18 August 2015

Which college football head coaches are on the hot seat in 2015?

The coaching carousel never stops spinning in the world of college football, meaning that there are a number of coaches that enter a fresh new college football season with their jobs on the line. To whom could I possibly be referring to? Here's my analysis of the coaches on the hot seat for 2015.


Tim Beckman, Illinois
The Fighting Illini have improved each season under Beckman, returning to a bowl contest last season. But even then, they are only 4-20 in Big Ten play and got embarrassed by Louisiana Tech in that bowl game last year. All of that would lead to a pretty warm seat for Beckman but the reports of abuse from former players have only ramped up the pressure on him. He may in fact already be a dead man walking in Champaign.
UPDATE: Beckman has already been fired.

Al Golden, Miami
I think that Golden has done a better job than he has gotten credit for in Coral Gables but the Canes have shown an alarming trend of folding after big losses of late and they have not dominated South Florida recruiting like they used to. Attendance have also really declined over the years as well. Golden is likely going to have to do more than just go to a bowl game in order to keep his job.

Mike London, Virginia
The casual college football viewer may be surprised that London still has a job but alas, he still does. The Hoos did show some improvement last season but it still was a third straight bowl-free season. What also doesn't help matters is that the Cavaliers have lost now 11 straight to Virginia Tech. London has been able to recruit but it has not come together on the football field and without a bowl appearance, or even a win over Tech, he's gone.

Mike MacIntyre, Colorado
MacIntyre seemed like the guy to rebuild Colorado after turning San Jose State around quickly but the process has been slow with only six wins in two seasons. Even as Colorado has struggled to be a consistent winner this millennium, they should still be at the very worst a consistent bowl team. The Buffs have been more competitive under MacIntyre but he needs to show more wins to stick around.

Trent Miles, Georgia State
Miles' awful 1-23 record with Panthers may be a little more understandable given that the program has only won 11 teams since its debut in 2010. However, the Panthers have looked wholly noncompetitive over the course of their move to FBS and while Miles did fine work rebuilding the Indiana State program, he has had nothing to build off of thus far.

Norm Chow, Hawaii
It seems that Chow was only able to survive to 2015 because of his contract but he may not get that luxury beyond this season without improvement. Given the consistent resource and facility issues, not to mention the travel, it isn't an easy job but coaches have won there and thus far, Chow hasn't. He is only 8-29 as the head coach with only four league wins. Only a bowl game will save his job.

Paul Petrino, Idaho
Idaho is a very tough place to coach and their membership in the Sun Belt certainly does not help matters much. Figuring all of that in, the Vandals have continued to struggle under Petrino as they are only 2-21 during his two seasons in Moscow. While the offense has occasionally showed some life, the defenses have been miserable and that unit will have to greatly improved to increase that win total.

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Well we can talk and talk about the infamous, and immense, buyout that the university would have to pay should they fire Ferentz. But nobody can deny that the Hawkeyes have taken a step backwards since winning the 2010 Orange Bowl with only a 34-30 record in that timespan and a sub-.500 winning percentage in the conference. Not to mention that they have also lost to Iowa State three of the last four years. More mediocrity could lead to Iowa biting the bullet.

Paul Haynes, Kent State
Kent State has only one winning season since 2001 but that one winning season, the 11-3 season in 2012, happened to come right before Haynes took over the Golden Flashes. Since then, the program has fallen way back in the pack in the MAC as Haynes is only 6-17 through two seasons. For him to return for a fourth season, he is going to have to show some improvement and quickly.

Willie Taggart, South Florida
As had many others, I thought that USF made a terrific hire in luring Taggart from Western Kentucky but the Bulls have been a big disappointment during his tenure with only a 6-18 record to show for it. And considering that Taggart has recruited relatively well, that makes the lackluster performance even more inexcusable. Taggart likely although not certainly needs to make a bowl game to make it to year four.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Not many coaches get fired after only two seasons on the job but Mason's debut in Nashvile was a complete disaster. After James Franklin had shown that you can win at Vanderbilt, going to three straight bowl games and back-to-back nine win seasons, the Commodores took a big step backwards under Mason in going 3-9 and looking completely overmatched in SEC play. Another year like that could send Mason packing.

Kevin Wilson, Indiana
There is no question that the Hoosiers have shown some improvement during Wilson's tenure and they looked to be on their way to a bowl campaign last season before quarterback Nate Sudfeld got injured in a loss to Iowa. Indiana has been fun to watch offensively and Wilson has done a decent job recruiting. That said, he still has yet to lead the team to a bowl game but as long as the team doesn't take a big step backwards, I think he will return next season.

Paul Rhoads, Iowa State
Rhoads has worked very hard at a job that is one of the hardest Power Five jobs in the country. But the Cyclones are only 5-19 the last two seasons and suffered a truly embarrassing 20-point loss to Kansas last season. But I am not sold that Rhoads has to make it to a bowl game this season before losing his job, and I think that 2016 may be more of a hotter seat for him depending on how 2015 goes.

Les Miles, LSU
No, I don't think that Miles is going to get fired either. Yes, the fans are certainly demanding and have expected more from the high talent that Miles recruits than they have gotten and the team's 9-7 record in conference play the last two season is a tad disappointing. But LSU was playing for the national title as recently as a few years ago and the buyout is steep.

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
Even as the Hokies are just 22-17 since losing in the 2012 Sugar Bowl, I still would be surprised if even another mediocre season would result in Beamer getting axed. Simply put, his tremendous run of success has won him enough goodwill in my opinion among the faithful in Blacksburg. That said, it is not outside of the realm of possibility that a disastrous season could leave the administration in a position to push Beamer towards retirement, like Texas did with Mack Brown.

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