College Football Coaches on the Hot Seat Heading into 2013 Season
It's time to check the temperature of these seats and find out which college football head coaches are burning their backsides. The season is underway, and some coaches will feel a little extra pressure once the season openers start.
Teams have set their expectations higher than before and want to compete as soon as possible. If the current coach can't get the job done, there's always somebody else out there who will. Enough of the excuses; give the fanbase victories and everybody will be happy. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
From a pair of coaches who have been with their school for more than a decade to a popular Pac-12 coach, there are a handful of coaches who must find success this year.
Gary Pinkel, Missouri
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Gary Pinkel has been with Missouri since 2001, but he has added pressure to win games this season. With the Tigers' move to the SEC, being a middle-of-the-road team is no longer going to get the job done. So, he is on the hot seat after leading them to a 5-7 record in 2012.
Missouri failed to qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2004 and lost three of its final four games.
To be fair, the Tigers dealt with many injuries, including a shoulder injury to quarterback James Franklin. Wide receiver L’Damian Washington also made a good point, per Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star:
"'A lot of people are looking at our record and not realizing we competed in a lot of games last year,' Washington said."
Missouri lost three of its seven games by one possession, including a 14-7 loss to Florida. However, moral victories don't fly in the SEC. Results and national championships are the only things that matter. Pinkel must qualify for a bowl game this year if he'd like to make sure his job is safe.
Steve Sarkisian, Washington
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Is Steve Sarkisian really on the hot seat?
The general consensus seems to think so, as Steve Kelley of The Seattle Times wrote in November:
Washington football is progressing, but it isn't progressing nearly as fast as its fans rightfully expect. For the third straight season, the Huskies, 7-5, are bowl eligible, but for the third straight season, the bowl is a second tier, made-for-TV game, probably the Las Vegas Bowl, which feels like the NIT to a fan base that is antsy to dance on New Year's Day, or beyond.
Sarkisian has done a great job with Washington in four seasons. He's led the program to three straight bowl games and has won 51 percent of his games. It could be better, but it could also be worse, as the fanbase witnessed a few years ago when Tyrone Willingham was still head coach.
Washington's recruiting has also improved.
Still, the program will introduce a renovated Husky Stadium and is hoping that it will soon compete with the Pac-12 elite. Consistently winning seven games is a solid start, but it is time to take that next step. Sarkisian is beginning to feel the pressure.
Tim Beckman, Illinois
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Ron Zook is looking pretty good right now. The former Illinois coach was fired after the Fighting Illini lost their final six regular season games in 2011.
Well, Tim Beckman, Zook's replacement, led the program to a 2-10 record in his first year.
Sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side.
Usually, a coach will be given a year or two to build the program and recruit his own players, but Zook was a great recruiter, and two wins is simply inexcusable. Even a broken clock is right two times a day, and the lousy high school down the road from you manages to win more than your team each year.
The team couldn't beat Louisiana Tech? Indiana? Minnesota? Anybody?
Beckman is sitting on one of the hottest seats in the country.
Randy Edsall, Maryland
Geoff Burke/Getty Images
Randy Edsall is entering his third season with Maryland, which means that the ship better start sailing a little faster. If enough improvement isn't made in three seasons, it is usually time for a coach to begin printing copies of his résumé.
Edsall was once one of the hottest coaches in the country after he led Connecticut to the 2010 BCS Fiesta Bowl. Now, only his seat is hot, and he's losing to more basketball schools than an actual basketball school. Last season, the Terrapins lost to Connecticut, West Virginia, North Carolina State and North Carolina.
The 4-8 record was an improvement over 2011 when the team finished 2-10, but it's not the fast progress that Maryland was hoping for when he was hired.
The Terrapins will leave the ACC for the Big Ten in 2014 and would like to enter the conference with a little confidence. If there is no improvement this season, there will certainly be a head coaching change.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
David Banks/Getty Images
Kirk Ferentz isn't pulling his own weight.
Iowa has decreased its win total since 2009 and reached an all-time low last season with a 4-8 record. Last season, the Hawkeyes lost to Iowa State, Central Michigan and then ended the year with six straight losses.
He's been with the program since 1999, so maybe he's just burned out and ready for a new challenge. Crazy enough, he's one of the most well-paid coaches in the country, as he makes well more than three and a half million dollars a season. A combined 19-19 record in the last three seasons isn't matching up with the dollar signs.
Adam Jacobi of Black Heart Gold Pants called the contract the worst in all of college football.
Ferentz must get Iowa back on track, which shouldn't be that difficult in a watered-down Big Ten.
Charlie Weis, Kansas
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Yes, even a basketball program has standards. Charlie Weis can't show up on the scene and start things off with a 1-11 record.
Sure, he deserves a pass due to coaching a team that is loaded with a bunch of players nobody else wanted, but one win? Come on, Weis! The offense ranked 118th, while the defense wasn't too far behind, finishing the year ranked 112th in the country. Even head coach Turner Gill had better success (5-19) before he was shown the door after two seasons.
The Jayhawks will have more talent this season with BYU transfer Jake Heaps at quarterback and six defensive starters returning. However, that just puts even more pressure on Weis to succeed.
It's hard to believe Kansas will ever be a football school, but the staff could find guys off the street who can give the fans more than one win.
Lane Kiffin, USC
Harry How/Getty Images
"He is not," said Haden. "I'm behind Lane Kiffin one hundred percent. I have great confidence in him. He's a very hard-working, detail-oriented coach. He's a dynamic play-caller in my estimation and he's an exceptional recruiter.
"He knows USC and he knows what it takes to be successful here."
Uh, sorry, that's hard to believe.
Kiffin was buried to his neck in talent last season and the Trojans finished with a 7-6 record. The team began the year ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, but was nowhere close to being ranked when the season came to an end. There were also constant off-field incidents that didn't help matters.
USC is one of the few schools that can realistically expect a conference or national championship nearly every season. Mediocrity isn't going to be handled well if it becomes routine.
As far as Kiffin's recruiting skills, USC is a school that sells itself. It's so easy a caveman can do it!
Seriously, Kiffin better start winning games.