Since the last time we checked the butts of several coaches’ seats in America, two of my top 10 hottest were canned. With Mack Brown clearing a huge hurdle last Saturday against Oklahoma, it feels like a good time to see how these mens’ buns are doing – well, that came out wrong, but you get the point.
Mid-majors and NCAA sanctions are not factored into this index, just cold hard wins and losses for AQ coaches.
10 Coldest Seats in America: From Antartica to the 7-11 Walk-In Cooler
1 – Nick Saban and Bill Snyder: This is a virtual dead heat (or cold?) as Saban is currently ruling a dynasty and Snyder’s name is on the stadium. The only way these schools will be searching for coaches is if Texas kidnaps Saban and Snyder decides to retire. One of those seems more likely than the other (hint: it includes an unmarked van, a blindfold and some twine).
2 – Les Miles: All snickering and side comments about his coaching methods – and grass eating habits – aside, he is 90-22 in Baton Rouge and an insane 49-18 in league games. With a 5-1 record this season and ranked in the top-10, it is safe to say Miles will be geauxing strong for…I can’t even finish, that was without a doubt my worst play on words.
3 – Steve Spurrier: Fun fact, the Gamecocks hold a 566-544-44 overall record in program history. The Ole Ball Coach is 70-38 in Columbia. That means USC was 496-506-44 before he got there. It’s safe to say he is there as long as he wants.
4 – Urban Meyer: Meyer still hasn’t lost at OSU. To quote AOL Instant Messenger (did I just date myself?) – “WTF?” Someone needs to stop these shenanigans ASAP.
5 – Brady Hoke: Despite last weekend’s heartbreaking loss, Hoke is 5-1 on the season and 24-8 in Ann Arbor. How many seasons did it take Rich Rod to get to 24 wins? We don’t know since he was fired after going 15-22 (6-18).
6 – Bob Stoops: Did you know that Oklahoma is his only head coaching job – doesn’t that seem strange since every school hires the big name mid-major coach? Guess things worked out pretty well. Here is another gross observation: He is 53 years old and in 14 full season (so not counting the 4-1, 1-0 start) he is 149-37. Let’s say he retires at 65 and matches his same W-L for 11 of those years before experiencing a three-year, old-man fall off (average of 6-6 those 3 years). A rough projection would leave him with a 276-79 career record, or a winning percentage of .777. Bonkers.
7 – Pat Fitzgerald: The near miss against Ohio State shows how far he has come as a coach in terms of game-planning, as well as how far his program has come at adding depth and starting talent.
8 – Dabo Swinney: As high profile of a program Clemson is, the Tigers are below .500 in bowls, only have one national title and only one league title since 1991. Who coached them to that league title? Dabo. He is also in great position to grab the school’s second ever title. As much history as Clemson has, Dabo has already entered rare air for the program.
9 – Charlie Strong: Strong is a new entry to this list. He has his Louisville team rolling right now and with a transition to a new league coming up, there is no way this program will upset the apple cart anytime soon.
10 – David Shaw: Stanford’s biggest football highlight features their band running onto the field in a Cal win. Shaw is re-writing the Cardinal football narrative with each and every win – despite the upset at Utah.
HM – Art Briles: Still tough for me to include a guy who entered the year 33-30, 17-25 at a program. Even with the addition of four wins (and a league win) to that mark, I still don’t have him cracking the top ten; however, this is Baylor! He has coached up a Heisman winner, and is averaging 70 points a game this year. Incredible.
Downgraded: Mike Gundy and Brian Kelly - These two are still sitting on very cold seats. With the West Virginia loss and barely scraping by Kansas State, a little shine has come off OSU’s 2013 season. Kelly still has a ton of safety with the BCS title trip last year, but Notre Dame has a fast trigger. A 4-2 record, including three very tight wins, has to have some Irish faithful grumbling somewhere…probably into green beer with Lucky Charms.
10 Hottest Seats in America: From annoying sauna to volcanic eruption
10 – Mark Richt - As I said last time, he doesn’t deserve it, but UGA fans are insane when it comes to Richt. Georgia was supposed to compete for the crystal ball this year, but fell to Missouri at home in a game that wasn’t even that close. Despite the unreal amount of injuries, you have to imagine somewhere Georgia fans are calling for his head.
9 – Dan Mullen - I think Mullen has a very long leash and has done a solid job at making Mississippi State relevant, but there are two rising concerns. The first is diminishing results. Since the breakthrough in 2010, he has yet to finish a season ranked again. The win total this year looks like it will dip for the second time in three years. His league mark is a soft 13-21. The other concern has to be what Hugh Freeze has done at Ole Miss. The recruiting battle has firmly been won by the Rebs and after last year’s Egg Bowl, the product on the field is also trending Mississippi’s way. Mullen’s not getting dropped at the end of this season and the wheels would really have to fall off for it to happen next season, but his seat is a pinch toastier now than it was last season.
