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Al Golden and Other FBS Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2015

Writing about jobs that are on the line has never been one of my favorite things to do – unless it’s about Charlie Weis – but for some reason you people enjoy reading these kinds of things. (You’re animals, I tell ya! ANIMALS!)

There were plenty of coaching changes from December through mid-January – and then there’s Central Michigan – but only eight FBS head coaches were relieved of their full-time responsibilities, which is three less than post-2013.

I correctly picked Weis (though that was a given) and Will Muschamp to get handed the pink slip via my “Highest Risk,” section of the rankings, with Bo Pelini and Brady Hoke also making appearances on my previous list*.

Now that we’re in full offseason mode, I’ve updated the hot seat list; the new version is top heavy and I wish I could just post a bunch of chair-on-fire GIFs instead.

Coaches at “Highest Risk” are one big loss away from getting run out of the stadium mob style. The next hot seat level is called “Heating Up,” which means that the coach needs to start winning yesterday. Those who find themselves “Safe for Now” have to get things moving in the right direction – and fast.

*2013 hot seat rankings were posted on FanIQ.com, which no longer exists.


1. Al Golden, Miami-Fla. (28-22 record with school)

Golden should have taken the Penn State job when he had the chance. Every Miami fan known to mankind has a unique hubris for his/her football program simply for its run in the late ‘80s and early 2000s, along with its new collection of “The U: 30 for 30” films, despite the difficulties over the last decade. Well, it seems as if the tides are changing, because according to the die-hards (s/o to my green and orange friend Nick Kaminsky), Golden is no longer welcomed in South Beach. He did a fine job leading the Hurricanes through a cloud of NCAA sanctions, but 2014 was supposed to be the turning point – and instead, they went 6-7. He’ll have to win the ACC Coastal Division in 2015 to guarantee another season, and I’m not so sure Miami will be capable of doing that.

2. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State (29-46)

Rhoads has been on the hot seat since 2011, and even though his teams have progressively gotten worse, he remains on payroll. Iowa State is 5-19 over the last two seasons, and if a repeat is on the horizon, I would imagine he may be the next mid-season fire.

3. Mike London, Virginia (23-38)

I’m a bit surprised to see that London was retained. It was perceived to be a bowl-or-bust campaign for London, who had posted a 6-18 record in 2012-13 with a lot of three- and four-star talent on the roster. Though Virginia started 4-2 and looked really good against UCLA and Louisville, the Cavs sputtered to a 5-7 record and a last-place finish in a not-so-great Coastal division. I can’t imagine a scenario where London is back in 2016 without a bowl appearance.

4. Norm Chow, Hawaii (8-29)

Chow is on here for two reasons: 1. Hawaii stinks, and 2. There were reports that the athletic department is considering dropping the football program due to a $2.1 million budget deficit. Both reasons are enough to keep Chow on the hot seat.

5. Willie Taggart, South Florida (6-18)

USF improved from 2013-14, but really, there was no where else to go but up – and the progression still wasn’t all that impressive. The Bulls want to be the premier Florida team in the AAC, and if they don’t take a giant step toward that goal in 2015 (i.e. a bowl game), Taggart’s tenure in Tampa will be in major jeopardy. Here’s a column from Zach Rastall of AACFootballFever.com that does a nice job depicting his current situation.


6. Darrell Hazell, Purdue (4-20)

7. Ron Turner, FIU (5-19)

8. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt (3-9)

“Oh, here we go again,” – Vanderbilt fans, probably. From 1995-2010, Vandy had 11 seasons with three wins or less. James Franklin took over and led it to its best three-year stretch in school history before leaving for Penn State. Enter Mason, who beat UMass on a game-winning field goal, Charleston Southern 21-20, and Old Dominion at home. He earned a “fire Derek Mason” domain by the first week of September.

9. Trent Miles, Georgia State (1-23)

10. Kevin Wilson, Indiana (14-34)

11. Doug Martin, New Mexico State (4-20)

There’s nothing personal against Martin; he coaches New Mexico State, which hasn’t been to a bowl game since 1960. A year 3 was deserved, but there’s no avoiding the inevitable.

12. Todd Monken, Southern Miss (4-20)

13. Tim Beckman, Illinois (12-25)

Oh, you sneaky, sneaky man. Beckman was packing his own bags a week before the regular season had ended before somehow coming up with two miracle wins against Penn State and Northwestern – not to mention a shocker over Minnesota a few games prior – to launch Illinois into a bowl game. Even though the Fighting Illini were smacked by Louisiana Tech, it didn’t matter; it saved Beckman’s job for at least one more year.

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Miami OH at Illinois

Tim Beckman grabbed two late-season upsets to save his job in 2014.

14. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa (115-85)

If Iowa was ever going to let Ferentz go, it would have been a few weeks ago. It’s not happening, but he’s on the list because I feel bad for Hawkeye fans.

15. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech (12-13)

Being the most handsome man in the world can only take you so far in the coaching world. The Texas Tech that upset Arizona State in the 2013 Holiday Bowl went 4-8 in 2014 with a big ‘ol red circle around the 82 points it allowed to TCU. Year 3 could be make-or-break for the former Red Raiders quarterback (and future GQ model?).


16. Larry Fedora, North Carolina (21-17)

UNC was preseason No. 23 and finished 6-7 with an embarrassing output in the Quick Lane Bowl. That’s back-to-back six-win regular seasons for Fedora that featured two four-game losing streaks.

17. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia (28-23)

18. Paul Petrino, Idaho (2-21)

19. Mike Riley, Nebraska (0-0)

Bo Pelini never won less than nine games in seven years with Nebraska; Riley won nine games or more just four times in 12 years with Oregon State. It’s a match made in heaven.

20. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma (168-44)

Don’t look too deep into this right now, but if Oklahoma has yet another season where it struggles against ranked opponents, things in Norman could get interesting.

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