Let's be honest, there is no earthly way that Hank Hughes will make it to January anyway. This is Tommy Tuberville we are talking about here. The man who fired Art Kaufman after leading the Bearcats to one of their best statistical seasons in their history because he didn't think that Kaufman did enough to help the Bearcats recruit. Hughes could land every five star talent between now and January and it shouldn't be enough for him to keep his job.
I think the Bearcats have decent talent on defense, a little thin at cornerback and at defensive tackle sure, but the bearcats have been more successful with less talent in years past than they are this year. They are on pace to shatter the season records for points and yards allowed in a season.
The only real variable from last year to this year is at the top, and it is clearly a change for the worse. There is no one thing that is wrong with this defense. There is nothing that you can point to and say that if they did x fractionally better they would be better. They don't do anything well.
Firing Hughes is not going to make the Bearcats good, or even below average overnight. But you do it for two reasons 1) what is the point of playing out the string when everyone knows what is going to happen? 2) There is a strong chance that this season could take an irreparable turn for the worse. There is so much negativity surrounding this team right now that Tuberville has to do something to change that. Firing Hughes as a symbol that he understands that changes need to be made could help to put a stop to the slide that the Bearcats. Tuberville needs to do something or this season (and possibly this team), the fanbase and all the good momentum that was created over the summer could be lost forever. Tuberville has to see that and he has to act.