Mike Riley – Nebraska: I am still shaking my head over the move the Huskers made when they hired Riley from Oregon State. At Nebraska, he has a 16-13 record in his third season and the Huskers are currently 1-2 having just lost to Northern Illinois. Nebraska should never lose to a MAC team. That’s almost unforgivable. This program has fired 2 coaches with 9-3 records and while Mike Riley is a very nice guy and a decent coach, he’s not what Nebraska needs right now. Nebraska has the best fans in the world, but there’s much grumbling going on as there should be.
Scott Frost had better have the house packed up and ready for a move.
Bret Bielema – Arkansas: The plan at Wisconsin is simple and basic. You run the type of football program that Barry Alvarez built and ran for years at Wisconsin. Bielema came in and ran it much like Alvarez set up and he posted a 68-24 record in 7 seasons. In a move that shocked the nation,
Bielema resigned at Wisconsin and jumped to Arkansas after the 2012 season.
It’s not been easy at all at Arkansas starting with a 3-9 record. Since that initial season, the Hogs have not had a losing season. But, the sense was that in 2015, they had turned a corner and then they flopped to a less than impressive 8-5 record. Last year, the Razorbacks were 7-6 with an ugly loss in their bowl game to Virginia Tech. This season, the Hogs are already disappointing with a 7-28 home loss to TCU and with an upcoming game against a riled up Aggie team, look for a 1-2 record after this weekend. The natives are past the point of growing restless. If you are a coach looking for a job, Arkansas might be a place to consider. The SEC is weaker than you think.
Butch Jones – Tennessee: The pressure is intense at Tennessee. It’s been a long time since the glory days of Phil Fulmer and the Vol fan base desperately wants to be relevant again. The SEC East has been open for somebody to take over, instead Missouri and Florida have limped into SEC East wins mostly by default. Last year, the Vols had an experienced senior quarterback and they still didn’t win it. They finished 9-4 the past two seasons which would be good, but they’ve lost to teams like Vanderbilt and Kentucky and the fans are restless to say the least. This season, the Vols are 2-1, but they gave up over 500 yards rushing to Georgia Tech and they were fortunate to win. They were not so fortunate last weekend when they lost to the Florida Gators yet again. Florida and Georgia have the upper hand in the SEC East now and that will not sit well. Jones took over a struggling program and has coached them to two 9-4 records in a row. If Jones does not start leading his program to championships, he might be gone soon.
Kevin Sumlin – Texas A%M: Sumlin took over a program that has a freshman quarterback named Johnny Manziel. His first season was an 11-2 sensation that had the nation talking. They even beat national champion Alabama with some incredible plays by Manziel. But, after that first magical season, the luster has started to come off. Manziel’s last year in College Station provided only a 9-4 record. Three straight 8-5 seasons has been disappointing for the fans. It all came to a boiling point on opening night when the Aggies had a 34 point lead and blew it against UCLA with a last second loss. Since that night, the Aggies have improved to 2-1. But, the wolves are still howling and the team has yet to meet the prime beef of it’s schedule. This is possibly Sumlin’s last year in College Station. His current record at A%M is 46-22 and I don’t agree with firing coaches with winning records. It never worked out for Nebraska, or Texas.
Rich Rodriguez – Arizona: Rich Rod’s last three seasons at Arizona are the stuff of legends going
11-1, 11-2 and 10-2. He was hired by Michigan right after Lloyd Carr retired and it was a disaster from the beginning until the end. He was fired after three seasons and a 15-22 record. It was a round peg in a square hole from the outset. After leaving Michigan, Coach Rod was an analyst for a year before being hired by the Arizona Wildcats. When I think of Arizona, I think of Dick Tomey and Desert Swarm Defense. Tomey was the Wildcat coach for 14 seasons. I think of Rob Waldrop and Tedy Bruschi and any other number of great defensive players. Those days are long gone and Arizona is strictly an offensive team. Things started off really well for Coach Rod going 8-5, 8-5 and then 10-4 and winning the Pac 12 South. It’s fizzled since then with the team declining to 7-6 and then 3-9 last season. This season, the team is sitting at 2-1 with the tougher part of their schedule ahead of them.