8 – Kevin Wilson - Even with the Penn State win, Wilson is still just 8-21 (3-14) in Bloomington. They say give a coach three years to show you something. Well, this is Wilson’s third season.
7 – Larry Fedora - I know he is only in year two, but a lot of shine has come off that 8-4 debut season thanks to a dismal 1-4 start. He is now 9-8 (5-5) with the Tar Heels. He’ll most likely get to see a third year, but he could start next season at the No. 1-spot on this list.
6 – Jerry Kill – People do realize he is 4-14 in Big Ten play, right? If the Gophers do indeed go 0-8, like I predicted, that means he will be 4-20 in league games in three seasons in the Twin Cities. How can you justify keeping him when he can’t win Big Ten games?
5 – Kirk Ferentz - The fans hate his conservativeness, his offensive coordinator and the losing. He missed a golden opportunity to fire Greg Davis and help restore some good will during the bye week. It may cost him his job.
4 – Charlie Weis - The Jayhawks snapped their losing streak to FBS teams and promptly followed it up by starting a new streak. For such an offensive brain – forget mastermind, we’ve dumped that term when it comes to Cheeseburger Charlie – Weis’ Jayhawks are 110th in scoring at a brutal 18.5 ppg. As I examined a few weeks ago, Kansas is paying quite a sum per touchdown based on his massive salary.
3 – Jim Grobe - Avoiding a winless league season is nice, but if the Demon Deacons don’t win again, it will be his third one-win season at the school – yikes. I know 76 wins is a lot for Wake, but he is under .500, albeit by one game, and a staggering 17 games under .500 in ACC play. Personally, I think Grobe has worked wonders at a place with almost 200 more losses than wins, so of all the guys on this list, he’d be the one I would hold onto. The problem is, with the rise of Stanford, Northwestern and, to a lesser extent, Vanderbilt and Duke, the old academic argument falls flat. Worse is Grobe’s own success: Five bowl games and a ACC title are all in the rear view mirror.
2 – Mike London - I thought London was a great hire when Virgina picked him up. If he does lose his job, some program is going to get a really good assistant or defensive coordinator. The fact is, London has struggled for some reason at UVA. He is now six games under .500 and a woeful 8-17 in the ACC. Sitting at 2-3 (0-1) in his fourth year, these final seven games look like they will make or break the school’s choice this off-season.
1 – Mack Brown - He is a classy guy, but the fans are out for blood. It seems like winning a Big 12 title is about the only thing that can save him. It will be interesting to see how much slack the OU win gives him. The Horns have a decent TCU team next, but his final impression may not be a good one. UT’s final three are Okie State, Texas Tech and at Baylor – all ranked teams. Even with the rivalry win, Mack Brown’s seat is still the hottest in the nation because of fan expectations and a difficult slate remaining. It really feels like a matter of when, not if, for coach Brown now.
Off the list
Randy Edsall got his Terps off to a very hot start. Even with the FSU fiasco, he is still much safer now than he was the last time we checked these coaches. Lane Kiffin and Paul Pasqulioni have left the building.
This is a lame answer, but I still really love all the guys I had before so I am standing pat. As a refresher they were:
- Chris Peterson (Boise State)
- Bobby Petrino (WKU)
- Pat Narduzi (DC, MSU)
- Bronco Mendenhall (BYU)
- Mark Hudspeth (ULL)
- Ken Niumatalolo and Troy Calhoun (Navy and Air Force)
- Brent Venables (DC, Clemson), Chad Morris (OC, Clemson), Kirby Smart (DC, Alabama), Doug Nussmeire (OC, Alabama)
Since it is sort of lame to end (well not sort of, but is) with a simple copy and paste, I will offer who I would hire if I were the Iowa AD. Chad Morris and Kirby Smart are my top choices – in a heartbeat. I think both are obtainable too. Any AQ head coaching gig is a step up for a coordinator, even one at Alabama.
I’m giving the edge to Morris, though, because in Iowa’s case, you have a pretty solid defense already. Unless Morris wanted to blow the staff up, you could hypothetically keep that side of the team intact, helping the transition.
With that in mind, I would call Morris first and then Smart. I’d then take a stab at Narduzi. I’m not fully comfortable with attacking a fellow Big Ten team, but Narduzi has been fantastic with MSU’s defense and I’m paid to win games at Iowa, not be nice to Michigan State.
If I struck out on all three of those guys, then I guess I’m not a very good AD and perhaps I should be under more scrutiny. Ask any Iowa fan and you’ll see that is just the case. Gary Barta is in danger of going down with the USS Ferentz if things don’t turn around in the final six games of the season, and that is the beauty of this game.
All 10 guys on the hot seat list still have half a season to put together some nice wins, and rally the troops behind them. We’re pretty easy to please. Just win baby!