Nearly halfway into the season the College Football America Top 25 Hot Seat Coaches has some real volatility. But I’ll tip my hat to two coaches that I believe are now safe — Eastern Michigan’s Chris Creighton and Colorado’s Mike McIntyre. Both, I feel, have done enough to keep their jobs in 2017. Creighton has already won four games at EMU and McIntyre led the Buffs to an upset of Oregon and darn near did the same to USC.
We’ve also had two coaching firings already, FIU’s Ron Turner and LSU’s Les Miles. There will be more, and some of the coaches listed below will be looking for new jobs in 2017. Four new coaches make our list from Week 3 to Week 6.
So here are the 25 coaches that I believe are on the hottest seats in the country after Week 6. We will check back in around Week 9.
College Football America’s Hot Seat Coaches Top 25
Paul Haynes, Kent State (was No. 1 in Week 3)
Things are ticking up a bit for Haynes, as the Golden Flashes are 2-4 overall and have a league win over Buffalo. But that’s still just his 11th win in three-plus seasons. He must win more games this year than he has in any previous season at KSU, which is four. I’m not sure he gets there.
- Chuck Martin, Miami (OH) (was No. 6 in Week 3)
Miami (OH) cut loose Don Treadwell after two plus seasons and an 8-21 record. Martin is 5-25 in two-plus seasons and the Redhawks are 0-6 right now. Miami would have to win out just to qualify for a bowl game. That’s unlikely. But the Redhawks need to show progress fast.
- Charlie Partridge, FAU (was No. 9 in Week 3)
What’s the worst possible thing you can do if your job is in jeopardy? Lose to the cross-town rival that just fired its head coach. At 1-5 overall and 0-2 in Conference USA he’s staring at a third straight season of three or fewer wins.
- Derek Mason, Vanderbilt (was No. 4 in Week 3)
I think Mason is in real trouble now, especially after Vandy lost to Kentucky, whose head coach, Mark Stoops, is also on this list. Mason has just two league wins in two-plus seasons. Frankly, I don’t see an SEC win on their schedule the rest of this season.
- Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State (was No. 11 in Week 3)
A very unscientific poll conducted by a Fresno TV station showed that, out of 300 respondents, more than half said DeRuyter should be replaced either now or at the end of the season. They’re restless in Fresno. The 1-5 record and the winless start in Mountain West action isn’t helping. These Bulldogs are 10-20, dating back to the start of the 2014 season.
- Rod Caragher, San Jose State (was No. 12 in Week 3)
Now 16-27 in three-plus season, Caragher is not building on last year’s bowl season. In fact, at 1-5 overall and 0-2 in the Mountain West, Caragher would seem to be in similar trouble to DeRuyter.
- Darrell Hazell, Purdue (was No. 3 in Week 3)
Hazell actually has a winning record right now (3-2) and a Big Ten win over Illinois, just their third league win three-plus seasons under Hazell. So the heat is down … a bit.
Charlie Strong, Texas (was No. 15 in Week 3)
One of our biggest movers of the week. Strong demoted his defensive coordinator and took over the defense full-time and saw his Longhorns give up 45 points, and yet it was a close game with Oklahoma. The irony is that he may have found his QB in Shane Buechele. But if the defense doesn’t turn around Strong may not be in Austin to enjoy it.
- Doug Martin, New Mexico State (was No. 8 in Week 3)
The win over New Mexico was nice for the Aggies. But at 2-3 and 1-1 in the Sun Belt the Aggies need to make some things happen.
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame (was No. 17 in Week 3)
One would think Kelly has built up some good will. Maybe not. The Irish lost to Texas and NC State on the road, to Michigan State and Duke at home. Notre Dame hasn’t even played Stanford, USC and Navy yet. Justin Fuente has rejuvenated Virginia Tech, another future opponent. Keep an eye on him. Irish faithful won’t tolerate this for long.
- Steve Addazio, Boston College (was No. 14 in Week 3)
The problem isn’t the three wins. It’s the three losses, all in ACC play. If you can’t win conference games, you can’t get to a bowl game. The Eagles haven’t won a league game since 2014.
- Mark Helfrich, Oregon (not ranked in Week 3)
Helfrich took the Ducks to a national title game in his second season after taking over for Chip Kelly. Now the Ducks are 2-4 and have losses to Washington State and Washington in Pac-12 action. The worm has turned in the North Division. One would assume that Helfrich’s three seasons of success would win him some time. I’m not so sure. The Ducks are used to wild success and have a rabid booster base that might be happy to buy him out if, say, Les Miles wants to come west?
- Mark Stoops, Kentucky (was No. 13 in Week 3)
He holds steady for now with a 3-3 record and a 2-2 record in the SEC. He needs a bowl game in the worst way.
- Sean Kugler, UTEP (was No. 20 in Week 3)
Kugler’s Miners are really struggling. Just 1-5 with a 0-3 record in league action, that bowl game in 2014 is nearly a memory at this point.
- Mike Jinks, Bowling Green (not ranked in Week 3)
I wanted to give this guy a few weeks because you never want to say a guy in his first season is on the hot seat. But this looks bad. The Falcons have given up 77 points twice this season (Ohio State and Memphis) and their only win is over North Dakota — by a point. This was a Falcons team that won the MAC last year. And the athletic director that hired him is no longer there. That’s a bad recipe.
- Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati (not ranked in Week 3)
The good will may be starting to erode. The Bearcats have lost all three bowl games Tuberville has taken them to. The Bearcats were 7-6 last year. This year they’re already out of American Athletic contention after an 0-3 start in league action. He’s worth monitoring the rest of the way because he’s costing the Bearcats a ton of money and if the Bearcats don’t get into a Power 5 league (read Big 12), they may feel the price is too high.
- Mike Leach, Washington State (was No. 7 in Week 3)
Um, back-to-back wins over Oregon and Stanford, the latter on the road? Yeah the Pirate is nearly safe. Maybe just a couple of more wins
Gus Malzahn, Auburn (was No. 10 in Week 3)
Things are a little better after wins over LSU and Mississippi State. But bigger games are coming and he could easily move back up this list.
- Trent Miles, Georgia State (was No. 21 in Week 3)
Forget the bowl game last year. Throw out the bowl season and GSU has two wins in 2013, 2014 and this season. If this keeps up he’ll move up this list fast.
- Kevin Wilson, Indiana (was No. 19 in Week 3)
A winning record thus far for the Hoosiers, but the bulk of the Big Ten awaits. And remember — it took Wilson five years to get them to a bowl game and they only did so with six wins.
- Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern (was No. 16 in Week 3)
The win over Iowa was a pretty big one for Fitzgerald and the Wildcats, who were off in Week 6. That takes some of the heat off.
- Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech (was not ranked in Week 3)
I have concerns here. The Yellow Jackets are just 1-3 in league action just a year after they went 3-9. Johnson had taken GT to seven straight bowl games before last season. His status is worth monitoring now.
- Butch Jones, Tennessee (was No. 18 in Week 3)
One would assume he’s safe. But let’s see if the bottom comes out of these Vols after the loss to Texas A&M. That could sour this season real fast.
- Jim Grobe, Baylor (was No. 24 in Week 3)
Again, Grobe is on a one-year contract so he remains on this list and likely won’t move from this position. It’s worth noting the Bears are undefeated so far.
- Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss (was No. 25 in Week 3)
Freeze’s status has more to do with NCAA investigations than anything else. The Rebels’ play has been relatively unaffected by all of that.
Coaching moves already
Ron Turner, FIU — Fired in September
Les Miles, LSU — Fired in September
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