You probably shouldn’t expect a ton of movement in the college football coaching carousel this season. Given the hectic nature of this season, complete with conference-only schedules, major star opt-outs, and everything else, it is a bit unfair for the results of the 2020 season to weigh the same as a normal season. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any movement though, especially in leagues like Big Ten football where expectations are extremely high.
Michigan football’s Jim Harbaugh has felt some heat for a while now. It is very unclear whether the school is actually anywhere near letting the famed alumnus go. He is an impressive 47–18 in five seasons, with a 32-12 mark in Big Ten play.
The biggest issue for Harbaugh has been his inability to beat Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been a buzz saw under Urban Meyer and Ryan Day, the entire time that Harbaugh has been in Ann Arbor. Still, he needs to get off the schneid in that series soon. He has also struggled in big games generally. The Wolverines are just 1-4 in bowl games during his tenure.
An online sportsbook just published new odds for the “first Big Ten football coach fired this season.” Illinois’ Lovie Smith and Nebraska’s Scott Frost lead the way at 2/1 and 3/2, respectively. Harbaugh comes in at 5/1, for the third best odds, tied with Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald.
100-to-1 odds that Ryan Day will be the first Big Ten coach fired this season, according to @SportsBettingAG. I'd save your money if I were you.
(Jim Harbaugh with the third-best odds at 5-to-1.) 👀 pic.twitter.com/XlDtfmvswT
— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) September 24, 2020
Truthfully, none of these are good bets. The ongoing health crisis is going to make athletic departments very loath to make a big move like firing a football coach. That goes triple for any that may have to pay out a big buyout to do so, with revenues being slashed this year.
Frost may be the most likely, though athletic director Bill Moos has given him a long rope. Lovie Smith makes sense on paper, but he’s also coming off of a bowl trip, and seems to have at least some momentum building. A guy like Fitzgerald being at 5/1 is pretty ridiculous though. He’s about as entrenched as any coach is, short of the Nick Sabans of the world.
Further down on the list of Big Ten football coaches are Maryland’s Mike Locksley (14/1), Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst (20/1), Minnesota’s PJ Fleck (25/1), Michigan State’s Mel Tucker (33/1), Rutgers’ Greg Schiano and Penn State’s James Franklin (50/1), and at the bottom, Ohio State’s Ryan Day (100/1).