Coaches hot seat: Bobo vs. Fangio

Sergio Santistevan

As the weather in Colorado gets colder, the coaching seat turns a bit warmer, especially for Colorado State University and the Denver Broncos.

coach clapping hands surrounded by football players
Mike Bobo claps for the Colorado State University football team after losing the Rocky Mountain Showdown on Aug. 31. (Anna von Pechmann | Collegian)

Head coaches Mike Bobo and Vic Fangio have combined for a 2-9 record this season. Colorado football fans demand excellence, and both teams have failed to meet their expectations thus far. 

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With the season slowly approaching the halfway point, how hot are both coaches’ seats?

Bobo

CSU football is off to a 1-5 start, with the lone win coming against an FCS school, Western Illinois. The Rams still have dates set with Fresno State, Air Force and Boise State this season. To make matters even worse, CSU has lost 10 straight games to FBS opponents dating back to last season.

If Bobo’s seat wasn’t hot going into the season, it definitely is now.

Bobo inherited a program that was coming off one of their best seasons in recent memory. Now, the Rams are irrelevant in the college football world. 

This season, the team has shown a lot of potential but still hasn’t been able to generate a solid win. The fan base is losing their patience week by week, and it’s resulting in low attendance. Throughout the season, the Rams’ own mistakes have cost them. In Saturday night’s loss to San Diego State, the Rams unsuccessfully ran the ball three straight times at the goal line.

Another reason the Ram faithful is looking for a coaching change is Bobo’s rivalry record. In Bobo’s tenure, the Rams have historically struggled to win a rivalry game (University of Colorado Boulder, Air Force Academy, University of Wyoming). Additionally, Bobo has nothing to boast on his resume, as the program has zero bowl wins during his time. 

CSU looks destined to fall victim to another 3-9 season, with the chance of going 4-8 if they can upset someone or win a rivalry game. 

However, Bobo has one important thing on his side — money. Bobo’s buyout is a bit complicated. If Athletic Director Joe Parker decides to let Bobo go after the season, CSU will owe him $5.5 million. But if Parker waits until Jan. 1 to let Bobo go, the school will only owe him $3 million. There’s no way CSU will pay $5.5 million to buy out Bobo unless a booster donates the money.

Time will tell if the CSU head coaching job opens up, but one thing is for sure: Bobo’s seat is hot right now.

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Fangio

Since Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset, the Broncos have not played in a playoff game. In Colorado, this is not acceptable. This state lives and breathes the Denver Broncos.

Vic Fangio at Denver Broncos practice. (Photo by Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images).

After firing Vance Joseph, the Broncos brought in Fangio to help bring the winning culture back. After a 0-4 start this season, Fangio got the first win of his career as a head coach against the Los Angeles Chargers.

But with a 1-4 record and two straight disastrous campaigns, Broncos Country is becoming impatient. The fans will demand action if the season doesn’t go as they planned.

Like the Rams, the Broncos’ own mistakes have cost them this season. In two home games, the Broncos managed to blow their lead with under two minutes to play.

Unlike college, no NFL team is financially afraid to buy a coach out of their contract. Bobo has money on his side; Fangio does not. But what Fangio does have going for him is patience.

He’s a first-year head coach who has shown glances of brilliance and guts. The team seems to love playing for the man too. Despite a bad start to the season, Broncos Country has not turned their back on Fangio yet. There is still a lot of faith in him right now.

Right now, Fangio’s seat is not hot — just warm. Beating the Chargers today helps his case. But if the Broncos tank the ship and have one of the worst records in football at season’s end, then things could be a little different.

Both coaches have to prepare each week like they are coaching for their jobs because in this business, there’s no telling when the red card comes. 

Sergio Santistevan can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TheRealsSergio.