridge was 31-8 in his first three seasons at Maryland, but the Terps haven't been the same since and they crashed to 2-10 last year. Offensive coordinator James Franklin already has been tapped as Friedgen's successor in 2012, but that plan could go out the window if Maryland falters again.