Todd Graham – Arizona State: Up the road in Tempe, the Sun Devils are experiencing much the same as their rivals to the south. Karma? Todd Graham had a job in Pittsburgh and he left after one season and sent the players texts that he was leaving. He was at Rice for one season and then at Pitt for just one season as well. Like Rodriguez, Graham started off well going 8-5, 10-4 and 10-3 in his first three seasons at Arizona State. During his second season, the Devils won the Pac 12 South. But, it has not been the same the past couple of seasons. In 2015, the Sun Devils fell flat with a 6-7 record and then last season was worst with a 5-7 record and no bowl. This season is off to a bad start with a 1-2 record. Graham is a defensive coach and his defenses are awful. There’s some talent in Arizona and recruiting California should not be all that hard for the Sun Devils. Graham has an overall 40-28 record in Tempe, but the natives may be restless as everyone wants to win the national championship every season.
Gus Malzahn – Auburn: At Auburn, the pressure to beat Alabama and win the SEC is sky high. Tiger boosters and fans have almost impossible expectations because of what Gus Malzahn accomplished in his first season as the Auburn head coach. Malzahn came to Auburn after one season as a head coach at Arkansas State where he led the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record. In 2013, Malzahn took over at Auburn and he took a terrible 3-9 team and led them to an incredible turnaround and just a few seconds away from a national title. Heisman winner and future top pick in the entire NFL Draft, Jameis Winston hit 1st round pick Kelvin Benjamin for the winning touchdown as time about expired
leaving Malzahn and Auburn with an SEC title. There was a little luck along the way with Prayer at Jordan Hare and Kick 6 helping out. Since that season, the Tigers have gone 8-5, 7-6 and 8-5 and now this season began with a 2-1 record and a loss to Clemson. As most fans of most schools, Auburn fans think they can do better with a different head coach.
Gary Andersen – Oregon State: Connected to that strange Nebraska move, Andersen was doing well at Wisconsin and suddenly decided he might enjoy living in Oregon. It might have been a fatal career move as things have not gone so well at Oregon State. His first season was a 2-10 nightmare, followed by 4-8. This season is more of the same with a 1-3 start and one of the worst defenses in college football. He has Ryan Nall at running back and barely uses him. Expectations aren’t super high at Oregon State, but they have built new facilities like so many other schools and they may feel like they need new leadership.
Jim Mora – UCLA: With his NFL experience, the thought was by many that Mora would kill it at the collegiate level. After leading the Bruins to a 9-5 record and then two 10-3 records in a row, most people then thought they were right about Mora. Then, 8-5 and 4-8 seasons happened and everyone is now off the Jim Mora bandwagon. This season, the up and down Bruins beat Texas A%M with a miracle come back and then they lost to Memphis. They can score some points, but they can’t stop anybody. What happens next season when Josh Rosen leaves for the NFL? It could be ugly unless they fix that defense.
Kliff Kingsbury – Texas Tech: Coach Kool seemed like the perfect fit for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. With their love for former head coach Mike Leach, Kingsbury was the perfect fit since he would run a similar type program. The only problem is, it’s not working all that well. After a promising first year in 2013 with an 8-5 record, things went down hill after that. With 4-8, 7-6 and 5-7 records following it’s time for Kingsbury to step up and lead his Raiders to a big season. They still love him in Lubbock, as far as I know, but they have to win some games.
Barry Odom – Missouri: Following maybe the best Missouri coach of all time, Odom is already taking heat from fans. His first season was a disappointing 4-8 and now his team is struggling again with losses to Purdue and South Carolina. Purdue loss was particularly humiliating for the Tigers with the Boilermakers dominating them, 35-3. Odom has only been on the job for just over a year and he at least deserves another year.
There are more, but these are coaches from the Power 5 Conferences. More will emerge as the season progresses and hopefully some of these guys can remove themselves from the infamous hot seat.