Even the COVID-19 pandemic failed to cool some hot seats in the college football world in 2020. In total, eight coaches were laid off during or after last season among Power 5’s 65 schools.
Who enters 2021 under pressure?
USC’s Clay Helton, Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente and Texas Tech’s Matt Wells are among those who will have to win to keep their jobs. But not all leaders are judged solely on the performance of their team.
Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards and Nebraska head coach Scott Frost are under fire due to NCAA investigations into their program, threatening their status regardless of how many games they win. Others face buying pressure, like Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, and may not have a chance to survive unless they significantly exceed expectations.
Before the start of the season, Sporting News compiled a list of Power 5 coaches whose jobs could be in jeopardy, based on problems on and off the field and who could be fired after this season. Here are our rankings below, ranked from most likely to be fired to least.
Problems in the field
1. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
- Record in Michigan: 49-22 (34-16 Big Ten)
- Michigan record in 71 games before Harbaugh: 39-32 (21-25 Big Ten)
- Heat index: Given Harbaugh’s new contract extension, the Wolverines are in a favorable position to buy it if they so choose. Harbaugh went from earning more than $ 8 million last season, the fourth-highest total in the nation, to $ 4 million this year, which is less than 10 Big Ten coaches. According to the Detroit Free Press, it would cost Michigan $ 4 million to buy Harbaugh after the first year of their new deal, and that figure would drop by $ 1 million each year until 2025, when it would cost them $ 0 to buy it. Michigan has lost four games in each of the past two seasons and is 2-12 against the top 10 teams and 0-5 against Ohio State with Harbaugh, something that will need to change for him to stay in charge.
2. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
- Record at Virginia Tech: (38-26, 25-17 ACC)
- Record at Virginia Tech in 64 games before Source: 38-26 (23-18 ACC)
- Heat index: Since posting 10-win, 9-win campaigns in his first two seasons, Fuente’s teams have posted a 19-18 record in the past four years, including a 14-12 mark in conference games. Last season, the Hokies finished 5-5 in league action, tied for sixth in the ACC Coastal division, and were under .500 for the second time in the past three years. According to 10News in Virginia, Fuente has a $ 10 million purchase at the end of this season, something the Hokies may have to explore if their team struggles again.
3. Matt Wells, Texas Tech
- Record at Texas Tech: 8-14 (5-13 12 large)
- Texas Tech record in 22 games before Wells: 8-14 (6-12 Big 12)
- Heat index: It’s hard to consider Wells in the hot seat given the Red Raiders have struggled to go back to their days under Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, but Texas Tech hasn’t had a winning season since 2015 and their athletic director, Kirby Hocutt, said “It’s time” for the show to take a step this season. The Red Raiders added offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie, who previously held the job at TCU, and Oregon second-year quarterback Tyler Shough, who was named the team’s starter this week. Texas Tech should have the pieces to improve, but if it doesn’t, Wells’s position could be in trouble.
4. Clay Helton, USC
- Record at USC: 45-23 (36-12 Pac-12)
- USC record in 68 games before Helton: 47-21 (29-18 Pac-10/12)
- Heat index: This seems like an annual discussion, but Helton needs to lead the Trojans to a great season in 2021. Even though USC won all five regular-season games last year and advanced to the Pac-12 championship game, he has much higher expectations. to fulfill as a program. The Trojans haven’t reached the Rose Bowl since 2016 and posted a combined 18-13 record over the past three seasons. By returning 41 players who have started at least one game, including quarterback Kedon Slovis, and not having Washington or Oregon on their schedule, USC should expect to make a playoff push.
5. Dino Babers, Syracuse
- Record in Syracuse: 24-36 (13-29 ACC)
- Syracuse record in 60 games before Babers: 26-34 (13-25 Big East / ACC)
- Heat index: Since a 10-win season in 2018, Babers and Orange have posted a combined 6-17 record in the past two seasons, including ACC’s worst 1-10 campaign last year with nine losses in league play. In 2020, Syracuse’s offense averaged just 17.1 points per game, ranking 118th out of 128 Division I teams, and 1.1 turnovers per game. According to Logan garvey For Fan Nation, Orange’s offense has also allowed 88 sacks in the past two seasons, making it difficult for its quarterbacks to stay healthy. Babers has a purchase that could exceed $ 17 million, according to Danny Emerman from The Daily Orange.
6. Chip Kelly, UCLA
- Record at UCLA: 10-21 (10-15 Pac-12)
- UCLA record in 31 games before Kelly: 13-18 (9-16 Pac-12)
- Heat indexUCLA made a notable improvement last season with Kelly as he was above .500 by one point for the first time in his tenure and lost all of his games by less than six points. The Bruins have 19 returning starters for 2021 and are expected to continue their development. However, if they don’t make a bowl game and have a fourth losing season in a row, Kelly’s position could be in jeopardy.
1. Scott Frost, Nebraska
- Record in Nebraska: 12-20 (9-17 Big Ten)
- Nebraska record in 32 games before Frost: 17-15 (12-12 Big Ten)
- Heat index: Frost’s winning percentage hasn’t been very good with the Cornhuskers, but his job status is under immediate question now that the NCAA is doing research the use of the analyst and consultant program during practices and games. Frost was also charged with allegedly conducting unauthorized training amid the COVID-19 pandemic last season, although it is unknown if those allegations are being investigated by the NCAA, according to Action Network’s Brett McMurphy.
2. Herm Edwards, Arizona State
- Arizona state registration: 17-13 (11-11 Pac-12)
- Arizona state record in 30 games before Edwards: 14-16 (10-13 Pac-12)
- Heat index: With all but two returning starters on both sides of soccer, Arizona State Coach Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils are expected to have their best season in their four-year tenure. But even if Edwards wins this season, ASU may not retain him. The Sun Devils are under investigation by the NCAA for alleged recruiting violations that occurred during the deadline, which has put tight ends coach Adam Breneman, wide receiver coach Prentice Gill and cornerback coach Chris Hawkins on paid administrative leave. . ASU’s recruiting class has suffered, one of its main safety prospects has recently been withdrawn, and Edwards could be pushed into retirement depending on the severity of the allegations.
3. Ed Oregeron, LSU
- Record at LSU: 45-14 (28-12 SEC)
- LSU record 59 games before Orgeron: 42-17 (23-15)
- Heat index: That? Yes, Orgeron, who led the Tigers to an undefeated season and the National College Football Playoff Championship just two years ago, could be in the hot seat. LSU hopes to bounce back from a 5-5 campaign in 2020, but it is also under the microscope of a Title IX lawsuit in which Orgeron has reportedly been added as a defendant by. It has also been accused to ignore an accusation of sexual harassment against former runner Derrius Guice. If the Tigers, who are ranked 16th in the AP Top 25, underperform again this season, Orgeron’s situation could be interesting. He has a purchase of more than $ 17.1 million after this year.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.