2012 Coaching Hot Seat - Win Now Or Worry
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini
Posted Apr 4, 2012

The CFN 2012 Coaching Hot Seat Analysis - Those who have to win now or worry about 2013.

2012 Coaching Hot Seat

Can't Clunk In 2012

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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.

Most of these coaches probably won't be around if they have a disastrous 2012. At the very least, a bad year will put them on a flaming hot seat in 2013.
However, a few, such as Bo Pelini and Jimbo Fisher, are more than safe, but question marks will start to come up if they can't take a step forward.

78. Don Treadwell, Miami University
There isn't a ton of pressure on his shoulders going into the season, but 2013 could be a problem if he goes 4-8 again. Everything is in place to make a quick turnaround, and he's a good coaching prospect who should get time to make the RedHawks strong again.

79. Mike MacIntyre, San Jose State
Going 5-7 at San Jose State is like 8-4 at most other schools. Call him the Western Athletic Conference's X factor with the next two years about to show if he can do what Dick Tomey was able to pull off a few years ago. It's possible to win at San Jose State, but the conditions have to be perfect. MacIntyre is safe for the next few years no matter what happens this season.

80. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
It It would have been interesting to see what he could have done had he won the UCLA job instead of Rick Neuheisel, but he hasn't made huge strides yet in Las Cruces. A 9-29 record isn't good, especially since none of the nine wins came against a team that finished with a winning record, five wins came against teams that finished with two wins or fewer and one came against Prairie View A&M. In the new, easier WAC, he might need to come up with six wins to get a fifth year.

81. Matt Campbell, Toledo
The expectations are going to be high from the start. Toledo isn't settling for mediocrity anymore. After two years of bowls and success under Tim Beckman, and with a strong team returning, Campbell needs to come up with a winning season

82. Bo Pelini, Nebraska
Is Pelini Is Pelini the Point B to Point C guy? Yeah, he had success in his three years in the Big 12, but he never won the conference title. To be fair, it took a bomb of a field goal to beat Nebraska in the 2009 title game, but still, it has been a while since the program was a major factor in the BCS title chase. He's not on a hot seat, but this could be a big year to see if the team is on the right track.

83. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Kentucky football is Kentucky football and it would take a minor miracle and/or a quirky system to hold up against all the power programs. Getting five wins out of a team that finished 118th in the nation in total offense was impressive, but he has to find a way to go bowling on a consistent basis.

84. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
The Seminoles have their man, but Fisher is in no position to get complacent. His 2011 team was a big disappointment, playing in the Champs Sports Bowl in a year that talk of a national championship run swirled in the air. There will be increased hand-wringing if he doesn't win the ACC in 2012.

85. Rich Ellerson, Army
Army went to only one bowl game from 1989-2009. Ellerson needed only two seasons to get the Knights to a postseason game, and a win. His style will work, and although Army will never get the top players needed to beat the most decent FBS teams, the formula should be good enough to get the program to bowl games.

86. Norm Chow, Hawaii
He's fine for right now. He can have one bad year to start, but the offense had better rock. At his age, there's a small window on what kind of a stamp he can put on the program, and he has to produce.

87. Jon Embree, Colorado
No one inside the school anticipated an overnight turnaround for the Buffs. Embree will be afforded the time he needs to lay a foundation. If after three years, though, Colorado is still struggling to escape the cellar, a new course of action could begin being formulated by the administration.

88. Kyle Flood, Rutgers
The Knights were looking for the most seamless transition from Greg Schiano, and got it in Flood. Although the administration will be flexible with its grace period, a 6-6 record is no longer the bar in Piscataway. Flood is uniquely positioned to jump-start his career, and make a name for himself.

89. Rocky Long, San Diego State
It's a bit tenuous. San Diego State isn't used to consistent success – hello, Chuck Long – but it's not going to stand for a big slip after the fun of the past few seasons. Long is a bit of a stopgap. Although the Aztecs are going to be fine under his watch, with a move to the Big East coming, a bad year could mean a move to a hotter, higher profile head man.

90. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Popular head coach Jeff Bower was relieved of his duties five years ago for perennially winning seven games, so the bar will be set relatively high for Johnson. He'll get a one-year grace period , especially with the graduation of QB Austin Davis, but will need to be back in title contention by 2013.

91. Tom O'Brien, NC State
Lukewarm. Although the Wolfpack have played better of late, it wasn't that long ago that O'Brien's buns were getting toasty. There are expectations this year for an improved team, and there could be big problems if he doesn't come up with a winning season.

92. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Will he get the time? Ole Miss hasn't exactly been patient during the past several coaching tenures. To do this right, and to have any chance of making a dent in the toughest division in the toughest conference in college football, Freeze will need at least one full recruiting class to mature. In the old days a new coach would get a five-year plan to rebuild, and any coach at Ole Miss might need that long.

93. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
He can probably survive one more bad season, but that would make 2013 a win-or-go-home campaign. He's going to be only 50 this season and he could have a long, successful career as someone's offensive coordinator or position coach. But this was supposed to be a stepping-stone job, and it hasn't exactly worked out that way.

94. Mark Richt, Georgia
No high-profile head coach was on a hotter seat going into last year, even more so after an 0-2 start. Then the schedule got easy and the Bulldogs beat everyone they were supposed to, and now Richt has a five-year extension. However, one more clunker year and there will be plenty of talk about a buyout, especially if the off-the-field problems keep on happening. However, if and when the 52-year-old gets canned, he'll be snapped up in a heartbeat.

95. Gus Malzahn, Arkansas State
Hot seat isn't quite the right way to put it. Instead, he'll have more pressure than a coach of his stature should have at a program like Arkansas State. Freeze came up with an outstanding season, and Malzahn is supposed to keep the success going. Anything less than another Sun Belt title will be a major disappointment.

96. Darrell Hazell, Kent State
Close doesn't really count at Kent State anymore. The program has been starving for a winner and is desperate to create a buzz around the program. The Golden Flashes went 5-7 in the two years before Hazell took over. He can afford a few rough years, but there has to be hope on the horizon.

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