Outlook for new coaches; hot seat watch (cont.)
Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State: 6-6. Michael Oher's former high school coach instilled life in the Red Wolves' offense as coordinator last season.
Pete Lembo, Ball State: 3-9. The Cardinals, who steadily declined the past two seasons, are starting over under the former Elon coach.
Darrell Hazell, Kent State: 5-7. Dominant defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix is the bright spot on a team that will rely heavily on its defense.
Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette: 2-10. The Sun Belt's projected last-place team opens with Oklahoma State and ends at Arizona.
Don Treadwell, Miami (Ohio): 8-4. The Mark Dantonio protégé takes over the reigning MAC champions. Don't expect much drop-off.
Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois: 9-3. Doeren inherits an 11-win team with a standout quarterback (Chandler Harnish). Another division title is possible.
Dan McCarney, North Texas: 5-7. The former Iowa State coach brings instant credibility but faces a murderous early-season schedule.
Steve Addazio, Temple: 8-4. Golden laid the groundworkl; now Addazio is expected to build on it. He'll first need to develop a consistent quarterback.
Bill Blankenship, Tulsa: 8-4. Expect more of the same from the Hurricane: a high-powered offense led by C-USA Player of the Year G.J. Kinnie.
1. Rick Neuheisel, UCLA: The eternally upbeat coach hasn't done much to back up his enthusiasm, posting two 4-8 records in three seasons. After parting ways with vaunted offensive coordinator Norm Chow, he desperately needs a consistent quarterback to emerge this fall.
2. Mark Richt, Georgia: A sterling 96-34 record and two SEC titles won't be enough to save the 11th-year coach if the Dawgs don't reverse their four-year slide from 11-2 in 2007 to 6-7 last season. An injection of talented freshmen and a favorable schedule should help.
3. Paul Wulff, Washington State: Tasked with an overwhelming rebuilding job, Wulff has elevated the Cougars' talent but has just a 5-32 record to show for it. Wazzu fans have been patient, but with talented quarterback Jeff Tuel, another one-win Pac-12 season won't be acceptable.
4. Dennis Erickson, Arizona State: The Sun Devils haven't been to a bowl game since Erickson's first season in 2007. With the bulk of his lineup returning from a 6-6 team that had several near-misses last year, many feel ASU can win the Pac-12 South. Another mediocre year would be a dagger.
5. Ron Zook, Illinois: Zook has gone just 28-45 in Champaign but keeps finding ways to survive, producing a much-needed bowl berth and victory last season to finish 7-6. With a new athletic director in town (Cincinnati's Mike Thomas), Zook won't have as long a leash if the Illini regress again.
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