Right now, there are six openings for head coach at the FBS level. Based on a report coming out of Piscataway, one Big Ten team has no plans on being the seventh.
Citing two individuals familiar with the decision-making process at Rutgers, nj.com is reporting that Chris Ash is not on the hot seat and his job as the Scarlet Knights’ head football coach is safe. The website does add the qualifier “barring an unforeseen event in the next five days.”
Athletic director Pat Hobbs was very public in his support of Ash over the summer as he attempted to quash any hot seat talk regarding the coach. A few months later, Hobbs remains just as supportive. From the website’s report:
“What did Pat (tweet) when (CBSSports.com) put (Ash) on the hot seat? ‘You can take (my guy) off your list?’ In Pat’s mind, (Ash) isn’t on the hot seat. He’s never been. He’s not now,” the university official told NJ Advance Media.
Another university official was more definitive on Ash’s status:
“Unless something changes in the next five days, there’s no way Ash isn’t coming back,” the university official said.
Both university officials told NJ Advance Media the result of Saturday’s season finale at Michigan State isn’t something that can change Hobbs’ thinking on Ash’s status.
The speculation surrounding Ash’s job security certainly makes sense on multiple levels, most notably the won-loss record the coach will carry into another bowl-less offseason.
Ash is currently 7-28 overall in nearly three full seasons with the Knights, including a 3-23 mark in Big Ten play. RU is 1-10 this season, and winless in the conference, heading into Week 13 and riding a 10-game losing streak that’s the second-longest in the country behind Rice’s 11 in a row.
All but two of Rutgers’ losses this season have come by double digits, and they’ve been outscored a combined 356-124 during the streak. They have failed to score more than 17 points in any game this season, and have been held to seven points or fewer in five of those contests. As a team, they are 128th out of 129 FBS teams in scoring with a 13.8 points per game average — UT-San Antonio is last at 13.5 ppg — while they are dead last in passing efficiency at 77.86. RU quarterbacks have thrown 20 interceptions in 333 pass attempts compared to just four touchdown passes; the picks are the worst of the 129 FBS team while only triple-option Navy (three) has thrown fewer touchdown passes. The Midshipmen, however, are averaging a touchdown pass every 32 throws while the Knights average one every 83 attempts.