Which coaches are on the hottest seat and under the most pressure after Week 3 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 3 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. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt
Michigan State’s meltdown against Arizona State meant Mark Dantonio spent the latter part of Saturday holding Narduzzi’s beer after a horrible end to the Penn State game.
Losing 17-10 in Happy Valley would normally be acceptable, but not going for it on the goal line late in the game – and not getting the field goal – was galling. If the Panthers got stuffed, there wouldn’t have been much of a beef. It was the lack of guts in that moment that got the social media world jumping.
The defending Coastal Division champs host UCF this week. Win, and it becomes a big moment for the program to pivot with a date with Delaware to follow. Lose, and with three of the next four games on the road, and with a home game against Miami, the Panthers might suffer a losing season before mid-November.
4. Mike Bobo, Colorado State
Toledo is the type of 50/50 home game that an embattled head coach needs to win and win big.
Bobo’s defense got rocked by rival Colorado to start the season, and it looked miserable against an Arkansas offense that’s done nothing for a few years. Toledo has the talent and potential to win the MAC, and it’s going to be a fight for the Rams to pull it off.
Lose, and with three of the next four games on the road, and the home game against San Diego State, pulling up out of the nosedive – going 1-7 in the last eight games, and with the last victory over an FBS team that finished with a winning record coming all the way back at the end of the 2016 season – isn’t going to be easy.
3. Clay Helton, USC
Aaaaaaand, now the hot seat is back on.
Just when it seems like the Stanford win was a step forward for a program loaded with young talent, the Trojans couldn’t get by an okay BYU team on the road. They needed the buffer with what’s coming up next.
Utah never wins at USC, but on Friday night with the world watching, it’s a must-win for the season to turn back around. And if USC loses?
At Washington, at Notre Dame – that’s next, and that would almost certainly mean 2-4 part with Oregon and trips to Arizona State and Cal still to deal with.
2. Tony Sanchez, UNLV
It always seems like the program is just this close to turning a corner and getting the offense working, but it’s just not. With the 30-14 loss at Northwestern, Sanchez is now 17-34 at the job with a trip to Wyoming up next in two weeks.
Lose to the Cowboys, and and with Boise State, at Vanderbilt, at Fresno State, and San Diego State to follow, the Rebels and Sanchez will likely be 1-7 before going to Colorado State.
1. Lovie Smith, Illinois
It wasn’t pretty, but Illinois managed to get out to a 2-0 start against two awful teams. So what that the opener was a win over Akron, and the trip at UConn was a struggle? With Rutgers a home game down the road, and with Eastern Michigan up to close out the non-conference portion of the slate, the Illini would have to find two more wins to get bowl eligible, and …
Eastern Michigan beat Purdue last season, but it got rocked at Kentucky two weeks ago, and had problems against Coastal Carolina.
And it’s a MAC team.
Now, at 11-28 in just over three years, Smith needs something special at home against Nebraska next week to get the season and his tenure going. There has to be some sign of life with Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota still to play.
NEXT: 5 Coaches Who Won’t Get Fired, But Need A Win