There are hundreds if not thousands of aspiring head football coaches around the country every day. Our peewee leagues are filled with volunteer coaches pretending they are Pete Carrol coaching it up against Notre Dame. Coordinators around the country are all working on their craft and establishing networking roots in order to one day be one of the lucky few to lead a college football program. But are there any jobs out there which, in all likelihood, just might be incapable of winning at? One school jumped out at me above the rest and coincidentally (or maybe not?) enough, their head coach slot is currently vacant. The school? The Eastern Michigan Eagles.
With its proximity to Ann Arbor, I find it very hard to believe that Eastern Michigan can ever truly be turned around as a program. Not only that, EMU is competing with two other Michigan directional schools in its' own conference. Western Michigan and Central Michigan have both reported recent success in the conference and look to be building themselves to the upper tier programs in the MAC.
In the MAC West division, there really is no perceived weak program outside Eastern Michigan. Ball State may have the least amount of resources but they have a standout NFL-ready quarterback in Nate Davis and oh yeah, they only lost a single game all year this past season. Northern Illinois won two games in 2007, but new Head Coach Jerry Kill led a rejuvenated young Huskies team to a solid 6 wins and they seem to be on their way back to the top of the MAC.
Toledo is always tough in the Glass Bowl, and upset Michigan this year. Even with Tom Amstutz retiring, their history suggests they never stay down for too long. Both Central and Western Michigan have competed for MAC championships in the last few seasons and have proved to be a good breeding ground for upcoming coaches (Cincy's Brian Kelly came from Central Michigan.) Might EMU be better off dropping a level to FCS. I am no one to suggest what an athletic program should or shouldn't do but if I were the administration and fan base, I would look within myself and see just what was important. EMU has had attendance issues recently, and a simple stroll through campus will find more "University of Michigan" jackets than EMU wear.
Eastern Michigan might be better to cut their losses and instead try to compete in the lower division and build a winning program from the ground up. Can EMU ever turn into a winner? Sure. EMU found a way to win the MAC in 1987 and defeated San Jose State 30-27 in the California Bowl that year. But all the external factors point towards this job being quite possibly the toughest in the country