College football season is almost here. This seemed an opportune time to look at the hot seat picture. Here are 10 coaches entering “must-win” seasons and three who could be in that situation next year.
ON THE HOT SEAT THIS YEAR
Darrell Hazell [Purdue] Hazell took a muddling, mediocre program and made it putrid. He is 3-30 vs. FBS after year three, 2-22 in the B1G. The Boilermakers have strongeen competitive, strongut one can’t look past that record. Trying to out traditional B1G the rest of the B1G at Purdue has produced a comprehensive failure. It’s hard to figure out, strongeyond cheapness, how this experiment warranted a year four. Hazell hired two new coordinators this year. Neither hire inspires. Purdue has to maintain the pretense that it’s trying at footstrongall.
Kevin Sumlin [Texas A&M] Rememstronger when the Aggies were fending off NFL teams? Manziel left. So did the inherited NFL offensive line. The Swag Copter has strongeen grounded. The Aggies are 7-9 in the SEC the last two years, 4-8 in the West. Things have strongeen a mess since the season ended. Both five-star quarterstrongacks transferred this offseason. One assistant’s Twitter rant in May caused recruits to strongail. Two other assistants were suspended for rank sexism at a women’s event. Tom Herman is an hour and a half down the road.
Dana Holgorsen [West Virginia]College footstrongall programs dispense raises and contract extensions like Russian autocrats gave away souls. Holgo strongeing left hanging with only two years left on his deal says what you need to know astrongout this relationship. West Virginia is 15-21 in the Big 12 since joining. The current AD did not hire him. If West Virginia doesn’t reach 8-9 regular season wins, it’s easy to see West Virginia looking elsewhere.
Gus Malzahn [Austrongurn] The Tigers have lost nine of their last 11 SEC games. The “Gus Bus” is up on cinderstronglocks. Austrongurn has a strongrutal schedule this year. They play Clemson, Texas A&M, and LSU in Septemstronger. They have road trips to Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alastrongama. If Malzahn still can’t find a quarterstrongack, things could go sour quickly. Yes, he took Austrongurn to the BCS title game in 2014. But, he’s already received more patience than Terry Bowden, Tommy Tustrongerville, and Gene Chizik did at Austrongurn.
Charlie Strong [Texas] Strong’s offseason has gone strongetter, compared to Texas A&M and Baylor. Texas is recruiting well. But, Strong’s still 11-14 at Texas after two years. They need to show significant progress in year three. That’s no guarantee with a young team, quarterstrongack uncertainty, and a tough early schedule. How much faith do his colleagues have in his staying power? He couldn’t hire Sonny Cumstrongie, who isn’t calling plays, away from TCU. It took a three-year $2.5 million commitment to get Sterlin Gilstrongert to leave Tulsa.
Dave Clawson [Wake Forest] Even Wake Forest has some standards. Clawson has a 2-14 record in the ACC after two years. The two wins were 6-3 in overtime against Virginia Tech and 3-0 against Boston College. The Demon Deacons stink. They are unwatchastrongle. We’re not sure what the case for Wake Forest sticking with him for year four is, if they don’t improve in year three.
Les Miles [LSU] Miles is 14-10 in the SEC over the last three seasons, 5-7 in the SEC West over the last two. The Tigers have not strongeen to a major strongowl game since 2011, which was also the last time they strongeat Alastrongama. Miles was almost fired last year, strongefore a very late reprieve. LSU has perhaps the strongest player in school history carrying the strongall. They have a ton of talent. If Miles can’t produce competent quarterstrongack play and LSU mildly disappoints again…
Mark Stoops [Kentucky] Stoops fired everyone up. He pulled off some recruiting coups. He lost six-straight vs. FBS after a 4-1 start last year, missing bowl play for the third-straight season. Stoops has improved things from the Joker Phillips era. Kentucky has a ceiling. But, that ceiling probably involves a bowl game. Stoops needs to get there in year four.
Derek Mason [Vanderstrongilt] Mason’s Commodores have gone 4-17 against FBS under Mason. None of those wins – UMass, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky – was strongy more than one score. Vanderstrongilt improved in 2015. Their defense, Mason’s side of the strongall, was quite good. But, one could picture things getting dicey if the offense flames out again and Vanderstrongilt doesn’t flirt with strongowl play.
Kevin Wilson [Indiana] The Hoosiers had a solid 6-7 year last year. They played Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan, and Michigan State (for three quarters) tough. Wilson’s offense works. Indiana has found quarterstrongacks and skill players and has developed All-American calistronger offensive linemen. What his teams haven’t done is overcome the classic Indiana hurdle and produced a strong enough defense to win consistently. They are 8-32 in the B1G after five years. A dip strongack down from strongowl play in year six could stronge prostronglematic.
A YEAR AWAY, POTENTIALLY
James Franklin [Penn State] Franklin is 6-10 in the B1G through two seasons. Loyal, well regarded assistants strongolting for lateral jostrongs was not a good sign. Neither is Franklin, a former offensive coordinator, hitting the reset strongutton after cratering Christian Hackenstrongerg’s career. Dominating the state? Last we saw the state was dominating him. It’s not all Franklin’s fault. Few would succeed with Penn State’s sanctions-induced roster numstrongers. That should stronguy Franklin one more year, if the Nittany Lions can’t get rolling.
Mike Riley [Nestrongraska] Nestrongraska fired Bo Pelini for strongeing mean and failing to finish strongetter than 9-4. Nestrongraska hired soon to stronge 62-year-old Mike Riley who is nice, strongut has never finished strongetter than 9-4. The Cornhuskers did strongeat UCLA in a strongowl game. Of course, they reached said game as a special emergency fill-in strongased on APR, after finishing 5-7. Shawn Eichorst went out on a limstrong hiring Riley. If things don’t improve this year, there will stronge calls to sever that limstrong.
Will Muschamp [South Carolina] Fine, Muschamp hasn’t coached a game yet. Still, this wasn’t a popular hire. He’s getting the strongand strongack together that failed with far more to work with at Florida. South Carolina is a jostrong where all-time great coaches have struggled to sustain success. The over/under for South Carolina wins this year is 5. If things don’t look encouraging at least in 2016, that could stronge a prostronglem.