The 2015 coaching carousel is ongoing. These coaches are still employed, but could be facing some heat should things not go right in 2016.
Charlie Strong [Texas] Oh, Charlie. Strong is 11-14 after two years at Texas. This year’s 5-7 mark included great upsets and tough losses, but also some abysmal blowouts. The Longhorns lost 24-0 to an Iowa State team that got Paul Rhoads fired. Tom Herman is waiting in the wings at UH. If the offensive reboot does not boost Texas to a solid season next year, it may be Strong’s last.
Gus Malzahn [Auburn] Untouchable to hot seat in a calendar year? Welcome to Auburn. Malzahn is 2-10 in his last 12 SEC games. His offense imploded in 2015. Reports suggested Will Muschamp was walking, with or without a head coaching job. Yes, Gus went to the title game in 2013. His three fired predecessors had undefeated seasons on their résumé.
Les Miles [LSU] Miles came a halftime change of heart away from getting fired this season, with Jimbo Fisher negotiating. If Miles can’t develop a QB, finishes with three/four SEC losses, and fails to beat Bama for the sixth-straight time, the same dynamics will be in play. Frustrated fans may not rescue him.
Mark Stoops [Kentucky] Stoops has recruited and raised expectations. He has not met them. The Wildcats are 8-24 against FBS teams, 4-20 in the SEC. This year, Kentucky closed 0-6 against FBS to miss a bowl game after a 4-1 start. In the final game, they blew a 17-point halftime lead to Louisville. The best argument for keeping him now is the money it would cost to buy him out.
Dana Holgorsen [West Virginia] The Big 12 move has not fared well for West Virginia. Holgorsen has produced some exciting players and big wins. But, he is 31-28 vs. FBS since 2012. His predecessor, Bill Stewart, was shoved out for going 28-12. Per a report, it’s not 100 percent he’ll be back in 2016. Good thing next year is the easier schedule, with five home games including Baylor, Oklahoma, and TCU.
Mike Riley [Nebraska] Nebraska firing a coach after two years was tough to envision. But, 5-7, even with some poor luck in one-score games, was a disappointment, especially after firing reliable 9-10 win Bo Pelini. The Cornhuskers should have better fortune in year two, though the schedule does them no favors. With the Big Ten switching to nine games, they play five road games. Those include trips to Northwestern, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Iowa. Oregon is a non-conference opponent as well. Things could get…interesting.
Derek Mason [Vanderbilt] Vanderbilt had a Top 20 defense, with Mason calling plays. Their offense scored 21 points against an FBS team twice. Mason is 4-17 against FBS teams, 2-14 in the SEC. He’s already cleaned out the coordinators once. Hard to see him sticking around if the Commodores aren’t in the mix for a bowl game.
Dave Clawson [Wake Forest] Clawson had four previous head coaching stints. Each started slow for a season or three, before the team took off. Wake fans will hope that’s what’s happening here. Clawson is 4-18 vs. FBS teams, 2-14 in the ACC. His Demon Deacons have not won an FBS game by more than a field goal. The two ACC wins: 6-3 over VT in overtime and 3-0 over Boston College.
Darrell Hazell [Purdue] Hazell is back for year four. He is 3-30 vs. FBS, 2-22 in the Big Ten. One could argue they’ve been a competitive 3-30, maybe. He’ll get one more shot, thanks to Purdue being cheap.