Which coaches are on the hottest seat and under the most pressure after Week 4 of the college football season?
Which ten coaches are going to be feeling it if they don’t win … NOW.
The hot seat rankings after Week 4 are done in two ways. First, the five coaches who need a win for job security, and then the five coaches who aren’t in any real danger of being fired – yet – but could desperately use something positive.
Coaches On The Hot Seat: Win, Or Else
5. Doug Martin, New Mexico State
He’s been able to survive year after year at a program always staring at a massive uphill climb, but this his seventh season at the helm. So far at NMSU he has won fewer than four games in five of his six seasons, and now at 20-57 with an 0-4 start, there’s a problem.
The brutal schedule to start the season was part of the deal – the Aggies were going to be an ugly 0-3 – but losing to New Mexico hurts. With two games against Liberty remaining, along with a date with Incarnate Word and one against UTEP, there are chances for wins. After the loss to the Lobos, though, another three-win season is likely.
4. Will Muschamp, South Carolina
It’s not just that South Carolina is off to a 1-3 start. It’s how bad it’s been so far.
The only win came against Charleston Southern from the FCS world, and the games against North Carolina and Missouri were must-wins considering how rough the rest of the schedule is. Losing by 20 to the Tigers isn’t a good look.
It’s possible to turn this around in a big, big hurry. Kentucky, at Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Appalachian State are all winnable. Run that table, come up with an upset somewhere else, and 6-6 would be a wonderful season. Lose any of those four, and 4-8 is possible.
3. Chad Morris, Arkansas
Everyone understood that it was going to take a rebuilding job to get Arkansas back among the living, but you do NOT lose to San Jose State.
When was the last time the Spartans beat a Power Five program? 2002 against Illinois. Before that? Stanford in 2000. There were a few other wins over the Cardinal, but other than those, and that win over the Illini, the previous P5 win came over Minnesota in 1992.
Just 4-12 in just over a year, he has yet to win an SEC game, hasn’t cranked up the offense, and hasn’t shown any real sign of things getting appreciably better. And now, other than the home date against WKU, there’s not another game on the slate that Arkansas doesn’t appear destined to lose by double-digits.
2. Lovie Smith, Illinois
It’s not just that Illinois keeps on losing – the 2-2 record so far isn’t that bad – it’s that it keeps on disappointing in key moments.
The Illini lost two weeks ago to an Eastern Michigan team that needed everything in the bag to get by Central Connecticut last weekend. Against Nebraska, the Illini were in the game and had their shot to pull off something special, but the defense failed in the second half, the offense stalled, and in the end, it was a rough 42-38 loss.
On the plus side, the O is scoring at a consistent clip, at least in the final score. But now playtime is over with a rested Minnesota on the road next week, followed up by Michigan, followed up by Wisconsin.
There’s still time. Get by the beatable Gophers for a second year in a row, take out winnable games against Purdue and Rutgers in a few weeks, and set things up for a shot at six wins when a bad Northwestern team comes to Champaign.
1. Chris Ash, Rutgers
It’s just not working.
The offense did a nice job against Boston College of getting things moving through the air, but it was yet another bad loss by double-digits. Now at 1-2, Ash is 8-31 in just over three seasons, the offense isn’t consistently scoring, and now comes a date with an angry Michigan team on the road.
There’s just no hope.
Maybe the Scarlet Knights can catch fire for a day at home against Minnesota, or possibly they could take down Liberty the week after, and …
At Michigan, Maryland, at Indiana, at Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State, at Penn State. Just winning one of those games would be a success at this point. It’s a low bar, but getting to four wins would be nearly miraculous.
NEXT: 5 Coaches Who Won’t Get Fired, But Need A Win