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 at the season’s halfway point, let’s take a look at how they’re doing. Plus, we will make a few mid-season additions to our list of Hot Seat Coaches.
From the Yearbook
Mike London, Virginia: The Cavaliers (2-4, 1-1 in ACC) are closing in on their fourth straight losing season under London. My belief is he doesn’t survive if the Cavaliers aren’t in a bowl game again this year. Their remaining schedule is manageable, but winning four of their final six will be a chore. Here’s a question — does London get a pass for playing such a difficult non-conference slate? The Cavs play one of the tougher slates in the country each year outside of the ACC.
Kevin Wilson, Indiana: When last we checked in the Hoosiers were 4-0. Now they’ve lost to Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers. A loss to Michigan State this weekend likely drops them to 4-3. Can Wilson pilot the Hoosiers to .500 by season’s end? I think his employment depends on it. The bad news is their next three games are against ranked teams (MSU, Michigan and Iowa). Lose all three and the Hoosiers have to beat Maryland and Purdue on the road to reach a bowl game.
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech: The Hokies remain under .300 (3-4) and 1-2 in the ACC. Technically, Virginia is ahead of Virginia Tech in the ACC Coastal Division. With five games remaining and no games against Clemson and Florida State the opportunity to win six games remains. But the Hokies have been in a rut for a few years now and people were openly asking questions about Beamer’s job last year. Do the questions get louder? Perhaps.
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State: At 2-4 (1-2 in Big 12), I think it’s going to be a tall order for Rhoads to get the Cyclones to bowl eligibility. Still, there’s a path, even if the Cyclones lose to Baylor this weekend. It’s a hard path, but a path nonetheless. Oddly, even with two straight losing seasons I think Rhoads is safer than most. I watched their game with TCU last weekend and you can see improvement in both on-field talent and execution.
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: Despite two Big Ten losses Fitzgerald is in no danger of losing his job with the Wildcats on the verge of clinching a bowl game.
Paul Haynes, Kent State: With three wins this season the Golden Flashes are already off to their best start under Haynes. I think getting to .500 will be tough. But if Haynes can get to five wins I think the heat on his seat comes way down. And five is possible with Buffalo and Akron remaining.
Norm Chow, Hawaii: After a promising start the Rainbow Warriors are 2-5 overall and winless in the Mountain West. I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on Chow the next month or so.
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: I thought Vandy had a chance to end its winless SEC streak under Mason when it caught South Carolina after Steve Spurrier’s abrupt resignation. No dice. The Commodores remain winless in the SEC and with just two wins overall they’re headed for another under-.500 season. Still, there’s improvement in this team and right now that might be enough to preserve Mason’s job for one more year.
Trent Miles, Georgia State: The Panthers are 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the Sun Belt. I’m leaning toward Miles returning for one more year. But if they fall into a tailspin to end the season it’s worth monitoring.
Scott Shafer, Syracuse: The Orange is 3-3 with half the season remaining. After all the controversy of a year ago I felt Syracuse had to reach a bowl game for Shafer to return. We’ll see in a month where the Orange is at on that front. But games against Clemson and Florida State won’t help.
Additions To Hot Seat Coaches — Week 4
George O’Leary, UCF: 0-7 and counting. Will the Knights put O’Leary out of his misery or will he resign and slide over to the athletic director’s job full-time? I get the feeling something will happen. O’Leary spoke the other day about the fact that there is no contractually-obligated succession plan for his top assistant, Brent Key, to take over for O’Leary.
Al Golden, Miami (FL): The Hurricanes are 4-2 overall, 1-1 in the ACC and most of its divisional games are ahead of them. They’re still in the hunt; just don’t expect them to beat Clemson this weekend. I’m leaning toward Golden getting one more year right now. Remember the “Fire Al Golden” banners flown over a Miami game in September? Well, now they’re “Keep Al Golden” banners to go along with the “Fire Al Golden” banners. Who has the flying banner concession at Sun Life Stadium? They’re making a killing right now.
Charlie Strong, Texas: The Longhorns beat Oklahoma. Strong comes back another year. It’s that simple.
Kyle Flood, Rutgers: Flood is back off suspension and the Scarlet Knights are .500 with six games remaining. His future has less to do with the record than it does with the controversy. He has apologized and believes his future is not in jeopardy. We’ll see.
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina: Was on our hot list after Week 4 and resigned. Not our fault, we swear.
New to Hot Seat Coaches — Week 8
Darrell Hazell, Purdue: It is Year 3 for Hazell and the Boilermakers have just one win this season — against FCS Indiana State. I could see the Boilermakers losing all five of their remaining games, and in the competitive Big Ten that might be enough to prompt a change. Plus, Hazell is 5-25 in his first 30 games, the worst 30-game stretch in Purdue history.
Larry Coker, UTSA: Gridironnow.com published an article on Monday saying that Coker’s job was in trouble. The article quoted “insiders” and also floated Texas State coach Dennis Franchione in the same boat. UTSA athletic director Lynn Hickey told reporters on Tuesday that the Roadrunners are committed to Coker through 2018. UTSA is sitting at 1-6 right now, but 1-2 in Conference USA. This is still a young program and I think firing Coker would be premature.