College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Rankings

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Frank Spaziani takes the top spot in the hot seat rankings.

<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Rankings</p>

Week 10 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Kentucky's Joker Phillips was fired after losing 40-0 to Vanderbilt on Saturday. Phillips became the first BCS coach fired this season and the second after Idaho parted ways with Robb Akey. Boston College's Frank Spaziani now claims the top spot in the hot seat ranks. Auburn's Gene Chizik, Tennessee's Derek Dooley and California's Jeff Tedford remain in the top five, while Iowa's Kirk Ferentz rejoins the rankings after a loss to Indiana.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Rankings

1. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Record at Boston College: 22-26 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-7
If there was really any doubt about Spaziani’s future at Boston College, those questions were answered on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles lost 28-14 at Wake Forest, ending any hopes they had of getting bowl eligible this season. Since leading Boston College to back-to-back bowl appearances in 2009-10, Spaziani is just 6-15 and will likely finish 2012 with a 2-10 record.

2. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank: 3
Record at Auburn: 32-17 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-7
Chizik got a much-needed victory on Saturday, as Auburn easily dispatched New Mexico State 42-7. Even though the Tigers were heavily favored, this team needed a confidence boost before the final three games of the season. Auburn has a chance to play spoiler this week, as rival Georgia comes to town with a chance to clinch the SEC East title with a victory. Barring a win in either of the Tigers’ last two conference games, it’s hard to envision Chizik getting another year in Auburn. Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace is someone the Tigers can build their offense around, but it’s probably too late for Chizik and this coaching staff to save their jobs.

3. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
4
Record at Tennessee: 15-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 4-5
Just like Gene Chizik, Dooley got a much-needed victory on Saturday. Of course, a 55-48 last-minute win over Troy didn’t exactly quiet the restlessness surrounding the program. Tennessee’s defense has been awful under new coordinator Sal Sunseri, ranking 112th nationally in yards allowed and 107th in scoring defense. With winnable games against Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, a 7-5 finish could be enough for Dooley to return for 2013. However, even if Dooley is brought back, the road to a winning season won’t be any easier. The defensive issues won’t be an easy fix, and quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson could leave early for the NFL.

4. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Record at California: 82-55 (11th season)
2012 Record: 3-7
A bad season got even worse for Tedford last week. Star receiver Keenan Allen suffered a knee injury on an onside kick against Utah and will likely miss the rest of the season. Not having Allen in the lineup against Washington hurt the Golden Bears’ offense, as well as an injury to starting quarterback Zach Maynard. With Friday night’s loss to Washington, California dropped to 3-7 and will miss out on a bowl game for the second time in three seasons. There’s no question Tedford is in serious jeopardy of not returning for 2013 and there’s a good chance the Golden Bears finish 3-9 with Oregon and Oregon State remaining on the schedule.

5. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at Southern Miss: 0-9
2012 Record: 0-9
Johnson is the only first-year coach to crack the top five of the hot seat watch over the last two years. Southern Miss jumped out to a 16-0 lead against UAB, but the Blazers rallied for a 27-19 victory. The Golden Eagles are 0-9 and have already set the record for the most losses in school history. It’s rare to see a first-year coach in danger of losing his job, but Johnson has done very little to suggest he deserves a second season in Hattiesburg.

6. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at New Mexico State: 10-37 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-7
As expected, New Mexico State’s trip to Auburn wasn’t pretty. The Aggies were demolished 42-7 by the Tigers, which was the eighth consecutive defeat for New Mexico State. Walker has never won more than four games in his tenure in Las Cruces and could finish with a 1-11 record this year. Considering New Mexico State’s uncertain conference situation, it will be very difficult to attract coaching candidates. However, it’s clear Walker is struggling to make any progress after four years.

7. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Central Michigan: 9-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
The 2012 season has been one of missed opportunities for Enos and Central Michigan. The Chippewas beat Iowa on the road and had a chance to make a run at a bowl game if they could have won the final four contests. However, Central Michigan was defeated 42-31 by rival Western Michigan on Saturday, dropping the Chippewas' record to 3-6. The remaining schedule is favorable – Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and UMass – but it’s hard to count on any consistency from this team. Enos has recorded only three wins in each of his three years in Mount Pleasant and that’s simply not enough to keep his job for 2013.

8. Danny Hope, Purdue
Last Week’s Rank: 16
Record at Purdue: 19-27 (4th season)
2012 Record: 3-6
Barring a three-game winning streak to close out the 2012 season, Hope is unlikely to return to West Lafayette for 2013. The Boilermakers have failed to build on the momentum from the end of 2011 and have lost five consecutive games. Hope is just 10-19 in four years in Big Ten play and there are no guaranteed wins with Iowa, Illinois and Indiana remaining on the schedule. Hope recorded a 35-22 mark during his tenure at Eastern Kentucky, but has never been able to build a consistent winner at Purdue.

9. Mike Price, UTEP
Last Week’s Rank: 13
Record at UTEP: 47-59 (8 years)
2012 Record: 2-7
The Miners were off in Week 10 and return to action against UCF this Saturday. UTEP has managed only two victories this season (New Mexico State and Tulane) and has lost four conference games by at least 10 points. Price started off his tenure in El Paso with an 8-4 record in 2005 but has not won more than six games in season over the last seven. UTEP could be favored to beat Southern Miss and Rice at the end of the year but that's probably not enough for Price to return in 2013.

10. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 7
Record at Buffalo: 7-26 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-7
Quinn drops three spots in the hot seat watch after a 27-24 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday. The win over the RedHawks was Buffalo’s first conference victory this season and snapped a six-game losing streak. A key reason in the upset win was the play of running back Branden Oliver, who has returned from an early season knee injury to rush for 300 yards over the last two weeks. With winnable games against Western Michigan and UMass the next two weeks, Buffalo has a chance to surpass last season’s win total (3).

11. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Record at Rice: 27-44 (6th season)
2012 Record: 4-6
After a 1-5 start, Bailiff is making a late run to save his job for 2013. Rice has won three out of its last four games, including a 49-47 shootout victory at Tulane on Saturday. Although wins against UTSA, Southern Miss and Tulane are nothing special, the Owls have a chance to get bowl eligible if they can beat SMU and UTEP in their final two games. If Bailiff can go 5-7 or 6-6, he should be back for another year. However, if Rice loses both games, a new coach will likely be on the sidelines next season.

12. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Record at UNLV: 6-29 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-8
As the hot seat watch has mentioned throughout this year, UNLV is showing signs of improvement in Hauck’s third season. The Rebels took Minnesota to overtime in the opener and lost to Washington State by eight points. UNLV has conference wins over Air Force and New Mexico, along with a five-point loss to Nevada. The Rebels have never won more than two games under Hauck, so the next three games of the season are more opportunities to show the program is headed in the right direction. Matchups against Colorado State, Wyoming and Hawaii are winnable, which should be enough for Hauck to return for 2013.

13. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
Last Week’s Rank: 14
Record at Connecticut: 8-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
A promising start has quickly eroded into a disaster for Connecticut. The Huskies opened 2-1 with a solid road victory over Maryland. However, it’s been all downhill since. Connecticut has only one win in its last five games – a 24-17 victory over 2-7 Buffalo. Dating back to last season, the Huskies have lost five consecutive Big East games and still have to play Pittsburgh, Louisville and Cincinnati this season. Connecticut will probably give Pasqualoni one more season to turn things around. However, there’s very little to suggest the veteran coach deserves another year in Storrs.

14. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 17
Record at Colorado: 4-18 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-8
The season finale against Utah can’t get here soon enough for Colorado. The Buffaloes were soundly defeated by Stanford 48-0 on Saturday. The loss dropped Embree to 4-18 overall and the last three Pac-12 losses have come by at least 40 points. Although Colorado is committed to giving Embree more help next season, the second-year coach hasn’t shown much to suggest he deserves more time. The Buffaloes have been largely uncompetitive for two seasons and rank statistically as one of the worst teams in the nation.

15. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at South Florida: 16-18 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
The Bulls snapped a six-game losing streak in Big East play with a 13-6 win over Connecticut on Saturday. However, the victory was costly, as quarterback B.J. Daniels was lost for the year with a leg injury. Although the Bulls are just 3-6 and played a bad Connecticut team, beating the Huskies was a much-needed confidence-booster for this team. With Miami, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh remaining on the schedule, South Florida will need to play its best game to have a shot to win any of those three contests. Holtz’s huge contract extension may keep him around another year but finishing with a 3-9 record would only increase the calls for his job at the end of the season.

16. Tom O'Brien, NC State
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at NC State: 38-34 (6 years)
2012 Record: 5-4
Thanks to an inexplicable 33-6 loss to Virginia on Saturday, O’Brien makes his first appearance in the hot seat watch. Considering the talent O’Brien had coming back to Raleigh this year, there’s really no excuse for this team to lose to Virginia at home. And the grumblings within the fan base have only gotten louder over the last two weeks, especially after a loss to North Carolina on a late punt return for a touchdown. With Wake Forest, Clemson and Boston College the final three games on the NC State schedule, the Wolfpack should finish 7-5. If O’Brien can lead this team to that record, it would be the first time since 2000-02 that NC State had at least seven wins in three consecutive seasons. Although O’Brien’s record isn’t bad (38-34), there is plenty of doubt about his future.

17. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at Western Michigan: 51-45 (8th season)
2012 Record: 4-6
The Broncos haven’t had much luck this season, but they scored a key win on Saturday, defeating rival Central Michigan 42-31. The victory over the Chippewas gave Western Michigan a two-game winning streak in the series, which is its first since 2002-03. The Broncos finish the year with Buffalo and Eastern Michigan, two games that are very winnable and could be enough to land another bowl appearance. Cubit’s teams at Western Michigan have underachieved but losing quarterback Alex Carder in late September was a difficult setback for this team.

18. Mack Brown, Texas
Last Week’s Rank: 18
Record at Texas: 148-41 (15th season)
2012 Record: 7-2
After a disappointing performance against Kansas, Saturday’s 31-22 victory over Texas Tech was a critical win for Brown. Although he’s not really in any danger of losing his job, Brown needed a solid victory to help bolster this team's hopes for a late run at 10 wins. The Longhorns take on Iowa State and TCU in Austin for their next two games, before finishing the season at Kansas State. Although Brown is taking a lot of heat for this team not contending for a Big 12 title, finishing with a 9-3 or 10-2 record is a step in the right direction.

19. June Jones, SMU
Last Week’s Rank: 20
Record at SMU: 28-33 (5th season)
2012 Record: 4-5
The Mustangs had their two-game winning streak snapped with a 42-17 loss against UCF in Week 10. SMU’s three wins in Conference USA play have come against UTEP, Houston and Memphis – not exactly the most difficult of opponents. However, the Mustangs could still get bowl eligible, especially with Southern Miss visiting Dallas this Saturday and a trip to Rice on Nov. 17. Jones has led SMU to three consecutive bowl games but he hasn’t improved the program to the level some expected. Don’t be surprised if the veteran coach takes a look at potential openings around the nation this offseason.

20. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Iowa: 100-72 (14 seasons)
2012 Record: 4-5
Ferentz has done a lot of good things at Iowa, but the program seems to be trending in the wrong direction. The Hawkeyes have watched their win total decline since posting 11 victories in 2009 and could miss out on a bowl game this year. Iowa lost 24-21 to Indiana on Saturday, its first defeat to the Hoosiers since 2007. Ferentz received a huge contract extension after the 2009 season, which won’t make it easy for Iowa to make a coaching change. Even if the Hawkeyes lose their final three games of the season, Ferentz won’t be fired. However, 19-16 record over the last three years isn’t sitting well with the fan base.
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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