Monday, May 27, 2024

College Football Hot Seat Watch: 2018

The college football season is just around the corner and the anticipation in the air is almost tangible.  As the first kickoff of the season approaches, it is almost inevitable that numerous watchlists of coaches and players start to pop up.  With that in mind, here are the 15 head coaches on the hottest seats going into this season.  All coaches are listed in alphabetical order.  And remember, if the ranking I put doesn’t match what you think, it’s because I clearly hate your team or am a huge homer for the team you hate the most.

College Football hotseat 2018 edition

Just Missed the Cut

Chris Ash – Rutgers

Kliff Kingsbury – Texas Tech

Ed Orgeron – LSU

Matt Rhule – Baylor

Mark Stoops – Kentucky


Now on to the actual countdown.

College Football
College Football hot seat

Dino Babers – Syracuse

Seasons on the job: 2

Record: 8-16

Hot Seat Gauge: Better start winning soon

Reasoning: Babers was successful for two seasons at Bowling Green before making the jump to Syracuse.  It hasn’t been smooth sailing for him though.  Back to back 4-8 seasons have soured some fans on him.  Despite pulling off a huge upset over #2 Clemson last year, there have also been some embarrassing defeats such as a home loss to Middle Tennessee last season, two blowouts against Louisville (62-28 in 2016 and 56-10 in 2017) and a 42-14 beatdown at home against Boston College.  If Babers wants to be around for a while, he better start winning games in 2018.


David Beaty – Kansas

Seasons on the job: 3

Record: 3-33

Hot Seat Gauge: Win now or get out

Reasoning: The record says it all.  3-33 over the course of three seasons is a fireable enough offense, even at a place like Kansas.  But he’s somehow managed to stick around for a fourth season.  But with a new athletic director in town, Beaty’s days are numbered unless he orchestrates a drastic turnaround.  And it’s not as if there has been improvement.  He started 0-12, then went 2-10 in 2016 but then regressed to 1-11 in 2017.  It’s been really bad for a long time in Lawrence and Beaty hasn’t been able to fix it.  Win now or get the boot.


Bob Davie – New Mexico

Seasons on the job: 6

Record: 30-45

Hot Seat Gauge: Better start winning soon

Reasoning: Bob Davie has had an interesting career.  He got his first head coaching job at Notre Dame, where he bombed with a 35-25 record.  He then spent a number of years in the broadcast booth before getting back into coaching at New Mexico in 2012.  It started off bad but it looked like he had managed to turn a corner.  He went 7-6 in 2015 and 9-4 in 2016 and got the Lobos to back to back bowl games.  2017 however was a disaster and they went 3-9.  At 15 games under .500 in his tenure and rival New Mexico State starting to win games and the Mountain West getting tougher every year, Davie needs to have a good 2018 or his seat could get unbearably hot.


Mike Jinks – Bowling Green

Seasons on the job: 2

Record: 6-18

Hot Seat Gauge: Win now or get out

Reasoning: Jinks took over a program in very good shape after two years of Dino Babers being in charge, and he promptly ran it into the ground.  He went 4-8 in 2016 (including a pair of humiliating blowout losses: 77-10 against Ohio State and 77-3 against Memphis) and then regressed even farther to 2-10 in 2017.  Their 2018 schedule does them no favors with non-conference games against Oregon, Maryland and Georgia Tech.  If Jinks can’t manage to get to a bowl game this year, it should be time for him to go.


Brad Lambert – Charlotte

Seasons on the job: 5 (3 in FBS)

Record: 17-41 (7-29 in FBS)

Hot Seat Gauge: Win now or get out

Reasoning: Brad Lambert had a tough task being asked to guide the 49’ers in the transition from FCS to FBS after only two years on the job.  Their first year in CUSA they went 2-10 and then improved to 4-8 in 2016 before bottoming out at 1-11 last season.  Combine that poor statistic with the fact that Lambert went 5-6 in each of his two FCS seasons, and it’s a wonder he’s still around to coach this year.


Mike MacIntyre – Colorado

Seasons on the job: 5

Record: 25-38

Hot Seat Gauge: Win now or get out

Reasoning: Simply put, MacIntyre is not a good football coach.  He’s just not.  Even going back to his days at San Jose State (where he went 16-21 in three seasons).  The dude just loses.  Somehow in 2016 he stumbled into a 10 win season and a Pac-12 North Division title but outside of that he has not won more than 5 games in a season with the Buffs.  He’s also kind of a surly guy who has been known to hang up on radio interviews if he doesn’t like the questions he’s being asked.  A history of losing combined with a surly demeanor and you’ve got to imagine anything short of a bowl appearance this year and he’s gone.


Derek Mason – Vanderbilt

Seasons on the job: 4

Record: 18-31

Hot Seat Gauge: Win now or get out

Reasoning: Mason took over a Vandy program that was at previously unknown heights, having gone to three straight bowl games and posted consecutive nine win seasons under James Franklin.  It’s been all downhill from there.  Now, it was always a little unrealistic to expect Mason to live up to what Franklin accomplished, but he hasn’t just not lived up to it.  He’s been flat out bad.  He’s had a losing season every year in Nashville, including the one year the Commodores managed a bowl appearance (they finished the 2016 season 6-7 after losing in the Independence Bowl).  2017 saw a step backward from 2016 as they finished just 5-7.  Along the way he has managed to lose to a number of Group of 5 teams (Temple in 2014 and Western Kentucky in 2015) and despite attempting to shake up his staff has overseen one of the worst offenses in the Power 5 year in and year out.  If it doesn’t happen this year for Mason, it’s likely that it never will.


