Which coaches are on the hottest seat and under the most pressure after Week 1 of the college football season?
The hot seat can cool off really, really quickly. One win doesn’t secure a coaching gig, but it makes life a whole lot easier when you come up with a blowout win like Lovie Smith got this week against Akron.
Or, the hot seat can go from flaming to icy after one quarter – just check with Chris Ash of Rutgers on that, after UMass got up FAST, but everything changed around in the second half.
Overall, the hot seat is about pressure. Which ten coaches are going to be feeling it if they don’t win … NOW.
The hot seat rankings 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. Matt Luke, Ole Miss/Chad Morris, Arkansas
It’s a little more like Rich Rodriguez is on the hot seat at Ole Miss. The Rebel program that’s used to cranking out points and yards in chunks. Instead, against a questionable Memphis defense that’s not supposed to hold teams to anything under a gajillion yards, the Ole Miss offense went absolutely nowhere in the 15-10 loss. At least Memphis is supposed to be good.
Arkansas got by Portland State 20-13 in what was supposed to be a showcase game for the improved offense.
The Hogs got close to 400 yards, was +2 in turnover margin, and even got out to an early lead, but it was way, way, way too much of a struggle to get by.
Now Arkansas has to deal with Ole Miss in what should be a game for the SEC’s hottest seat. The Rebels get SE Louisiana after this, and then it’s on to Alabama. Arkansas at least has it easy for a while with Colorado State and San Jose State up after going to Oxford.
4. Clay Helton, USC
The Trojans had to survive a dangerous finish against Fresno State. The USC defense came up with a late pick in the end zone, and there was a scary bobbled snap in the victory formation, but it was still a fight. And it was a win.
But now the Trojans have to go on without starting QB JT Daniels, who was lost for the year to a torn ACL. Worse yet, the team was a bit too shaky with Stanford, at BYU, Utah, at Washington, at Notre Dame up next.
3. Randy Edsall, UConn
The Huskies got a decent defensive performance after a miserable 2018, and it got a win, but it came against a bad Wagner team.
Now Edsall is 5-20 in part two of his UConn career.
The defense held the Seahawks to under 200 yards and was amazing on third downs, but it was still a three point win over a mediocre FCS team. It was a nice start and a good tune-up, but with Illinois, at Indiana, at UCF, USF, and Houston up next, that might be it for then until late October.
2. Charlie Strong, USF
For most head coaches, getting stomped on by Wisconsin isn’t that big a deal. The Badgers are a top 20 team, and maybe even top 15 – but to open up the season in a showcase game at home and lose 49-0 … that’s not okay.
Making it worse is how it all looked coming off a miserable finish to last season. The Bulls started out 7-0 under Strong in 2018, lost the last six games, and now kicked off the season with this. The schedule is soon going to get a whole lot easier, but a good performance this week at Georgia Tech would be a massive help to ease the tension.
1. Will Muschamp, South Carolina
$18 million. That’s the buyout of Will Muschamp’s contract.
One more performance by his team like the one against North Carolina, and that might seem like a bargain for Gamecock fans.
South Carolina played it way, way, way too safe, and it got burned when it ran into a Tar Heel team that cranked up the momentum an energy when needed. UNC got a huge game out of its true freshman quarterback Sam Howell, and USC got two interceptions – including a miserable late one – from it’s four-year starter Jake Bentley, and now it’s uh-oh time.
Muschamp is a painful 22-18 in just over three seasons, and after Charleston Southern next week, it’s going to get really, really brutal with Alabama, at Missouri, Kentucky, at Georgia and Florida to follow. Throw in dates against Texas A&M and Clemson, too, and this loss to North Carolina all but locks down a losing season.