Coaching vacancies are likely to grow
There have been 14 coaching changes at the FBS level this season.
Three of those were in the Pac-12, with Washington, Washington Sate and USC all dismissing their coaches in the midst of the regular season. And there’s reason to believe that number could grow before the New Year rolls around.
Washington State coach Nick Rolovich refused to get vaccinated although it was required of state employees. Rolovich applied for a religious exemption, but the school ultimately decided it was unreasonable to accommodate him and let him go along with four of his assistants.
Rolovich appealed the decision and his lawyer has threatened legal action.
His interim replacement, defensive coordinator Jake Dickert, has the Cougars (6-5, 5-3) bowl-eligible. If WSU wins the Apple Cup against Washington on Friday, and then wins the bowl game, it’s possible that the Cougars give Dickert the job.
At Washington, Jimmy Lake was fired under unusual circumstances, too.
Lake was disciplined for swatting at and shoving one of his players during a game against Oregon. He was suspended for the following game but that essentially ended it for Lake, who took over after the departure of Chris Petersen and got less than two full seasons to prove himself.
The Huskies played just four games in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, then he was let go after 10 games of the 2021 season.
The Huskies are 4-7 overall and 3-5 in conference, and playing out the season under interim coach Bob Gregory. Washington’s season will end with the Apple Cup on Friday.
At USC, Clay Helton was the first coach fired this season, just two games into his eighth year at USC. He was 46-24 overall with the Trojans, including a Rose Bowl victory after the 2016 season and a Pac-12 title in 2017.
After a pair of good seasons with Sam Darnold at quarterback, Helton couldn’t sustain the success. He was fired after a blowout loss at home to Stanford on Sept. 11 and replaced with interim coach Donte Williams.
The Trojans (4-6, 3-5) play No. 13 BYU over the holiday weekend and then a postponed game against Cal.
Georgia Southern hired Helton on Tuesday, seven weeks after USC fired him.
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards is considered among the coaches in danger because of a combination of factors: tough late-season losses and an NCAA investigation.
The Sun Devils began the season ranked before struggling with inconsistency. They’re coming off a 24-10 loss at Oregon State on Saturday. Still, ASU (7-4, 5-3) is bowl-eligible and likely finishing second in the Pac-12 North.
Another question mark is David Shaw at Stanford, who has had past success with the Cardinal (3-8, 2-7). Stanford upset Oregon, but a blowout 41-11 loss to Cal in the Big Game last Saturday may have sealed Shaw’s fate.