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Coaching Hot Seat Rankings - Pac 10
Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson
Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson
Posted Apr 5, 2010

Which coaches are on the hottest seats? Beyond just the idea of a coach possibly being fired for not winning, the rankings are also based on who's under the most pressure. Ranking all the Pac 10 coaches and how much pressure they're under.

2010 Spring Preview
Coaching Hot Seats - Pac 10

2010 Spring Preview 
- No. 20 Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 1-10) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 11-20) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 21-30) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 31-40) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 41-50)  
- No. 19 Is this it for the Big 12? 
- No. 18 Just how close the Big East has come to a BCS title?
- No. 17 Did ACC expansion work?
- No. 16 Why does the Pac 10 need USC to be good?
- No. 15 Just how hot is the Big Ten for expansion? 
- No. 14 Does the SEC title = BCS title? 
- No. 13 What's going to make you grouchy? 
- No. 12 The new superstars 
- No. 11 Ranking all 120 coaches and their hot seat status 

- ACC CoachesBig East Coaches | Big Ten Coaches | Big East Coaches
- Big 12 Coaches | C-USA Coaches | Ind CoachesMAC Coaches | M-West Coaches
- Pac 10 Coaches | SEC Coaches | Sun Belt Coaches | WAC Coaches 

By Pete Fiutak  

A hot seat isn't always what the media makes it out to be. When a coach is on the proverbial hot seat, usually it means he needs to win now or he'll be fired, but it could also mean a lot more. It could mean a coach needs to start winning because he's under pressure (Mark Richt), but isn't under real threat of being fired. It could mean he's winning, but is in an impossible situation and can't afford a slip (Jim Tressel after last year's loss to Purdue). Or it could mean he needs to win big just because he does (Urban Meyer).

So keeping in mind that for this, Hot Seat doesn't necessarily mean win-or-get-fired and it's more about who's under a lot of pressure (and yeah, in some cases it is a win-or-else situation), here's the ranking of the all 120 coaches and where they fit in on the warm butt scale.

Ranked from highest to lowest on the pressure scale

Lane Kiffin, USC
Being on the hot seat doesn’t necessarily mean a coach will be fired without a good year. No one has more pressure on his shoulders than Kiffin after the way he bolted from Tennessee and considering he’s following a legend in Pete Carroll. Just being good at USC is a failure, and there will be no grace period whatsoever even after the team’s disappointing 2009.
Status: USC could’ve had almost any coach it wanted. Kiffin had better be worth it.

Paul Wulff, Washington State
There was a time not all that long ago when Washington State was a Pac 10 power. At least the offense was fantastic and a cradle of college quarterbacks, even in the lean times. Under Wulff, the Cougars have been all-timer bad on both sides of the ball.
Status: He’ll get this year to show a sign of life, but there isn’t much hope for a Rose Bowl any time soon.

Dennis Erickson, Arizona State
Name the current FBS coaches with two national titles. Joe Paterno, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, and Erickson, but you’d hardly call the Arizona State head man a living legend. Even with a great 10-3 start, his teams haven’t blocked anyone as the Sun Devils have suffered two straight losing seasons.
Status: Arizona State has been a mega-disappointment over the last several years as excellent offensive minds like Erickson and Dirk Koetter have tried and failed to make the program a superpower since Bruce Snyder’s departure. Erickson could survive one more losing season, but there had better be hope on the horizon.

Mike Stoops, Arizona
Desert Swarm it hasn’t been as Stoops needed four years to get to a bowl game. Two straight 8-5 seasons saved his job, but one more losing season might be enough to force the program to make a change.
Status: The hope was that Arizona football would be a lot stronger after six years under Stoops. He doesn’t have to win the Pac 10 title this year, but he needs to make it seem like a championship is just around the corner.

Rick Neuheisel, UCLA
Neuheisel has a brilliant offensive mind and Norm Chow is generally acknowledged as one of the best offensive coordinators in college football. So why is UCLA so bad offensively? Two eighth place finishes in the Pac 10 and a win in the EagleBank Bowl isn’t what the Bruins signed on for.
Status: Everyone understood that a rebuilding job needed to be done, and after a few great recruiting classes the building blocks are being set. He’ll get at least two years to make UCLA good again.

Jeff Tedford, California
It might not sound right, but yes, Tedford is the dean of Pac 10 head coaches. He took a mediocre program and made it relevant, but at some point a corner has to be turned with only one ten-win season in the last five.
Status: Fine, he’s the one who resurrected Cal football, but it would be nice if there was one monster season and a Rose Bowl appearance.

Chip Kelly, Oregon
The way he handled the adversity of the 2009 season and still got the team to the Rose Bowl was masterful. As if LeGarrette Blount wasn’t enough, now Kelly has to deal with all the problems with his offensive backfield and a new quarterback. On the field, he’s considered a budding superstar.
Status: The only potential problem could be the dreaded “lack of institutional control” tag if there are more embarrassments. However, if he’s ever let go he’ll be snapped up in five minutes.

Mike Riley, Oregon State
There might not be a more respected head coach in the conference. It’s an overstatement to say he does more with less than any other Pac 10 coach, but he does more with less than any other Pac 10 coach. Under his watch, since returning as the head man in 2003, OSU has had six winning seasons in the last seven and came within losses to Oregon in each of the last two years of going to the Rose Bowl.
Status: While his name keeps getting thrown around for other jobs, he’s becoming a bit of a superstar in Corvallis with the success he has had.

Steve Sarkisian, Washington
Considering the team went into the tank last year, Sarkisian’s stock is sky-high. The potential is there for the program to grow into something big with a little bit of time to work with the win over USC last year just the beginning.
Status: The key will be the development of Jake Locker. If he turns into a No. 1 draft pick type of player like many think he can be, then Sarkisian will get a lot of the credit and the reputation will be boosted that much more.

Jim Harbaugh, Stanford
He might be goofy and he might be a bit nutty, but after going 29-6 at San Diego, including two straight 11-1 seasons, he came to Stanford and beat USC twice in three years, upgraded the talent level, and almost got Toby Gerhart the Heisman.
Status: College coaches aren’t getting a sniff of NFL head coaching jobs anymore, but Harbaugh is the one major exception. Burned bridges or not, he might be on the short list for Michigan if/when the job opens, but he’s destined for a monster payday at the next level.