Top 8 College Football Head Coaches on the Hot Seat in 2022

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVAugust 12, 2022

Top 8 College Football Head Coaches on the Hot Seat in 2022

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    Scott Frost | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    The optimism and promise of a new coaching hire in college football don't always last. Losses pile up, frustration builds and thoughts of another change soon follow.

    Entering the 2022 season, a handful of power-conference coaches find themselves on the hot seat.

    Perceptions can change quickly. Someone on this list may remove himself with a strong year, and an unexpected name could join the unfortunate group just as quickly.

    For now, though, Nebraska's Scott Frost headlines a five-person cast—with three not terribly far behind—holding the most tenuous job security.

The Heating Seats

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    Karl Dorrell | Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    This trifecta of coaches isn't entirely unsafe, but they're certainly feeling a heightened level of pressure in 2022.

    Karl Dorrell began his Colorado tenure with a 4-2 season in the shortened 2020 campaign. However, a 4-8 mark followed—the Buffs dropped all six games outside of Boulder—as the offense scored a brutal 17.3 points per game against FBS opponents.

    Florida State, meanwhile, is 8-13 in the brief tenure of Mike Norvell. Three positives in his favor are a 2021 victory over rival Miami, a Top 20 recruiting class in 2022 and FSU probably not wanting to make another move after Willie Taggart's two-year tenure. But if the Seminoles don't even reach a bowl again, change may be inevitable.

    Lastly, there's Steve Sarkisian.

    Widely viewed as a fantastic hire at Texas—which, for the record, included me—his debut hardly could've gone worse. Following a 4-1 start, the Longhorns dropped six straight games with a letdown at home to Kansas. Anything close to 5-7 again, and Sark could be leaving the Forty Acres.

Dino Babers, Syracuse

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    Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Dino Babers seemed to have Syracuse heading in the right direction. He arrived in 2016, upset second-ranked Clemson in 2017 and enjoyed a third-year breakout. That season, the Orange climbed as high as 12th in the AP poll and finished 10-3.

    Since then, it's been a struggle.

    Syracuse dipped to 5-7 in 2019, largely due to a defense that surrendered 30.7 points per game. And then, the Orange plummeted to 1-10 in 2020 because of a wildly ineffective offense.

    The encouraging news is Syracuse climbed back to 5-7 last season. But if there isn't progress in 2022, the calls for a different voice may be louder.

Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech

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    Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Geoff Collins embraced a very difficult job. Paul Johnson ran a triple-option offense, so Collins had to reshape the roster to run a more modern attack.

    Difficult, for sure. At the same time, his vision has to show greater signs of development.

    Georgia Tech jumped from 16.7 points in 2019 per game to 23.9 and 24.0, respectively, over the last two seasons. But the Yellow Jackets have managed three wins in each year, posting a 7-18 record in ACC competition.

    More problematically, the defense—which is Collins' strength—has been a sieve. The unit has given up 32-plus points per game in all three seasons.

    To close the 2021 season, Notre Dame and Georgia outscored the Jackets a combined 100-0. That probably won't be forgivable again.

Bryan Harsin, Auburn

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Auburn is a mess.

    That's the short version of the surrounding atmosphere, which compelled the athletic department to investigate Bryan Harsin and, ultimately, his personal relationships. The coach, who recently called it an "attack" on himself and his family, was formally retained in February.

    Oh, and he merely wrapped up his first season on the Plains.

    Look, he's not without blame here. The five-game skid to close the 2021 campaign stunk, and Harsin needs a stronger year than 6-7. That'll never be acceptable in the SEC.

    In a program where external forces have a strong pull, however, "fine" isn't going to cut it. The dysfunction can lead to strong-armed changes.

Herm Edwards, Arizona State

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    On the field, Herm Edwards has done a passable job. In four seasons, Arizona State is 25-18 with a 17-14 mark in Pac-12 matchups. That should put any coach on alert, but it won't be cause for a scorching seat.

    The problem is the other stuff.

    Right now, the NCAA is investigating whether Arizona State broke recruiting rules. Even as Edwards isn't directly involved as suggested, the violations would've happened under his watch. The proverbial bucks stop with him.

    The investigation has hammered ASU's recruiting, player retention and coaching staff. Should the Sun Devils have a decent year, Edwards may survive into 2023.

    But if they endure a rough season and the NCAA inquiry doesn't absolve him, it wouldn't be surprising for the school to fire Edwards for the cause.

Scott Frost, Nebraska

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    Scott Frost | Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

    The situation isn't exclusively bad in Nebraska, but there certainly aren't many good things happening.

    More than anything, the Cornhuskers are a dismal 15-29 in Scott Frost's four-year tenure. They were consistently competitive in 2021 and never lost a single game by 10-plus points, yet Nebraska managed to drop nine games anyway. Plus, the NCAA slapped him with a one-year show-cause order for violating rules on the number of allowable coaches.

    Frost's seat is anything but his namesake.

    Nebraska absolutely must—at the very least—make a bowl appearance for Frost to stay in Lincoln. Even then, a six-win season might not be enough.

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