Updated College Coaching Hot Seat Rankings
The first full day of fall sees us only three weeks into the college football season yet the coaching hot seat picture is becoming clearer.
While there is plenty of football left to be played some coaches like Rich Rodriguez and Randy Sherman have already firmly taken themselves off the hot seat.
Others are becoming more entrenched after every game.
The following is a list of ten coaches for whom time might be quickly running out and five names that will certainly be mentioned as replacements.
The Hot Seat Rankings
1. Al Groh, Virginia
Groh's seat was hot coming into the season after a number of sub par years in Charlottesville and a 5-7 record in 2008. It's clear that Groh is a master recruiter; however that has been part of his problem given that he hasn't won with the talent he has brought into the program.
If his seat was hot at the beginning of the season, an opening game loss to FCS foe William and Mary followed by a loss to C-USA, Southern Miss has sealed his fate
2. Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville
In less than three years Louisville has gone from winning BCS bowl games to not even being able to make a bowl game. Kragthorpe finds himself with a 9-14 record against FBS opponents and has lost his last six games against FBS foes including embarrassing losses to Syracuse and Rutgers.
Kragthorpe started the season with a lackluster performance against an Indiana State team that has won only one game since George W. Bush's first term in office and his third straight loss to hated rival Kentucky.
3. Dan Hawkins, Colorado
Coming from Boise State where he built the Broncos to national respectability, Hawkins was thought to be a natural fit to rebuild the Buffaloes. However, in his three years at Boulder, Hawkins has been to one bowl game, has never had a winning record, and has posted a dismal 14-26 mark.
Losses to in-state rival Colorado State and Toledo might be the final straw for a coach who has not been up for the huge tasks he was given in rebuilding Colorado after the ill fated Rick Neuheisal regime.
4. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland
Five years ago "The Fridge" was one of the hottest coaching names in college football, now he finds himself firmly on the hot seat. Friedgen had a decent season in 2008 finishing 8-5; however the state of the program has been slowly declining since the early 2000's when the Terrapins were at the top of the ACC.
This season a blow out loss to Cal and a one point setback to Sun Belt opponent Middle Tennessee State has turned the tide against Friedgen in College Park.
5. Paul Wulff, Washington State
Taking over a program that has had some success in the past Wulff knew he would have a rebuilding effort on his hands yet he might become a victim of events out of his control. After going 2-11 last season, Wulff has started this season with two bad losses to Hawaii and Stanford and a less than inspiring victory over SMU.
Wulff's biggest problem might be the turnaround happening to rival Washington.
Fans in Pullman are beginning to wonder if they have hired the wrong man for the job.
6. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Dantonio was safe heading into the season after a 9-4 campaign in 2008. Two years of respectable results in the Big Ten might have been good enough to provide Dantonio some job security; however his results in 2009 have make his position heated.
Regardless of how competitive Central Michigan might be in the MAC, a solid Big Ten program should never lose a game even to a good MAC squad. Add his team's late collapse against Notre Dame in a game they should have won, and Dantonio has some work to do in order to save his job.
7. Charlie Weis, Notre Dame
Best wishes to Charlie Weis in the 5th year of his college coaching internship
The billboard that stirred nationwide media attention was not the first time fans, influential alumni, and boosters of the Irish have questioned if the "Big Man" is up for the job in South Bend.
Notre Dame is one of the highest profile college coaching job in the nation and Weis certainly has not delivered what many Irish fans thought was possible during his four seasons in South Bend.
Last season's 7-6 mark coupled with his 3-9 2007 campaign has left him in a do-or-die situation this season. While the schedule is more than favorable, a loss to rival Michigan has put Weis in a position where anything less than 9-3 might have him looking for work.
8. Bill Lynch, Indiana
It might not be fair to have Bill Lynch on this list given that his tenure in Bloomington might have been the most difficult of any coach on this list.
After a 3-9 campaign that only saw one Big Ten victory, this season Indiana does sit at 3-0 but the Hoosiers were outplayed and could have easily lost against FCS Eastern Kentucky and MAC opponent Western Michigan. If Lynch can't manage three wins in Big Ten play and qualify for a bowl game it is very likely he will be gone at the end of the season.
9. Bill Stewart, West Virginia
Bill Stewart couldn't have started his tenure in Morgantown in any better way, leading West Virginia to a blow out victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. However, going from caretaker to permanent head coach has been a difficult transition. West Virginia finished 9-4 last season with embarrassing losses to East Carolina and Colorado.
Few coaches are as unpopular with their respective fan base as Stewart is in West Virginia and a poor performance in a win against FCS opponent Liberty and second half collapse against Auburn last week has put Stewart on the hot seat.
10. Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Legendary coach Bill Snyder has to wake up every morning thinking to himself, "What did I get myself into." The former K-State head man came back to take over his former program only to find a team that during the Ron Prince era was stuffed to the gills with Junior College players and having to rebuild from the ground up.
After a close win against FCS opponent UMass the Wildcats lost to Louisiana-Lafayette. Knowing that Kansas State will never fire Snyder, one has to wonder how long it will be before he realizes that leaving retirement was not worth the mess he was left to clean up.
Five Hot Names to Watch
1. Kevin Sumlin, Houston Head Coach
There is no hotter name in the nation right now than Sumlin, who has the Cougar faithful reliving the glory days of Ware and Klingler with his innovative high octane offense.
Houston's week two win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater caught the nation's attention and his stay with the Cougars will appear to be short as bigger schools come calling.
2. Brian Kelly, Cincinnati Head Coach
Already being dubbed "Bobby Petrino 2.0", Kelly has taken Cincinnati from a decent Big East caliber program to a monster.
Just to prove his 2008 Orange Bowl season wasn't a fluke; Kelly has started 2009 with road wins over Rutgers and Oregon State team. The only question for Kelly is if it would be worth leaving an easier BCS path in the Big East to take another job?
3. Tommy Tuberville, Former Auburn Head Coach
Despite being fired last year, Auburn's early season success has him back on the map.
Tuberville is a defensive genius with a proven track record who with the right offensive coordinator could build a monster of a program like Maryland or Louisville.
4. Gus Malzahn, Auburn Offensive Coordinator
When looking at assistant coaches throughout the nation the hot name at the moment is Gus Malzahn. He has not only implemented a spread offense but has made it work.
Through three games Auburn is averaging 47 points and over 500 yards of offense a game. If the Tigers can even come close to putting up these numbers against SEC defenses, Malzahn will have a head coaching job by this time next year.
5. Mike London, University of Richmond Head Coach
In just over one season as a Head Coach, London has led the Spiders to a 16-3 record and an FCS National Championship. In the season opener London took Richmond into Durham and knocked off Duke 24-16. He also held Virginia to only 16 points in a loss last season.
One has to wonder if Virginia Athletic Director, Craig Littlepage is looking to take a trip to Richmond to check out what London is doing with the Spiders.
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