Philip Montgomery – Tulsa

Season on the job: 3

Record: 18-20

Hot Seat Gauge: Better start winning soon

Reasoning: Tulsa is typically one of the better and more consistent Group of 5 teams.  But under Montgomery they’ve been very Jekyll & Hyde.  They went 6-7 and lost the Independence Bowl in 2015, went 10-3 and won the Miami Beach Bowl in 2016 and then went an abysmal 2-10 last year.  Two losing seasons in three is not going to get it done, especially after Montgomery was considered one of the top young assistants in the nation when he was hired (he was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2013, given to the top assistant coach in college football every year).


Scottie Montgomery – East Carolina

Seasons on the job: 2

Record: 6-18

Hot Seat Gauge: Win now or get out

Reasoning: This is a classic case of being careful what you wish for.  ECU ran Ruffin McNeil out of town on a rail (despite the fact that he had won 42 games and gone to four bowl games with the Pirates) and felt that they could do better.  In stepped Scottie Montgomery and it’s quite clear that he is in way over his head.  In his two seasons in charge, the Pirates have posted back to back 3-9 seasons and their record isn’t as good as it would indicate, which is a scary thought.  They have been blown out frequently and they’ve even managed to lose to an FCS team along the way.  Montgomery needs to get the Pirates to a bowl game this year or he needs to get axed.


Jay Norvell – Nevada

Seasons on the job: 1

Record: 3-9

Hot Seat Gauge: The honeymoon is over

Reasoning: This was not a great hire when it was announced and that’s the way Year 1 played out for Jay Norvell, as he coached Nevada to the worst record since 2001 (when they went 3-8).  This comes after taking over for Brian Polian who was fired after going to two bowl games in his four seasons in charge.  The Mountain West isn’t getting any easier and if Norvell wants to stick around as a head coach, he better start winning some games or the temperature gets hotter.


Barry Odom – Missouri

Seasons on the job: 2

Record: 11-14

Hot Seat Gauge: Better start winning soon

Reasoning: I almost feel sorry for Odom.  He’s been asked to run a football program that’s part of a dead athletic department and a dying university.  The results from the sports teams having been awful, attendance at games has been non-existent and dorms are closing on campus because enrollment has fallen off a cliff.  All of this comes courtesy of those fake protests in 2015 during which the football team went on strike (though, I highly doubt if that Mizzou team was undefeated they would have gone on strike).  So there’s a lot of people happy to see Missouri failing and I count myself as one of them.  It’s a tough spot for Odom though and he seems to have done a halfway decent job of maintaining order, but 11-14 in two years and a 6-10 record in SEC play isn’t going to get it done for much longer.


Kalani Sitake – BYU
Seasons on the job: 2

Record: 13-13

Hot Seat Gauge: Better start winning soon

Reasoning: BYU is not quite the national brand that schools like Alabama or Notre Dame or USC but they’ve still got tremendous history including a national title and a Heisman Trophy winner.  And they’re always a solid football team that you can count on to play a good game and make it to a bowl.  That fell completely apart last season under Sitake.  After going 9-4 in his debut season in 2016, the Cougars went just 4-9 last season and were worse than their record would say, squeaking out a win against FCS Portland State and beating three other teams who did not make it to bowl games.  Their losses were also brutal (27 points to LSU, 34 points to Wisconsin, 25 points to Mississippi State).  Their schedule this year could make the chances of Sitake cooling off his seat unlikely, as they have to play teams like Arizona, Cal, Wisconsin, Washington and Boise State.


Lovie Smith – Illinois

Seasons on the job: 2

Record: 5-19

Hot Seat Gauge: Win now or get out

Reasoning: If you want to get a preview of what Arizona State will look like with Herm Edwards at the helm, look no further than what Illinois has done with Lovie Smith as the head coach.  5-19 in two seasons with only two of those five wins coming against Power 5 opponents.  Smith was great with the Chicago Bears, taking them all the way to the Super Bowl in 2006, but the college game is very different from the NFL and Smith has found that out the hard way.  He was a bad 3-9 in year one and was then even worse in year two, going 2-10.  Does that mean 1-11 is likely for year three?  Illini fans better hope not.  And other schools should take note: if you hire a coach who has only ever coached in the NFL, you’re taking a massive risk and almost every time it ends in failure.


Everett Withers – Texas State

Seasons on the job: 2

Record: 4-20

Hot Seat Gauge: Win now or get out

Reasoning: I don’t care that’s it’s only been two seasons, and I don’t care that Texas State is a small school.  4-20 is just plain terrible and another sub .500 season and Withers has to go.  Not only is his record 4-20 but he’s a miserable 1-15 in Sun Belt play.  There’s no sugarcoating it.  It’s bad at Texas State.  Only two of those four wins have come against FBS competition.  Withers needs to win a lot this year if he wants to keep his job.


Mark Whipple – UMass

Seasons on the job: 4

Record: 12-36

Hot Seat Gauge: Win now or get out

Reasoning: This is actually Whipple’s second stint at UMass (he was the head coach from 1998-2003 before they were and FBS team).  In his current stint it’s been bad: 3-9, 3-9, 2-10 and 4-8.  When 4-8 is the best season you’ve had, that’s not a good sign.  I mean, sure they improved from 2016 to 2017 (they doubled their win total!).  And yes UMass has only been an FBS member since 2012 but losing this much is still bad and shouldn’t be tolerated if it continues.  The schedule for the Minutemen might have gotten a little easier as they are now an Independent instead of in the MAC so perhaps there’s some hope but if things keep going like this, expect them to be searching for a new coach

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