It has been a few weeks since we visited the college football hot seat landscape. After the craziest weekend of the season thus far, there’s no better time to check in with the coaches that have a lot of work to do to salvage their jobs.
A few of the coaches that have appeared on this list, like Steve Addazio, Todd Graham, and Kevin Sumlin, have helped themselves out with big wins.
Ranking the best college football programs of all time
Ranking the best college football programs of all time
Total wins: 878 National championships: 16* Conference titles: 25 Heisman Trophy winners: 3
In our eyes, the University of Alabama is home to the greatest program in college football history. The Tide have had massively successful runs (including their ongoing dynasty) under arguably the two greatest coaches in college football history in Bear Bryant (1958–82) and Nick Saban (2007 to the present). They have won a record 16 national titles (some people will argue that it’s only 14, though), 25 conference titles, 878 total games, and had three Heisman Trophy winners. And with the way things are shaping up, there is a good chance that the Tide will win another national championship in 2016.
Total wins: 729 National championships: 11 Conference titles: 37 Heisman Trophy winners: 7*
The USC Trojans have been a college football powerhouse since the early ’20s. They have had three different head coaches win 100 or more games, and a fourth coach, Pete Carroll, won 97 games. During the Trojans’ run to 729 wins, 11 national titles, and 37 conference titles, they became known as “Tailback U” and served as the main football attraction in the major media market of Los Angeles from 1995–2016 while the city was without a team in the National Football League. USC is currently fighting to get back into national title contention, and with the type of talent they bring in on a yearly basis, it shouldn’t be long before we see the Trojans competing in the College Football Playoff.
*Includes the Heisman Trophy won by Reggie Bush which has since been vacated.
Total wins: 899 National championships: 11 Conference titles: 42 Heisman Trophy winners: 3
The University of Michigan is home to one of the proudest and most tradition-rich college football programs in the country. The Wolverines have won more games than any other team in the Football Bowl Subdivision; they almost always lead the nation in home game attendance figures; they have won a whopping 11 national titles and 42 conference titles; and they have 39 former coaches and players who have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Michigan is currently in the midst of a program revival under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, who has built the Wolverines into legitimate national title contenders in just his second year on the job.
Total wins: 767 National championships: 8 Conference titles: 36 Heisman Trophy winners: 7
Ohio State University is home to one of the greatest college football programs of all time. The Buckeyes have won eight national titles, 36 conference titles (34 came in the Big Ten), and 767 total games. Their seven Heisman Trophy winners ties them for the most by a single program in college football history. Few other schools can boast attendance figures that rival Ohio State’s, and Ohio Stadium (nicknamed “The Horseshoe”) is one of the most recognizable sporting venues in the country.
With head coach Urban Meyer at the helm, the Buckeyes are in the midst of yet another dominant run and should be among the top contenders to win the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in 2016.
Total wins: 808 National championships: 7 Conference titles: 44 Heisman Trophy winners: 5
The Oklahoma Sooners are one of a handful of college football programs that have withstood the test of time. They are the only program in major college football history to have four coaches each win 100 or more games during their time in Norman, Okla.. Over the last decade they have won 10 or more games in a season eight times (they have also accomplished the feat 25 times in the last 50 years); they have had five Heisman Trophy winners; and they have won 808 total games, 44 conference titles, and seven national titles. With a loaded squad that includes a serious Heisman contender in quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Sooners will likely contend for their program’s eighth national championship in 2016.
Total wins: 845 National championships: 5 Conference titles: 43 Heisman Trophy winners: 3
Ever since Bob Devaney took over as their head coach in 1962, the University of Nebraska football team has been a force to be reckoned with. Devaney’s eventual replacement, Tom Osborne, was one of the greatest football coaches (at any level) in the history of the sport and the ’99 College Football Hall of Fame inductee led the Huskers program to new heights. From 1973–97, Nebraska had 15 10-win seasons, won three national titles, and had two Heisman Trophy winners. Perhaps the greatest indication of how great this program truly is, is the fact that anything less than a 10-win season typically results in their head coaches landing in the hot seat.
Total wins: 835 National championships: 4 Conference titles: 30 Heisman Trophy winners: 2
No matter the level, football is king in Texas. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the Texas Longhorns are among the greatest college football programs of all time. Their dominance has been somewhat forgotten as of late given their recent struggles, but when it comes down to it, 835 wins, 53 bowl game appearances, 30 conference titles, and four national titles is nothing to scoff at.
Total wins: 555 National championships: 5 Conference titles: 9 Heisman Trophy winners: 2
In the early ’80s, the Miami Hurricanes went from being one of the biggest laughingstocks in all of college football to being one of the best programs in the history of the sport. In the process of becoming “The U,” Miami went on two dynasty-esque runs. The first was from 1983–1994 under head coaches Howard Schnellenberger, and the second came during the 2000–05 seasons with Butch Jones and Larry Coker at the helm. On top of it all, there may not be a better school in the country when it comes to producing NFL talent.
Total wins: 486* National championships: 3 Conference titles: 15 Heisman Trophy winners: 3
The fact that the Florida State football program has had just two head coaches since 1974 should tell you everything you need to know about how successful the Seminoles have been throughout the years. Former FSU head coach Bobby Bowden, who coached the Noles from 1976–2009, can be credited for the program’s rise into national prominence. Current head coach Jimbo Fisher has carried on the tradition of excellence in Tallahassee. On top of churning out countless All-Americans, Florida State has also become a haven for future NFL draft picks.
