In College Football America, our preview publication, I wrote about the hot seat coaches for the 2013 season. Now that we’re nine weeks into the season, it’s time to check in to see how these hot seat guys are doing, plus add some names to the list that I didn’t include in our print edition of College Football America. Next week I’ll check on the hot coaching names that I profiled in the print edition.
Randy Edsall, Maryland: After starting the season 4-0 the Terrapins have lost three of their last four, including losses to Florida State and Clemson. Sitting at 5-3 with four games remaining, the Terps should have at least one more win in them to get to bowl eligibility. As I wrote earlier this year, my belief is that if Edsall can get the Terps bowl eligible he’ll be around for the start of Big Ten play next fall.
Tim Beckman, Illinois: I was at the Illinois-Wisconsin game in Champaign last weekend I can tell you that there is at least one semi-drunk alum who things that the job Beckman has done is “horrendous.” Wouldn’t shut up about it. He might have a point. The Illini were listless on offense, even though they ended up scoring 32 points. Of course, the Illini gave up 56. They followed that with a 42-3 home loss to Michigan State. Beckman has won four games in two years. This may be more important – the Illini haven’t won a Big Ten game under Beckman yet. Start the clock. If the Illini don’t win a Big Ten game for a second straight season, it could be curtains.
Lane Kiffin, USC: Update: Kiffin was fired by USC earlier this month. Ed Orgeron is the interim head coach and a national search for Kiffin’s replacement is underway. The early money is on former USC great and current Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. So one of our preseason hot seat picks is gone.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: The Bulldogs beat Kentucky Thursday night, boosting them to four wins on the season. But they’re still staring up at the rest of the SEC West, with only Arkansas below them. Mullen might still get the Bulldogs to a bowl game, but the next three games won’t help – at South Carolina, at Texas A&M, home against Alabama. Plus, Ole Miss is not a slouch any more and the Egg Bowl caps the season. This smells like a 5-7 team. But I don’t know if missing a bowl game is enough to get the faithful in Starkville to turn their backs.
Steve Sarkisian, Washington: At the start of the season I wrote that it was time for the Huskies to make the jump after three straight 7-6 seasons. Well, they started 4-0, but lost three straight to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State, the last loss being a blowout. They got a bounce back win over Cal to improve to 5-3, so bowl eligibility is a real possibility. But they still have to play UCLA and Oregon State. Something tells me we’re staring at another seven-win season. But there isn’t a lot of chatter about Sarkisian’s job coming out of Seattle.
Ron English, Eastern Michigan: English is presiding over his fourth losing season in five years. The Eagles are 1-7 after a horrible loss to Northern Illinois, though it can be excused this weekend. The Eagles are reeling from the death of a teammate, Demarius Reed, who was shot to death earlier this week. So English is managing a horrible situation, in addition to speculation about his job. Separating the two, based on the record it’s hard to see English returning in 2014.
Kevin Wilson, Indiana: Indiana is in an interesting position coming out of their bye week. They’re 3-4, but coming off a loss to Michigan in which the Hoosiers scored 47 points. Two weeks earlier they upset Penn State, a huge step forward for the program. Bowl eligibility is a possibility. They won’t beat Ohio State or Wisconsin. They’re equipped to beat Purdue and Illinois. Minnesota is the swing game. If things break right the Hoosiers finish 6-6. If they don’t they probably go 5-7 and with that, I don’t think the Hoosiers make a move as in this scenario, Wilson will have improved the Hoosiers’ record every year. But it makes 2014 a key year.
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech: The Hokies were rolling right along until they lost to Duke on Saturday. Still, at 6-2, I would see the Hokies winning nine and perhaps 10, if they can upset Miami (FL). For now, turn down the heat.
Three more to watch (additions after September):
Mack Brown, Texas: I covered the Texas-TCU game so there was a lot of Mack discussion. The consensus is this – the Horns have to run the table for Brown to be assured of returning in 2014. Anything less than that and it’s a crapshoot. The Horns beat TCU on Saturday and the defense looked impressive. Case McCoy seems to have found something with the deep ball. The Horns get a breath against Kansas, then it’s a murderous final four – at West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and at Baylor.
Dan Enos, Central Michigan: Enos and the Chippewas are 3-5 right now and need three more wins in their final four games to reach another bowl game. Mediocrity is not fun. I think the locals in Mount Pleasant were hoping for a little more bump from last year’s bowl visit. Keep an eye on him. The seat is starting to heat up.
Bobby Hauck, UNLV: This one is getting interesting. Hauck and Rebels won four straight at one point before a loss to Fresno State. There is no question he’s coaching for his job and he’s giving the hot seat a run for its money entering the final four games. The Rebels can be competitive in any of their games coming down the stretch.
New additions (after Week 9):
Charlies Weis, Kansas: It’s a tough job, no question. But I saw the Jayhawks a couple of weeks ago and their offense is, in the words of that Illini alum, “horrendous.” That is Weis’ forte supposedly. His personality rubs some the wrong way, too. It might seem strange to fire him after two years, but I’m starting to think it’s a possibility.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska: Huskers fans might be able to accept his rant against them if he were winning more games. But he’s not, and the loss to Minnesota on Saturday was the first for the Huskers against the Golden Gophers in 53 years. Something’s not right and Pelini might take the fall. The Huskers feel lost in the din of the Big Ten.
Mike London, Virginia: Just a couple of years ago it looked like London had the Cavaliers on the right path. Now they look just plain lost. They’re coming off a 10-point loss to Georgia Tech and Clemson is on the way. Plus Miami and Virginia Tech on back-to-back weekends. This isn’t looking good for London. The Cavaliers may be looking for a change soon.
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State: I like Rhoads and he’s actually on my rising coaches list. But a 1-7 record and a winless mark in the Big 12 might end up putting him out of a job instead of putting him on a path to a new job. Ames is a tough place to coach, but there are expectations everywhere.
Norm Chow, Hawaii: I think he can survive for a third season, but the Warriors are winless and coming off a 3-win season. If he survives this year – and I think that’s 50-50 – he has to win in 2014.
June Jones, SMU: I’ve been around SMU for a couple of years now and nothing’s felt quite right since Jones flirted with Arizona State two years ago. This team has to be down 21 points before they can do something on offense and then when they do they explode. I think it’s more a matter of the Mustangs’ overall inconsistency and porous defense that might get Jones this year, if the Mustangs fail to make a bowl game. And they just might.