College Football Rankings: 10 Hot Seat Coaches Who Need a Win In Week 4

RM HeroldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2010

College Football Rankings: 10 Hot Seat Coaches Who Need a Win In Week 4

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    In most coaching jobs in Division I football you get hired and you hope to win enough games that you can leave when you want to leave. But that is not usually the case.

    For every Joe Paterno, there is a coach who gets fired before he feels he had a chance to put a stamp on the program.

    Heck, even if you make it somewhere for years, like Bobby Bowden, you might get pushed out earlier than you want to leave.

    Because of this annually we look out for the hot seat list. These are coaches who feel the noose tightening around their necks, but, with some key wins, get to survive and fight another year.

    Here are some of those unfortunate candidates.

10. Turner Gill

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    Usually, it takes more than one year to get on the hot seat, especially since Gil was such a high-profile hire, but the Jayhawks have already had some really ugly defeats.

    How he got here: Gill started off on the wrong foot by losing to an FCS school in his very first game. After temporarily righting the ship by beating a ranked Georgia Tech program, Kansas fell by two touchdowns to a Southern Mississippi school that was middle of the pack for Conference USA. Gill came into Kansas with a career record of 20-30 from Buffalo.

    How does he get off the hot seat: Again, because it is his first season, if the Jayhawks can show consistent improvement and rattle off a couple of wins against New Mexico State and Baylor, Gill will more than likely make it through the year.

    Key games: The next two games are close to must wins and keeping it close against in state rival Kansas State later in the year will also help his cause.

9. Mark Richt

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    Some might say that Richt is not on hot seat because UGA is 18-8 his past two seasons with two bowl victories. But this is the SEC and Georgia was ranked in the both polls this preseason.

    How he got here: Starting off 0-2 in the SEC will cause people to wonder about their job security. Losing any more conference games and his seat will heat up.

    How does he get off the hot seat: Getting their best player, AJ Green back from suspension will help immensely. Winning the next five games convincingly before facing Florida will right the ship.

    Key games: Beating Florida, then ending the season with nine wins, considering all of the setbacks during the season, would make life much easier in Athens.

8. Rick Neuheisel

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    Some might disagree with this one, because of the big win last week against Houston, but the Cougars are not in the Pac-10.

    How he got here: Coach Neuheisel declared that the college football monopoly in Los Angeles was officially over as soon as he arrived. Since then he is 3-7 in conference and 12-16 overall, including a 35-0 beating by Stanford two weeks ago.

    How does he get off the hot seat: More wins like the one over 23rd-ranked Houston will help. Getting to a bowl game and upsetting two of the five ranked opponents left on the schedule also keeps his seat cool.

    Key games: USC. That is the game that the Bruins need now more than ever. UCLA has beaten the Trojans once since 1999. Beating your crosstown rival carries a lot of weight in LA.

7. Ralph Friedgen

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    Coach Friedgen has had many successful seasons at the University of Maryland. But as the saying goes, what have you done for me lately?

    How he got here: He got on the hot seat by leading Maryland to a 2-10 2009 season, (1-7 in conference). And one of those wins was against an FCS school (granted a pretty good one in James Madison).

    How does he get off the hot seat: It's going to take some wins, and probably a bowl eligible season.

    Key games: Going .500 in conference would help. Upsetting the Hurricanes would cool everything.

6. Ron Zook

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    Starting off 2-1 has already helped Coach Zook's cause. But he was 1-1 last year when conference play started and then the bottom fell out.

    How he got here: Ilinois is 10-17 since losing to USC in the 2008 Rose Bowl. Last year he lost his first five Big Ten games before beating Michigan. The Illini then ended the season losing three straight.

    How does he get off the hot seat: It is important that they win more than two conference games this year. A long losing streak could mean end of days for Zook.

    Key games: After facing three ranked teams in a row, Illinois plays Indiana and Purdue. Lose those three games against top 25 teams and those next two become must wins.

5. Bill Lynch

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    Coach Lynch has done all he can so far this season, beating two teams that the Hoosiers should have beaten. But it might take winning some games that they are underdogs in, to keep his job.

    How he got here: Back to back 1-7 Big Ten records would put anyone on the hot seat. Winning out of conference games against inferior opponents isn't Indiana's problem. In the Big Ten is where Lynch will be judged.

    How does he get off the hot seat: Unfortunately five of eight conference foes on their schedule are ranked right now, and none of the games are going to be easy wins.

    Key games: Upsets. Any upset will do, and a couple of them could turn everything around. Losing to Akron or Arkansas State would possibly signal a farewell.

4. Paul Wulff

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    Coach Wulff left Eastern Washington fresh off of leading the Eagles to 9-4 record and a trip the FCS quarterfinals playoffs.

    How he got here: Wulff got on the hot seat by leading Washington State to a two year record of 3-22 in 2008-2009 (1-17 in conference). His one win so far this year has been against Montana State by one point.

    How does he get off the hot seat: Beating USC at home while they are vulnerable would be huge. Then going down to UCLA and winning would effectively buy him the rest of the season.

    Key games: The Cougars have five ranked opponents on their schedule so going .500 might not be possible, but upsetting any of those ranked teams could help.

3. Dan Hawkins

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    The Buffaloes will be heading to the Pac-10 soon. Will Coach Hawkins be coming with them?

    How he got here: Going 3-9 last year and 2-6 in the Big 12 conference got Hawkins seat a bit warm. Losing to California by 45 two weeks ago didn't help. And now the Georgia Bulldogs come to town with their coach also needing a win to cool his seat off.

    How does he get off the hot seat: It seems as if it has to be a bowl game or bust for Hawkins. Since the Buffaloes skip Texas this year, .500 in conference would also seem necessary.

    Key games: Beating an SEC team would do wonders for him, but Baylor, Kansas and Iowa State almost seem like must win games.

2. Tim Brewster

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    After back to back 3-5 conference records, the last thing Coach Brewster needed was to lose to South Dakota this year.

    How he got here: A 15-26 record with a 6-18 conference record got him here. He got an extension but it comes with a reportedly smaller buyout, just in case.

    How does he get off the hot seat:  Winning the games against the four unranked opponents on the schedule would make a bowl possible. Beating some of the ranked teams would show the program is moving in the right direction.

    Key games:  Minnesota is 0-2 on its four-game homestand. Winning the next two might make all the difference in the world.

1. Mike Locksley

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    Getting into a fist fight with an assistant coach when you're winning is one thing. Doing it during a 1-11 season, means your clock is ticking.

    How he got here: 1-11 last year and 0-3 this year. Also giving up more than fifty points in all three games while averaging only ten points get an inferno under your seat.

    How does he get off the hot seat:  Short of winning all the rest of his games, it is going to be tough to keep this gig. Keeping his hands off his coaches will help, though. And having no other off-field controversies.

    Key games: Any and all wins are welcome. Especially since they only have one more ranked squad on their schedule. Though a 70 point loss to TCU would look as bad as the 72-0 Oregon win.