It’s do or die time for two B1G head coaches, according to CBS Sports.
Recently, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports published a story on college football coaches who will be on the hot seat for the 2019 season. At the top of the list are a pair of B1G leaders entering their fourth year at their respective programs — Rutgers’ Chris Ash and Illinois’ Lovie Smith.
Those two names have been the ones circulating around the conference as coaches on the hot seat headed into the 2019 campaign. In their first three seasons, neither Ash nor Smith has produced a winning record and the Scarlet Knights and Fighting Illini have consistently been at the bottom of the B1G.
Here’s what Dodd had to say about Smith:
The amount of love for Lovie surprised me when I had him on this list last year. There were plenty of folks in Smith’s corner. There was progress, they said. There was the contract extension, they said. There was improvement in Year 3 to 4-8, they said. But the buyout has been reduced, and the Big Ten isn’t getting easier. That Team Up North (Northwestern) played for the conference title last season. Smith has become his own defensive coordinator. He’d better be good.
Dodd also has Ash in the same category as Smith:
OK, let’s get the jokes out of the way. Have you heard the one about the first Rutgers team – from 150 years ago — being more competitive than today’s group? It’s an ironic anniversary for college football. Rutgers played in the first college football game (1896) but sits last in the Big Ten. It’s hard to remember Ash was a co-defensive coordinator at mighty Ohio State. His Rutgers teams are 7-29 through three seasons. The Scarlet Knights last beat an FBS team in 2016. As bad as Rutgers has been, it’s not a good sign the program cratered in Year 3 under Ash at 1-11. Just getting through November may be a challenge — Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State end the season.
Neither Illinois or Rutgers has to win their division for Smith or Ash to save their jobs, but it could be bowl or bust for both coaches.
You can view Dodd’s complete list of coaches on the hot seat here.