With the halfway point of the college football season quickly approaching, it’s that time of year again where we start questioning the coaches and feel the temperature rising under their chairs. A handful of big named coaches are already on our unofficial hot seat list, including LSU’s Les Miles, Michigan’s Brady Hoke, Florida’s Will Muschamp, Illinois’ Tim Beckman and Miami’s Al Golden. This list no longer includes Charlie Weis who was canned by Kansas earlier this season.
Les Miles headlines this list as the lone winner of a national championship title, along with his two SEC Championship titles. His Tigers have already lost two games and have not been consistent in any game this year despite their opening night win at home against Wisconsin. LSU’s schedule doesn’t get any easier with three of their next six games coming against top fifteen teams. Luckily for Miles and the Tigers, their two toughest games left on the schedule, No.3 Ole Miss and No. 7 Alabama, will be played at home in Baton Rouge where the Tigers rarely lose. Fans wonder whether or not things have gotten stale, and if it’s time for the Tigers and Miles to part ways.
Brady Hoke is the most likely target to be fired after this season and he may not even make it to December. Since joining the Wolverines in 2011, Hoke has led them to a record of 28-17. Hoke’s first season sent shockwaves through the college football world ending with a Sugar Bowl victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies. Since Hoke’s first season with the Wolverines, he is 17-15 and has a 2-4 record this season.
Michigan will be in the spotlight this Saturday when they host Penn State. The Wolverines still have two tough games left on their schedule, next week at Michigan State and ending the season at Ohio State. Hoke can not expect to keep his job while losing six games, so he has to make a statement in either East Lansing or in Columbus this season. Losing to Ohio State for a third straight time would surely be the end of the Brady Hoke era in Ann Arbor.
Muschamp, Beckman, and Golden round out the rest of the coaches on our hot seat list this season. Their teams are a combined 9-7. Out of those wins, Florida’s 3OT win over Kentucky is the most impressive. That should tell you something about the state of these programs. Aside from Beckman, Golden and Muschamp can find refuge behind the “the injury bug hit us hard last year and it’s back again” curtain, but that’s not a permanent solution and the hammer still hangs above their heads.
This weekend the Gators and Illini are both playing elite opponents. The Gators will host LSU in Gainesville, while the Illini will travel to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. Wins in these games for both coaches would relieve some of the unwanted stress.
As this college football season continues, coaches will continuously be put on and off the hot seat, but one certainty remains: the only way to weather the storm is to win.
*Section Photo credit to Wilfredo Lee, AP Photo: Featured Photo (above) credit to Jerry Lai, USA Today Sports