2012 Coaching Hot Seat - No Pressure
Baylor head coach Art Briles
Baylor head coach Art Briles
Posted Apr 6, 2012

The CFN 2012 Coaching Hot Seat Analysis - Those with no real pressure to worry about.

2012 Coaching Hot Seat

No Pressure

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- No Pressure - Can Afford Two Bad Years
- No Real Worries. - Can Afford A Clunker
- Need To Win, Or The Pressure Is On
- Clunk In 2012, Worry In 2013
- The Pressure Cooker. The REAL Hot Seat  
- 2012 5-Year Plan Coaching Rankings

Being on a hot seat doesn't and shouldn't necessarily mean a coach is about to be fired. It can also mean a coach is under tremendous pressure and has to deal with ridiculously high expectations.

For example, Urban Meyer, Jimbo Fisher, and Brady Hoke aren't going to be fired no matter what happens on the field this season. However, they're on a hot seat to win and win big. Meyer needs to get Ohio State ready to win a national title again in 2013. Fisher has to get Florida State to an ACC title. Hoke set the bar high after winning the Sugar Bowl and now the fan base is expecting a Big Ten championship.

So with that in mind, here's the CFN ranking of all 124 current FBS college football head coaches based on the pressure they're under. The ones at the top could afford a disastrous 2012 and everything would be fine. The ones at the bottom will either be canned or will have an extremely disappointed fan base to make for an extremely grouchy offseason.

These coaches are under no real pressure whatsoever. Not only is there no chance of getting fired, a bad season will be seen as an aberration.

1. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
Non-existent. Beamer is one of those rare coaches who'll get a victory lap in his final year with the Hokies. Really, how many coaching tenures end well? Even several legends, like Joe Paterno, Woody Hayes, Pete Carroll, and on, don't close well. Beamer will have things named after him by the time he leaves and deservedly so.

2. Chris Petersen, Boise State
It's his job for as long as he wants to live in Boise. It would take several clunker seasons or a major scandal for there to be any heat whatsoever on his job. At just 48 years old this October, he's one of the best coaches in all of football and has the potential to go down as one of the all-time greats if he can somehow come close to keeping up this incredible pace. How amazing has this run been? Of his six losses, one came in the final moments against TCU last year, one came on a missed kick against Nevada, and one game by one point to TCU in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl. Boise State is three plays and five points away from four straight unbeaten seasons — five in six years — and a run of 40 straight wins.

3. Art Briles, Baylor

Baylor was 0-14 in the Big 12 when it came to winning seasons, and then Briles and RGIII managed to make a huge step forward in 2010 before putting it all together in 2011. After doing the impossible, now Briles is firmly entrenched as a legend at the school and can afford a few clunker seasons. With his offense and the program being built up, though, don't expect a slide back into consistent mediocrity.

4. Bill Snyder, Kansas State
The stadium is named after the guy's family. If he wants to coach until he's 85, he can. However, like he did in the mid-2000s, if he senses he has lost his touch, he'll know when to step aside. There is no Kansas State football without him, and considering this isn't Ohio State or Alabama when it comes to superpower legacies, there's no real expectation that anyone can ever overshadow his accomplishments.

5. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
He's supposedly as good as new after a heart attack suffered after the 2010 win over Notre Dame, but that's always going to be a concern in terms of his longevity as a coach. Even so, the job is his as long as he wants to be the head of the Michigan State program. The buyout to get out of his contract extension is steep, and while he's not making Saban-like money, the school will make sure he's happy.

6. Mario Cristobal, FIU
He's still a Golden Panther? He would've been a perfect fit for the Miami job that went to Al Golden, but soon some mid-level BCS program is going to snap him up and hope he can tap into the Florida pipeline of talent.

7. June Jones, SMU
SMU is going to keep Jones on the Hilltop for as long as he's willing to stay. Barring some kind of disaster, he'll have an opportunity to finish his career with the Mustangs if he wants to. The program hit the jackpot with this hire and it knows it.

8. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Gundy is from Oklahoma, he was a great quarterback at Oklahoma State, and he even looks a bit orange when he gets tan. He is Oklahoma State football at this point and barring another Bobby Reid-like incident, he appears to be set as the leader of the program for a long, long time. If he wants it, there's a chance he can grow into one of the greats with a few more years like the last four.

9. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU
Is Oregon State a big enough jump? The former Beaver might have a shot at the job in the near future, but even though it's in the Pac-12, it might be a step down from what he's doing at BYU. However, now that the football program is an independent and with the bowl tie-in locked up in advance, there's a hard ceiling on what he can do. Either the Cougars will be playing for the BCS title game, or it'll be off to the Poinsettia Bowl. Soon, he might be ready for more.

10. Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois
It was a wee bit of a shocker that Kansas didn't offer Doeren the job instead of Charlie Weis, but with one more big year there could be an even bigger job with his name on it. He's probably one more job away from being a destination head coach at an elite program.

11. Nick Saban, Alabama
An extra $6 million. There was no need to give Saban such a massive raise, but Alabama did it anyway. The NFL will never come calling again after the Miami fiasco, and there's no college job right now bigger or better. So how is he not No. 1, considering there's no chance whatsoever he'll be fired any time soon? The expectations. It's national title or bust from here on, so while he's of course not on any hot seat in terms of job status, the pressure is national title or bust. Just winning the SEC title at this point will be seen as a bit of a down year.

12. George O'Leary, UCF
Although the Knights are coming off a disappointing season, O'Leary isn't going anywhere. He's a fixture at UCF, and the guy the program wants guiding it into a new league. He'll likely retire from the job before ever being shown the door.

13. Gary Patterson, TCU
The major drug scandal and controversy at the school this offseason would be enough to kick most coaches to the curb. Instead, Patterson handled the situation as well as possibly could. Even with all the problems and concerns, there was no real talk about dumping him. If he ever wanted to leave TCU, he could have his pick of any job opening he wants. It would take at least two losing seasons in the Big 12 before he'd be on any hot seat.

14. Chris Ault, Nevada
He is Nevada football. Things will be named after him once he's done. While the pressure is to dominate in a mediocre Mountain West, the guy is in the Hall of Fame for a reason.

15. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
While controversies always seem to come out of the blue, Stoops appears to have a better handle on his program than most coaches at major-league programs. That might be the only thing that can derail the Stoops era. It would take a few mediocre seasons and several years without a Big 12 title to put him on a hot seat. He's becoming an institution, but there will be some grumbling if the Sooners suddenly take a backseat behind Texas and Oklahoma State. He has set the bar so high that the expectations are through the roof.

16. Frank Solich, Ohio
There was an issue with a DUI in 2005, but he wasn't canned for it. After the success he has had at his age, he'll retire on his own terms and could go out on top if he can finally bring home a MAC title.

17. Troy Calhoun, Air Force
That he's still around Colorado Springs is a minor miracle. He might be an Air Force guy, but he has had success at every stop, and that includes as the offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans.

18. Charlie Strong, Louisville
Athletic director Tom Jurich has more heat on him these days than Strong. He's the guy who has to make sure the coach doesn't flee for more money and a bigger gig when the inevitable offers come in each December. Strong is in the early stages of building something special in Louisville.

19. Charley Molnar, Massachusetts
The expectations aren't all that high and he'll get at least three years to show what he can do. He hasn't coached in one spot for more than two years since his six-year assistant stint at Kent State, and he has finally found a home.

20. Gary Pinkel, Missouri
He pled guilty to a DWI last year and while he was disciplined and suspended for a game, there was never any serious thought of getting rid of him. Missouri wouldn't be in the SEC this year if Pinkel hadn't turned the program into a power and while last season might have been a bit of a disappointment, winning at least eight games a year is the norm. This is his program and Mizzou has a national profile now because of what he was able to do.

21. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
After mediocre seasons from 2007 to 2009 there was a thought that Spurrier might not have the magic anymore. After the last two years, though, and after the greatest season in school history, he'll be able to close out his coaching career however he wants. There are golf courses with his name on it, but they might have to wait a few more years. He has amassed too much talent to retire now.

22. Chip Kelly, Oregon
Even the NCAA investigation can't chip away at Kelly's steely job security. He's been the seminal figure in Oregon's transformation from a nice program to a dominant one. Fingers will remain crossed, though, that he's done scratching the NFL itch for a while.

2012 Hot Seat Status
- No Pressure - Can Afford Two Bad Years
- No Real Worries. - Can Afford A Clunker
- Need To Win, Or The Pressure Is On
- Clunk In 2012, Worry In 2013
- The Pressure Cooker. The REAL Hot Seat 
- 2012 5-Year Plan Coaching Rankings