2012 Coaching Hot Seat - The REAL Hot Seat
Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville
Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville
Posted Apr 4, 2012

The CFN 2012 Coaching Hot Seat Analysis - Those who are under the most pressure. The real hot seat.

2012 Coaching Hot Seat

The REAL Hot Seat

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Coaching Analysis & Breakdowns By Conference
ACC | Big East | Big 12 | Big Ten | C-USA | Ind
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- No. 1 to 23
- No. 24 to 51
- No. 52 to 77
- No. 78 to 96
- No. 97 to 124 
- 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 in more of a pressure cooker than most. Many of them aren't in any danger whatsoever of being fired, but the expectations are going to be unrealistic in some cases, suffocating in others.

97. Jeff Tedford, Cal
Tedford is clearly in trouble and could be the most vulnerable Pac-12 head coach entering the 2012 season. His team — and his results — have become stagnant, making a turnaround an absolute necessity. Eight wins might be necessary to avoid getting the pink slip.

98. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
Rodriguez has a clean slate in Tucson and a chance to carve out a new legacy. Arizona was hardly trigger-happy with former coach Mike Stoops, so RichRod ought to feel comfortable about his timetable for turning the Wildcats into contenders.

99. Jim Mora, UCLA
Athletic director Dan Guerrero has put his full faith in Mora and doesn’t figure to waffle anytime soon. He’ll be given the necessary space to clean up the mess created by Rick Neuheisel while getting the Bruins back into Pac-12 contention.

100. Tim Beckman, Illinois
Considering what he did at Toledo the past few years, this is a good stepping-stone job. If he has any success whatsoever, he’ll have to get out in a hurry or risk beating his head against the Urban Meyer/Ohio State wall for the next decade. Beckman doesn’t have to win Big Ten titles for the Illini fan base to be happy, but he has to make the team interesting and relevant. And he has to do it right away.

101. Jim McElwain, Colorado State
It’s on. Colorado State is desperate for a winner again and it’s paying the price in hopes that McElwain can be the right fit. With a base salary of $1.3 million and the chance to make enough to boost the overall package closer to $1.5 million, he won’t get too much of a grace period.

102. Mike Riley, Oregon State
Everyone would be happy if the Beavers just get back to winning seven or eight games, ending any speculation about Riley’s future. No one in Corvallis wants to be the guy to can him, but a third consecutive losing season would complicate matters.

103. Dave Clawson, Bowling Green
Bowling Green doesn’t ask for much. Clawson doesn’t have to come up with Mid-American Conference titles, but the Falcons have to be in the hunt. This isn’t exactly a make-or-break year, but he’ll be in trouble if it’s a clunker. On the flip side, one huge year will make him a hot name.

104. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Kelly somehow kept his job through the Declan Sullivan and Elizabeth Seeberg tragedies, but he might not have as much luck if he continues to crank out unremarkable seasons. Charlie Weis was given a few big breaks, and Kelly might be allowed one bad year considering there are signs that he’s doing a great job of building up the talent level to where it needs to be.

105. Mack Brown, Texas
He’s never going to be fired, but another mediocre year isn’t going to cut it. There’s no excuse to be this mediocre with the talent level across the board. On straight four-and five-star prospects, few can match the hauls that Brown has brought in, making the 13-12 record the past two years stunning. It’s time to get back into the national title chase again and if he can’t do it, Texas will eventually bring in a coach who can.

106. Danny Hope, Purdue
It’s coming close to make-or-break time. Finally getting a winning season was nice, but the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl isn’t exactly the goal everyone is shooting for. Everyone around the program wants Hope to succeed, and he’ll be given several chances, but it has been a long time since the Boilermakers were players in the Big Ten race. Hope has to show this year that the potential for big things is coming.

107. Mike Price, UTEP
Price has been fortunate to be cashing UTEP paychecks for the past couple of miserable seasons. If he can’t turn things around in 2012 and have the Miners in the West Division hunt, it will be the end of a long and very, very interesting career.

108. Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
Stockstill can survive another bad year, but four wins or fewer will put him directly on the hot seat in 2013. A 5-7 bounce-back season should keep him around for a while; he’s a good coach who had one bad season.

109. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
The Huskies strung together four straight eight-win seasons before Pasqualoni came onto the scene in 2011, so expectations are high in Storrs. If the coach remains stuck in neutral, he’ll put himself in a do-or-die situation entering 2013.

110. Todd Graham, Arizona State
Graham has already lost one crucial ally now that the person who hired him, AD Lisa Love, has been sacked. Her successor, Steve Patterson, expects to compete for Pac-12 titles, so he’ll hold a short leash. The length of Graham’s honeymoon in the desert will depend on how quickly he gets out of the blocks in 2012 and 2013.

111. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Here’s the problem: it's national titles, plural, or bust. He’s Urban Meyer and this is Ohio State. The Ohio State head coach is supposed to win national titles and beat Michigan – not necessarily in that order - on a regular basis, and Meyer is expected to do the impossible and improve upon the Jim Tressel era. With this coach and this program, going 10-2 and winning the Fiesta Bowl won’t be good enough. There’s obviously no hot seat, but no coach in America will have more pressure to win and win big than Meyer will in 2013 once Ohio State is eligible to go bowling again. It might seem unfair and unreasonable, but considering what Nick Saban has done at Alabama, the Meyer era probably won’t be seen as a success if it ends with only one national title. Again, you don’t hire Urban Meyer if you’re Ohio State and not reasonably hope to play in the BCS championship every year.

112. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Central Michigan isn’t exactly Ohio State when it comes to expectations, but considering this was the MAC’s power program and went 12-2 in 2009, 6-18 in two seasons isn’t going to cut it. Enos doesn’t have to win a MAC title, but he needs to come up with a positive season and signs that things are moving forward. Central Michigan has to look like there’s a chance of being special again.

113. Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe
He needs to win this year. He can survive one more losing season, but it can’t be a disaster and there has to be a little bit of hope. A losing season, though, would make 2013 a make-or-break season before Berry possibly goes back to being a strong offensive coordinator.

114. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
The first two years on Rocky Top could be glossed over and explained away as a time to rebuild, but it’s not as if he turned Louisiana Tech into a player in his three seasons. Granted, he set the foundation for the Bulldogs, but he went just 17-20 in Ruston and 12-12 in Western Athletic Conference play. He doesn’t have to win the SEC East this year, but there has to be a major sign of improvement.

115. Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina
With the taste of league titles still on their lips, the Pirates won’t tolerate losing seasons much longer. Maybe it’s not do-or-die quite yet, but McNeill is facing the challenge of breaking through in a year in which he has to replace playmaking QB Dominique Davis.

116. Robb Akey, Idaho
Considering the program was rudely jilted by short-timers Dennis Erickson and Nick Holt, Akey’s loyalty and energy have been just enough to provide hope for an eventual turnaround. However, this is his sixth year at the helm and he won’t be able to survive another clunker of a season.

117. Will Muschamp, Florida
Ron Zook went 8-5, 8-5, and 7-4 at Florida, but never 7-6, as Muschamp did last season. Winning games isn’t enough at Florida. This is a program that’s used to being in the SEC title chase and national championship hunt every year. If Muschamp doesn’t come up with a big step forward, 2013 will be a make-or-break season.

118. David Bailiff, Rice
Change is in the air at Rice. It might be a very difficult place to win at, but a fourth losing season in a row is likely to entice the administration to move in a new direction at the top of the org chart.

119. Charlie Weis, Kansas
Things are so down after Turner Gill that Weis will get at least two years of leeway before he has to come up with a big year. However, after what Mark Mangino showed could be done with the program and the offense, Weis will have pressure to create an offense that will make the Jayhawks interesting.

120. David Cutcliffe, Duke
The hot seat is getting warmer, though Duke won’t do much better than Cutcliffe. That said, with Year 5 up next, he has to get the Devils to the postseason soon or the administration might have no choice.

121. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Win or else. Spaziani barely held on to his job at the conclusion of 2011 but won’t be so fortunate if the Eagles flail again on the field this fall.

122. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
A major rebuilding job needs to be done. The Rebels need more time and some decent recruiting classes, but the record has been too poor. If this doesn’t work, he’s going to be someone’s defensive coordinator, the reputation will be built back up and he’ll get another chance somewhere.

123. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Edsall is already on probation in College Park, with his detractors preparing for a revolt if the situation worsens. If things unravel any further, he’ll be scooped up by another school in about five minutes.

124. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Tuberville is a winner and he’s a good head football coach, but he might not get the time needed to turn Texas Tech around. Worse yet, he’s not going to be able to put his own stamp on the program, still living in the shadow of Mike Leach. The next coach will have the buffer factor of being the coach who comes after the popular coach, while Tuberville will probably be better as a Frank Solich type who would rock at a lower-level program. However, he can change things around in a big hurry with one good year. A 7-5 record keeps him around, but 8-4 would be better.

2012 Hot Seat Status

- No. 1 to 23
- No. 24 to 51
- No. 52 to 77
- No. 78 to 96
- No. 97 to 124 
- 2012 5-Year Plan Coaching Rankings