Total wins: 674 National championships: 3 Conference titles: 9 Heisman Trophy winners: 3
Over the last 25 years, the Florida Gators have been one of the most dominant college football programs in the country. During that stretch of time, they have posted 14 double-digit win seasons, won eight SEC titles and three national titles, and had two Heisman Trophy winners (quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow).
The University of Florida football program has always been strong, but they truly became a national power in the mid-’90s when Steve Spurrier took over as the team’s head coach. They also later enjoyed an immense run of success under Urban Meyer, and despite a rough four-year run from 2011–14 under former head coach Will Muschamp, the future again looks bright in Gainesville, Fla. with new head coach Jim McElwain leading the way.
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Others continue to struggle, and could be on the way out very soon. Revisit our last edition of the Hot Seat Rankings here:
9. Lovie Smith – Illinois
2017: 2-4 (last week: 35-24 loss vs. Rutgers)
2016: 3-9 (2-7 Big Ten)
Career: 5-13 (2-10 Big Ten)
It is only year two for Smith, so he probably won’t face real pressure until 2018, but things don’t seem to be progressing very well for the Illini. Saturday was almost definitely the team’s best shot at a third win in 2017, and it got soundly beaten by Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are improving under Chris Ash, but are still one of the conference’s weakest teams, making an 11-point home loss for Illinois look pretty rough.
8. Jim Mora – UCLA
2017: 3-3 (last week: 47-30 loss at Arizona)
2016: 4-8 (2-7 Pac-12)
Career: 44-27 (26-23 Pac-12)
Mora opened the season with a signature win—the epic comeback against Texas A&M—and has one of the nation’s most exciting quarterbacks at his disposal, but the team appears to be destined to be a middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 program for the foreseeable future. There is a distinct chance that the Bruins miss a bowl for the third straight year, based on the upcoming schedule.
7. David Beaty – Kansas
2017: 1-5 (last week: 45-0 loss at Iowa State) 2016: 2-10 (1-8 Big 12) Career: 3-27 (1-20 Big 12)
Time marches on for Beaty and the Kansas Jayhawks. This weekend, they met with one of the main peer programs in the Big 12: Iowa State. Unfortunately, Matt Campbell and the Cyclones look to be hitting their stride, beating Oklahoma on the road and blanking the Jayhawks, while Kansas looks doomed to finish with a single-win year. Beaty was handed a very difficult job, but can he keep it if he only manages three wins in as many seasons?
6. Scottie Montgomery – ECU
2017: 1-6 (last week: 63-21 loss at UCF) 2016: 3-9 (1-7 AAC) Career: 4-15 (2-10 AAC)
After picking up a narrow win at UConn a few weeks back, ECU has fallen back into the loss column pretty hard. USC, Temple, and UCF each beat the Pirates by an average of 32 points. This once-strong Group of Five program is just not competitive with a number of AAC teams that used to be peers at best.
5. Mike Riley – Nebraska
2017: 3-4 (last week: 56-14 loss vs. Ohio State) 2016: 9-4 (6-3 Big Ten) Career: 111-95, 18-15 at Nebraska (11-10 Big Ten)
Nebraska filled its vacancy at athletic director over the weekend, tabbing Washington State’s Bill Moos for the job. Odds are that Moos will want to make his own mark on the football program. The poor start to the season for the Huskers, including this weekend’s blowout loss to Ohio State, make that easier. Riley may not be let go until after the season, but his long-term prospects in Lincoln aren’t good.
4. Bret Bielema – Arkansas
2017: 2-4 (last week: 41-9 loss at Alabama) 2016: 7-6 (3-5 SEC) Career: 95-54, 27-30 at Arkansas (10-25 SEC)
By year five, Arkansas had to assume that Bielema would have the Razorbacks rolling, like he did Wisconsin half a decade ago. In 2017, the best Hogs fans can hope for is that this is yet another slow start that will finish with a big November run to a middling bowl. Even that has to be getting old. With back-to-back blowout losses and an upcoming trip to what will be a hungry Auburn, things are not getting easier for Bielema.
3. Barry Odom – Missouri
2017: 1-5 (last week: 53-28 loss at Georgia)
2016: 4-8 (2-6 SEC)
Career: 5-13 (2-10 SEC)
With an internal hire like Barry Odom, the hope is that the new head coach can pick up where his predecessor left off and keep momentum going. Gary Pinkel did a fantastic job with Missouri football, especially after the move to the SEC, when the Tigers captured two SEC East crowns. A fall may have been inevitable, but Odom’s tenure has seen Mizzou fall all the way to the SEC’s basement.
2. Tyson Summers – Georgia Southern
2017: 0-5 (last week: 35-27 loss vs. New Mexico State)
2016: 5-7 (4-4 Sun Belt)
Career: 5-12 (4-6 Sun Belt)
There isn’t much more to say about the struggles that Summers has had at GS. The Eagles have failed to pick up a win this season, and while they could pick off a Sun Belt opponent or two down the stretch, expectations are way higher for the former FCS powerhouse.
1. Butch Jones – Tennessee (Last Week: 9)
2017: 3-3 (last week: 15-9 loss vs. South Carolina)
2016: 9-4 (4-4 SEC)
Career: 83-51, 33-24 at Tennessee (14-21 SEC)
It’s really hard to see how Butch Jones bounces back at this point. Tennessee failed to really capitalize on the window it had last year, with a senior star-laden team, and has fallen farther than expected in 2017, sitting winless in SEC play three games into the conference season. Pair that with his recent lashing out at the media and a deeply unhappy fan base, and Jones has everything stacked against him. Tennessee has Alabama this weekend. Good luck with that, Vols.