LSU fired head football coach Les Miles on Sunday, even though he had a career record of 114-34 that included a national championship.
Obviously the bar is set in the stratosphere at Baton Rouge.
Then we have the case of the Kansas Jayhawks. Second-year coach David Beaty takes a 1-14 career record into Thursday’s nationally televised game at Texas Tech.
The bar for Beaty in Lawrence? Is there even a bar to be found?
Kansas’ fans certainly had to take notice of Miles’ firing. If he can be pink slipped for starting the season 2-2, could Beaty take the fall for KU starting 1-3 and again staring into the abyss?
Being a KU alum, I’ve never seen a program that has fallen so far and my heart hurts for the coaches and players. The Jayhawks are historically bad, even for a school with their below-mediocre history.
Beaty went 0-12 in his first year, but was given a free pass because he inherited a mess created by Turner Gill and accelerated by Charlie Weis.
The book on the enthusiastic Beaty was that he had strong ties to the fertile recruiting ground of Texas and that he came cheap. He makes pocket change compared to what Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops or even Kansas State’s Bill Snyder makes.
Beaty says and does all the right things. He vows he’s going to get this clunker of a program turned around. He pleads for patience.
But when you watch the Jayhawks play — I throw out the Rhode Island victory in Week 1 since the Rams aren’t a Division I team — it looks helter skelter. Beaty is the head coach and offensive coordinator. Then for a while he took over special teams. He is stacking so many hats on his head they’re touching the ceiling.
All you have to do is the eye test. KU is physically and athletically inferior to the teams it plays. Its offense goes sideways as it throws bubble screen after bubble screen where the receivers who don’t catch the ball apparently don’t realize they have to block to make the play work. The running game contributes little. The offensive line is a deck of cards that’s shuffled from week to week.
And the defense? Oh my, take away Daniel Wise and Dorrance Armstrong and there’s not another player who could make a two-deep of any other team in the Big 12, except maybe Fish Smithson.
The special teams are a source of comic relief.
That brings us to Thursday and Texas Tech. Unless coach Kliff Kingsbury has a heart of pure gold, KU fans will spend the night shielding their eyes. The Red Raiders can name their score with their high-powered offense, presumably somewhere in the 60s or 70s. Granted, Beaty has extra time to prepare, but it won’t matter. This is going to be ugly with a capital U.
It’s often been said that things can only get better, but in KU’s case they truly can get worse. Whatever is below rock bottom, that’s where the Jayhawks are there.
The question now is how long will Beaty preside over the rubble?