Three coaches already on the college football hot seat

As college football enters week four, teams are building and burning their reputations. This era of college football is about winning now. When coaches don’t win, they get moved out. With only three games into the season, let’s open up a discussion about head coaches that need to get their ships turned around. If they don’t, they will likely be faced with unemployment (or worse, working as a color analyst for a directional network).

TSS associate editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join staff writer Kevin Causey in our weekly roundtable to discuss the coaching hot seat.

Before you read our roundtable make sure to bookmark our college football page where you can find all of our CFB articles.

Question: What coach is on the hot seat based on the team’s performance right now, and what does he need to do to save his job?

Bart Doan:
On Twitter @TheCoachBart

Annual disclaimer: hate “hot seat” talk, because coaches are people and more importantly, yeah, the head coach will ultimately be fine: he’s getting paid enough. When a coach gets asked to clean out his office, however, so many other guys not capable of simply picking up and moving on lose their jobs too. Talking about people losing their jobs isn’t fun, though it is a staple of this sort of writing I guess.

I prefer to term it as: coaches that need to do better, and they know it, and I point to Darrell Hazell at Purdue. Hazell has done it mostly the right way in terms of job-keeping longevity … tearing it down to the bare bones and being really awful for one year and then building from there.

The problem is that major issues that should be sorted out continue to plague the program, specifically, the one under center.Hazell once again has made a quarterback switch this week to David Blough (an annual Purdue fall football tradition it seems) because of the consistent inability to get that position to be even mediocre. It’s hard to win in college football without consistently at least average quarterback play. The defense still isn’t very good, and the Boilermakers don’t look close. You can win at Purdue, too, and the more they lose, the more the fan base and people with deep pockets won’t like putting up with it.

Kevin Causey:
On Twitter @CFBZ

Earlier this week, Matt explored some thoughts on Steve Spurrier.

I don’t think Spurrier is on a “hot seat” per se. However, I do feel it’s his time to step aside. If he doesn’t step aside then South Carolina may have to make a really difficult decision at the end of the season.

Spurrier has been fantastic for South Carolina. He’s done everything they hoped he would when they brought him in. That being said, the window has closed. The Gamecocks were on an uptick from 2010-2013. They peaked in 2013. In 2014, they started the downward journey.

After three games, the Gamecocks sit at 1-2 and have given up the most points in the conference. Spurrier doesn’t have weapons on offense and he doesn’t have the answers on defense. For the good of his reputation and for the good of his legacy. It’s time for Spurrier to say good by (at the end of the season) before South Carolina has to make a decision that may set them back further.

To answer the question…if Spurrier wants to get his season turned around he has to hope Lorenzo Nunez balls out of this world and his defensive coordinators find a clue. I don’t see both of those things happening.

Terry Johnson:
On Twitter @SectionTPJ 


While the other two coaches on this list are in precarious situations, Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads is the one that’s in the most trouble.

Make no mistake about it: the past few seasons have not been pretty for the Cyclones. After qualifying for a bowl in 2012 (even though it finished 9th in the league), Iowa State’s program has gone straight down hill. In 2013, the Cyclones limped to a 3-9 record, which included a loss to Northern Iowa. The following season was an even bigger disaster, as ISU went 0-9 in conference play and 2-10 overall.


If that doesn’t sound bad enough, consider this: in the past two years the Cyclones had as many losses to FCS opponents as it did conference wins.


This year looks like more of the same. With losses against Iowa and Toledo, another 10-loss season seems very likely. Aside from Kansas, there aren’t very many winnable games on the schedule, as the rest of the league has posted a 20-2 mark in non-conference play. Even with an upset, its tough to see the Cyclones finishing any higher than seventh in the league.


Of course, if Iowa State did end up seventh, it would match the team’s best finish in conference play since the Big 12 dropped the divisional format in 2011.

That’s not going to cut it in Ames. Remember, Dan McCarney was let go after a 4-8 season in 2006, after leading the team to five bowl games in seven years. Considering that the Cyclones have a grand total of one winning season during Rhoads’ tenure, it might be time to dust off the resume.

Just don’t go to George O’Leary for advice.

All joking aside, the only way for Rhoads to keep his job would be to post four or five wins in Big 12 play. While that would still mean another losing record, it would show the ISU brass that the program is heading in the right direction. After all, four conference wins would equal the Cyclones’ highest win total since 2005.