Seven ACC football programs have changed head coaches within the last five years. Do I hear eight? Nine? How 'bout 10, 11 or the entire dozen?
auctioneer worth his staccato would relish this firesale, where the lone implausible scenario seems short-term stability.
Think about it.
, Wake Forest and
employ the conference's longest-tenured big whistles.
But for how long?
Florida State and Maryland already have designated the successors to
, respectively; Virginia Tech's
turns 63 this season, Wake Forest's Jim Grobe attracts suitors annually, and Virginia's
has the posse nipping at his Nikes.
Oh, and does anyone believe that third-year Miami coach
, 12-13 to date, is secure? Or that teams from the
and college will cease tempting
's Butch Davis?
No matter the resolutions, just don't blame coaching turnover on the ACC's failure to produce a top-five team since 2000.
At first blush, that appears counterintuitive. Stable leadership strikes most as a cornerstone of championships.
Just consider Beamer. Entering his 23rd year at his alma mater, he's poised to guide Virginia Tech to a 17th consecutive bowl season.
"He's just been there so long and recruited so well," Bowden said Monday at the ACC's preseason news conferences. "They're just a force every year."
Indeed, Beamer's run at Tech, not to mention Bowden's 34-years-and-counting at Florida State, are beyond remarkable. But Bowden's 2000 bunch is the ACC's last top-five team.
Meanwhile, eight of the last nine Associated Press national championships have been won by coaches with fewer than five years' tenure:
's Bob Stoops,
's Larry Coker,
's Jim Tressel, Southern California's
State's Les Miles.
The exception was
' Mack Brown — thank you, Vince Young! — in 2005.
Groh clearly is the most likely ACC coach to be sacked. He's preparing for his ninth season and a losing record in 2009 would be Virginia's third in the last four years.
Attending media Monday picked the Cavaliers fifth among six Coastal Division teams, in which case bank on an exit.
"It's not about me," Groh said politely but firmly about his status. "It's about the team."
Does he mention the obvious to his players?
"I don't address it with me," he said, "so why would I address it with them."
The sure sign of a coach in trouble is staff upheaval. Five of Groh's nine assistant coaches departed during the offseason, at least two involuntarily.
After Groh, Miami's Shannon looks like the conference's most endangered. He replaced his offensive and defensive coordinators after the Hurricanes lost their final three games last season.
"We're doing the right things off the field and we're recruiting the right players," Shannon said. "We're just a little young right now."
All that may be true. But so is this: Miami has lost 19 games the past three years, two more than in the previous eight seasons.
The Canes' downturn began in 2006, Coker's final year. But firing Coker, who was 60-15 with two national-title game appearances, looms more preposterous today than when the ax fell.
Adding to the angst in Miami, an opening four-game stretch against Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. Does Shannon have the chops to rally his squad from a 1-3 or 0-4 start?
We may soon see.
We already know that Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher is contracted to replace Bowden, with Maryland offensive coordinator tabbed to follow Friedgen. The unknown is the timing.
Friedgen, 62 and entering his ninth season, has long battled
. He's shed 95 pounds from a high of 401 but still deals with blood pressure and cholesterol issues.
were 8-5 in 2008, but Friedgen contends they underachieved. He'd like to bookend his rookie-season ACC title of 2001, but it had better happen fast.
Same goes for Bowden, the (over?) worshiped Saint Bobby. He turns 80 in November, remains a charmer and trails Penn State's
by one (383-382) in the chase for the
career victory record.
But unless the NCAA grants an appeal, Bowden and FSU will have to forfeit 14 wins due to academic impropriety.
"I hate to have (them) taken away," Bowden said. "But I won't cut my wrist over it."