College Football America’s 2015 Hot Seat Coaches Through Week 4

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads during the Cyclones' game with TCU in 2014. (RoadTripSports photo by Matthew Postins)

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads during the Cyclones’ game with TCU in 2014. (RoadTripSports photo by Matthew Postins)

In our preseason edition of College Football America 2015 Yearbook we examined the head coaches that we felt were on the hottest seats entering the season. Now that we’re a month into the season, let’s take a look at how they’re doing. Plus, we’ll explore some potential additions to our list of Hot Seat Coaches. Remember to check back in after Week 8.

From the Yearbook

Mike London, Virginia: The Cavaliers are 1-3 and about to start ACC play. London has notched three straight losing seasons in Charlottesville and the natives were quite restless last year. Virginia’s ACC schedule isn’t a killer (no Florida State and no Clemson). But another losing season and it’s my belief that London is done. Right now it doesn’t look good.

Kevin Wilson, Indiana: The Hoosiers are 4-0. Holy Cow! Their best win, believe it or not, is over Western Kentucky. Hmmmm. The Hoosiers start Big Ten play with Ohio State, followed by Penn State, Rutgers and Michigan State. Wilson has bought some short-term goodwill. But this team needs a bowl berth or it’s quite possible the Hoosiers make a change.

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech: The loss to East Carolina hurts. You can explain Ohio State to the fan base. But East Carolina? That’s harder to explain away. Beamer is helped by an eminently manageable ACC schedule that does not include Clemson or Florida State. The Hokies could win their division. I still believe at this point that Beamer controls his own destiny, but a nine-win season and bowl win would sure help right about now.

Paul Rhoads, Iowa State: The Cyclones are 1-2 entering Big 12 play. They’ve won three games each of the last two years under Rhoads. The school just concluded a renovation of Jack Trice Stadium. They’re looking for more victories. Rhoads’ contract status — he’s still not even through half of his 10-year, $20 million contract — complicates matters. I’m sure Cyclone administrators would rather Rhoads just win enough to get to a bowl game to make the decision easier. Right now call it warm, not hot.

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: I reasoned that two straight losing seasons might be cause for worry for the Wildcat alum. Well the Wildcats have an upset win over Stanford, a 4-0 record and a Top 25 ranking so I guess I’ll shut up now. He’s safe.

Paul Haynes, Kent State: I’ll be checking out the Golden Flashes in November during MAC Week. The program has gotten no traction in his first two seasons and Haynes is 1-3 so far this year. I’m not sure how impatient administration is with Haynes, but the seat has to be getting uncomfortable. Remember what he inherited from Darrell Hazell — a team that won 11 games and the MAC East Division title in 2012. I’m impressed with the three-point loss to Minnesota on the road. Perhaps they are making some progress.

Norm Chow, Hawaii: Chow and the Warriors are off to a 2-2 start. Not bad. Let’s see how things go in Mountain West play.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: The Commodores have reverted to the old days when they were the SEC doormat. The floor swallowed up Mason quickly. The ’Dores lost to Western Kentucky to start the season and they face Middle Tennessee on the road this weekend. Two losses to “Group of 5” teams might cause administration to re-evaluate. James Franklin’s success made Mason’s life far more difficult, frankly.

Trent Miles, Georgia State: The win in Sun Belt play helps. I was concerned coming into the season that he hadn’t pushed forward the momentum built by Bill Curry. We’ll keep an eye on this one.

Scott Shafer, Syracuse: The Orange hung in there with LSU this past weekend and are 3-1 entering the bulk of ACC play. Shafer has the Orange pointed toward a bowl game after a one-year absence. But they’re having quarterback issues again, so we’ll monitor. But the seat isn’t as hot as it initially seemed it was coming into the season.

New to Hot Seat Coaches

George O’Leary, UCF: This may have nothing to do with performance. Leary is not only the head coach, he is also the interim athletic director. In September several news outlets reported that O’Leary was considering retirement after the 2015 season to become the school’s full-time athletic director, but UCF president John Hitt slapped those rumors down a few days later. The thing is, the Knights are off to an 0-4 start and that doesn’t look good set against the rumors. O’Leary is signed through 2020, however, so that complicates things. If a move comes this offseason, I think it would be O’Leary, and not the school, making the move.

Al Golden, Miami (FL): Where else can you be undefeated and be on a hot seat? Hurricane fans aren’t jazzed by the fact that they only beat Nebraska by three points (hey, they won). Some might say Golden has underachieved, but only USC had more crippling sanctions in the past five years than Miami. Yet, there were banners calling for Golden’s firing being flown over Sun Life Stadium last weekend. Plus, there’s a hashtag — #FireAlGolden. So the movement is official. He is 31-22 at Miami with two bowl losses. U fans can be notoriously impatient. It’s worth monitoring. I personally think you keep him — unless Jimmy Johnson wants to come back.

Charlie Strong, Texas: I am of the opinion that a college head coach should get four years to turn around a program. But Texas is a unique case because the alumni love nothing more than to try and hire the football coach (see Saban, Nick). Worse, the guy that hired Strong, Steve Patterson, was fired. Strong’s future may be tied to whomever the Longhorns hire to be the new athletic director. Texas is 1-3 and looks pointed toward a non-bowl season. But, they’ve played tough in two hard-luck losses to Cal and Oklahoma State. The Longhorns are fighting, showing that Strong hasn’t lost the locker room.

Kyle Flood, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are 2-2, but Flood is wrapping up a three-game suspension for interfering in academics on behalf of one of his players. We’ll have to see how the administration feels about that as the season goes along, especially if Rutgers fails to make a bowl game.

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina: As far as I’m concerned the Ol’ Ball Coach (or Coach Visor, if you prefer) can coach as long as he wants as long as he remains the golden quote machine he’s been his entire career. But retirement rumors dogged him this offseason (he had to arrange a hasty news conference in front of an elevator to deliver the message) and the Gamecocks have struggled to 2-2. Don’t count him out. But keep an eye on the situation, too.

2015 FBS Coaching Changes So Far

SCHOOL OUT IN
Illinois Tim Beckman Bill Cubit (interim)
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