It’s the annual pre-season Coaching Hot Seat Watch, sponsored by Bo Pelini. If Bo loses four games this year at Youngstown State he may just go insane. Just warning the nice people of Youngstown, Ohio.
Anyway, this list is ranked from most likely to be fired to least likely to be fired, with the ones at or near the top possibilities for mid-season shitcanning. Here we go:
- Tim Beckman, Illinois – He saved his job by winning on the final day against Northwestern to become bowl-eligible last year. I predict the Illini to not be bowl-eligible this season and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was fired near the end of the season. This just really has not worked from the beginning for Illinois.
- Mike London, Virginia – How has this guy not been fired? By scraping out wins at the most opportune times. I think the act has worn thin though. Some Hoos fans might be longing for the days of Al Groh for Christ’s sake. Anyway, it ends near the end of the season for Mister London.
- Norm Chow, Hawaii – Poor Norm. He took over a destitute program and has tried his best to turn it around. The Fighting Rainbow Warrior Surfer Dudes can’t seem to get it together. Also, there is a big recruiting hurdle they can’t seem to get over. All this adds up to Norm getting fired (although I could see a “surprise” retirement being announced during the season).
- Al Golden, Miami – Everyone sees a bit of a renaissance this year for The U (well mostly everyone). I don’t buy it. I think Golden could be the first one fired but I feel he will coach out the string regardless. Another hire that looked golden (see what I did there) at the time and has not worked out at all.
- Willie Taggart, USF – You know, for a guy who is supposedly a recruiting genius, he sure has struggled to recruit in the hottest of hotbeds when it comes to college football, that being the state of Florida. Like shooting fish in a barrel…ok that was a really bad analogy. Anyway, I don’t know who will take over (does anyone have Jim Leavitt’s number?) but it may be a few years before this program gets back to respectability.
- Derek Mason, Vanderbilt – I really want to give this guy a chance to prove his mettle at the toughest school to coach at in the SEC. But James Franklin he is not. I think the Dores peaked (for now) with Franklin and Mason is better suited as a defensive coordinator with another Power Five conference school.
- Ron Turner, FIU – I really don’t know why the Golden Panthers hired this guy. He was clearly a dud at Illinois so why did he get another shot? My guess is because they royally fucked up with Mario Cristobal (who should still be there) and this was the best they could get. Another program that has a long climb ahead of them…without Turner.
- Paul Petrino, Idaho – No, having the last name Petrino doesn’t assure you success. To be honest, when it comes to Idaho, I don’t know if Nick Saban could taste success here. Maybe it’s time to cut their losses and head to the Big Sky and forget the FBS for a while.
- Paul Rhoads, Iowa State – It’s a tough go in Ames for sure. Almost no chance to be in the top three year-after-year in the Big XII. Then again, ISU barely gets bowl-eligible. A change may be good just to revitalize the program a bit.
- Darrell Hazell, Purdue – He is so wishing he was back at Kent State now. He jumped at the absolute first opportunity to get out of the MAC and into the big-time and he’s paying for it. Dude should have waited at least another season or two (although the way Kent State has been it may have been a decent decision).
- Charlie Strong, Texas – Many Horns fans want Strong gone yesterday. I think they would be wise to give him a chance but he better produce something this year or else the leash will be VERY short going into next season. He could be the earliest firing in FBS history (in 2016) if he can’t improve this team.
- Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech – Staying in the Longhorn state but looking at a very different program, there is a bit of unrest in Lubbock. Sure Kute Kliff has the looks but does he have the coaching mettle to get this team back to bowl-eligibility on a consistent basis. I don’t think he does but I believe he will survive this season.
- Mike MacIntyre, Colorado – It’s too bad the Buffs are probably the worst Power Five team in the land. Nothing is going right in Boulder. I guess you could say there is a bit of improvement and it’s better than it was when Jon Embree was at the helm but still. This team needs to right the ship or Mighty Mac may not survive the off-season.
- Trent Miles, Georgia State – I have this feeling Miles is going to get at least another year in Atlanta. They move to whatever Turner Field will be next season (I believe) so the hope is that there is even a glimmer of excitement once they get there. If things don’t improve relatively quickly, Miles won’t last…through 2016. He’s probably safe for now though.
- Paul Haynes, Kent State – Hey speaking of Kent State, here’s Darrell Hazell’s replacement there. Let’s be honest; other than catching lightning in a bottle that one magical year (2012), the Golden Flashes have been Golden Terrible, never being much of anything in the entirety of the program’s history. So maybe Paulie should get a break. He will this season but beyond that is anyone’s guess.
- Doug Martin, New Mexico State – Speaking of shitty football programs, we come to Las Cruces (put it into Google Maps). Another hiring that surprises me since Doug Martin wasn’t good at (surprise, surprise) Kent State a few years back. Another place that no one wants to seem to come to. Lucky for NMSU, the basketball team is so good that they may still get that mythical invite to the Mountain West (or at least a full Sun Belt invite for now).
- Kevin Wilson, Indiana – This is the year Big Kev finally puts it all together (kind of). I am positive he will get the Hoosiers to bowl-eligibility this year, proving Indiana isn’t just a basketball school (for 2015).
There. All done. I’m sure other coaches will get in trouble for banging a hooker or shooting up heroin or, God forbid, having bad recruiting practices. But for now, these are the (not so) Lucky 17.
Next up is my Heisman ballot (I will never get an actual Heisman ballot) and then final bowl projections before the season starts. Holy shit, the first game (albeit an FCS one) is 9 days away! FINALLY!