College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Rankings

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California's Jeff Tedford ranks in the top 10 of this week's coaches on the hot seat.

<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Rankings</p>

Week 2 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 and Boston College's Frank Spaziani won last Saturday, but both coaches rank as the top two on the hot seat going into Week 3. Auburn's Gene Chizik and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz are ranked for the first time in 2012, while Arkansas' John L. Smith makes an appearance after the Hogs' stunning overtime home loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank: 1
Record at Kentucky: 12-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Despite earning his first win of 2012, Phillips maintains the No. 1 ranking in Athlon’s coaches on the hot seat. The Wildcats fell behind 7-0 to Kent State but scored 17 unanswered in the first half to claim a 47-14 victory. Kentucky’s offense has shown some signs of life through two weeks, averaging 30.5 points and 456 yards per game. The next couple of games represent a crucial stretch in Phillips’ tenure, as the Wildcats host in-state foe Western Kentucky on Saturday and travel to Florida the following week. Kentucky can’t afford to lose to the Hilltoppers, while it’s also important for this team to show some progress against SEC competition.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank: 2
Record at Boston College: 21-20 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Just like Joker Phillips, Spaziani is coming off his first win of 2012 but holds steady in his ranking from last week. The Eagles easily defeated Maine 34-3 in Week 2, giving Spaziani a 21-20 record in his tenure as Boston College’s head coach. If the Eagles want to make a bowl game, beating Northwestern this Saturday is a necessity. With conference games coming up against Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech, Boston College could be looking at a 2-5 record before its final five games of 2012.

3. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 5
Record at Central Michigan: 7-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Enos and Central Michigan missed a prime upset opportunity on Saturday. The Chippewas hosted in-state foe Michigan State, but the outcome was never in doubt. The Spartans dominated from the opening snap and cruised to a 41-7 victory. Central Michigan’s offense never got on track, and the defense allowed Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell to throw for 275 yards and two touchdowns in his second start. The Chippewas have lost seven out of their last nine games, with the only wins coming against Akron (one of the worst FBS teams last year) and Southeast Missouri State (a FCS opponent).

4. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Record at MTSU: 36-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
After a bad showing in the opener against McNeese State, the Blue Raiders bounced back with a 31-17 victory over FAU in Week 2. The victory was enough to move Stockstill down a spot in the rankings, however, MTSU’s road won’t get any easier over the next few weeks. The Blue Raiders have road games at Memphis and Georgia Tech, while Louisiana-Monroe visits Murfreesboro on Oct. 6. MTSU has enough talent in the program to push for a winning record, but the Blue Raiders are a disappointing 1-7 in its last eight games.

5. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Record at UNLV: 4-23 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-2
After showing signs of progress in the opener against Minnesota, the Rebels took a step back with a loss to FCS opponent Northern Arizona in Week 2. UNLV has not won a game since Oct. 29 of last season and has just four wins under Hauck’s watch. The third-year coach is starting to feel the heat from the fan base and needs to have a good showing against Washington State on Friday night. The cupboard was far from full when Hauck took over in Las Vegas. However, it’s time for the Rebels to show some progress.

6. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at Colorado: 3-12 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 0-2
Similar to UNLV coach Bobby Hauck, Embree did not inherit a great situation when he arrived at Colorado. The Buffaloes were coming off five losing seasons and the talent level was not where it needed to be to compete in the Pac-12. Although Embree can’t be blamed for all of the issues, Colorado is off to an 0-2 start, including a loss to in-state rival Colorado State and FCS opponent Sacramento State this year. The Buffaloes had to replace some key personnel from last season, but there hasn’t been much improvement from this team from 2011. Making matters worse is the remaining 2012 schedule, which features Fresno State, Washington State, UCLA, Arizona State and USC as its next five games. Unless Colorado pulls off an upset, it could be looking at an 0-12 record at the end of November.

7. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at California: 80-49 (11th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Golden Bears broke into the win column with a 50-31 win over Southern Utah on Saturday. While it was a victory, there were a lot of anxious moments for California, especially when the Thunderbirds jumped out to a 3-0 lead and cut the Golden Bears’ lead to 20-17 early in the third quarter. While California had a good rebound from losing its season opener, the schedule only gets tougher from here, starting with Saturday’s game at Ohio State.

8. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank: 7
Record at Idaho: 19-45 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-2
A week after dropping a disappointing 20-3 opener to Eastern Washington, the Vandals showed some signs of life in a 21-13 loss to Bowling Green. Quarterback Dominique Blackman threw for 352 yards and one touchdown in his first start, while the defense held the Falcons to 90 rushing yards and forced two turnovers. Unfortunately for Idaho, it faces an uphill battle to earn its first win this season in Week 3. With a trip to Baton Rouge to take on LSU, the Vandals are huge underdogs and need to make it through this matchup without any injuries to attempt a run at a winning record in WAC play. Akey has a tough job, especially as Idaho faces an uncertain future on the FBS level. However, the Vandals need to show progress on the field, which would help make the program more attractive for future Mountain West expansion.

9. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 4
Record at Rice: 24-39 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
In one of the most surprising games from Week 2, Bailiff led Rice to a 25-24 upset over Kansas. The win over the Jayhawks was the Owls’ second victory over a team from a BCS conference in the last two years and should give Rice momentum heading into its Conference USA slate. The win should help Bailiff’s prospects of sticking around for another year, but his fate will largely be determined from what happens in conference play. The West Division is wide open and considering the Owls have shown promise through the first two weeks, Rice could make some noise in C-USA.

10. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Record at Houston: 1-2
2012 Record: 0-2
After a disastrous debut, Levine and the Cougars had a better showing in the Week 2 loss to Louisiana Tech. Houston’s offense recorded 693 yards and six touchdowns, but the defense allowed the Bulldogs to post 598 yards of total offense, while scoring 56 points. Firing Mike Nesbitt as offensive coordinator appears to have been the right move, but the defense has to be better if Houston wants to repeat as Conference USA West Division champs. The Cougars travel to Los Angeles to play UCLA this Saturday.  

11. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at Maryland: 4-10 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 2-0
The first two games of the year haven’t been pretty, but Maryland has already matched last season’s win total (2). After a sluggish performance in the opener against William & Mary, the Terrapins’ offense played better against Temple, especially in the case of true freshman quarterback Perry Hills. The defense also played a large role in the win over the Owls, recording three turnovers and allowing only 52 rushing yards. Edsall’s seat has cooled thanks to the 2-0 record, but the Terrapins are far from a perfect team. Expect plenty of hot seat and dream job talk this week, especially as Edsall’s old team (Connecticut) visits College Park on Saturday.

12. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Texas Tech: 15-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-0
Tuberville has dropped in the weekly hot seat watch over the last two weeks. A 2-0 start certainly helps, while Texas Tech has shown improvement on defense – yes, the competition wasn’t great – but the Red Raiders are allowing just 177 yards per game so far. Tuberville should cruise to a 3-0 record this Saturday, as Texas Tech hosts New Mexico in its final non-conference game of the season.

13. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Auburn: 30-12 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-2
A disappointing 0-2 start and an overall lack of improvement from 2011 to 2012 has placed Chizik squarely on the hot seat. Auburn is just 8-7 since winning the 2010 national championship, and Chizik’s overall record at Auburn without Cam Newton is a pedestrian 16-12. The Tigers face upset-minded Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday, and the schedule only gets more difficult the rest of the way, especially with games against LSU, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia remaining.

14. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Syracuse: 17-22 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-2
A case could be made the Orange are the best 0-2 team in college football, but Marrone needs wins to show the program is headed in the right direction before joining the ACC in 2013. Syracuse lost 42-41 in the opener against Northwestern and gave USC all it could handle in a 42-29 defeat. The Orange should break into the win column against Stony Brook this Saturday and could be favored to beat Minnesota and Pittsburgh in the next two games.  

15. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Iowa: 97-67 (14th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Is Iowa on the decline? That’s the big question facing Ferentz after a 1-1 start, which saw the Hawkeyes lose to in-state rival Iowa State for the second time in two seasons. Since winning 11 games in 2009, the Hawkeyes are only 16-12 and the offense has been one of the worst in the Big Ten through the first two games. Iowa ranks 12th in the Big Ten in total and scoring offense, while quarterback James Vandenberg is only averaging 175 yards passing per game. The good news for Iowa is Northern Iowa and Central Michigan are the next two opponents, which should allow the Hawkeyes to be 3-1 before the Big Ten opener against Minnesota. Ferentz has led Iowa to 10 bowl games, but there’s plenty of grumbling around the program after losing to Iowa State for consecutive seasons.

16. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 13
Record at Buffalo: 6-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Quinn’s record is 1-1, but the Bulls have to be pleased with their start to 2012. Buffalo hung tough in a 45-23 loss to Georgia and beat Morgan State 56-34 in Week 2. The Bulls have one of the nation’s most underrated running backs in Branden Oliver, who is averaging 174.5 rushing yards per game. It will be tough for Quinn to have a winning record at the end of 2012, but Buffalo should be more competitive in MAC play.

17. George O’Leary, UCF
Last Week’s Rank:
14
Record at UCF: 51-52 (9th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
UCF didn’t beat Ohio State, but there was really nothing shameful about losing 31-16 on the road in Columbus. The Knights have a tough two-game stretch upcoming, as they take on in-state rival FIU in Week 3 and Missouri in Week 5. UCF is still the favorite to win Conference USA’s East Division, but a collapse in the second half of the season would likely spell the end of O’Leary’s tenure.

18. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
19
Record at New Mexico State: 10-30 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
New Mexico State is one of the toughest jobs in college football, so it has been no surprise that progress has been slow under Walker. The Aggies have won only 10 games under his watch, but are off to a 1-1 start in 2012. New Mexico State could push for a winning record this season, especially if quarterback Andrew Manley continues to develop into an All-WAC honors candidate. The upcoming schedule isn’t too difficult and considering New Mexico State’s uncertain future at the FBS level, it would be a surprise if Walker is fired at the end of 2012.

19. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 17
Record at Western Michigan: 48-40 (8th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Broncos have two more chances to knock off BCS competition this season, before opening up conference play against Toledo on Sept. 29. Western Michigan has defeated four BCS teams under Cubit’s watch during the regular season and could make it six with winnable games against Minnesota and Connecticut upcoming. Even if the Broncos lose both games, the biggest obstacle to another year for Cubit in Kalamazoo will be what happens in MAC play. Western Michigan is favored to win the MAC West but has struggled to reach expectations in previous years.

20. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank: 16
Record at Tennessee: 13-14 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-0
Dooley has dropped from No. 3 in Athlon’s post-fall practice rankings to No. 20 in just two weeks. Tennessee has started off 2012 on the right foot, beating NC State in the opener and easily handling Georgia State in Week 2. Despite his 2-0 start, this week’s game against Florida is no doubt a bigger challenge for Dooley. If the Volunteers struggle or lose, he will shoot back into the top 10 of the rankings. However, should Tennessee win, it might be time to consider Dooley’s team a contender in the SEC East.

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Arkansas: 1-1 (1st season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Since Smith is on a one-year deal, there wasn’t much expectation for him to retain the job in 2013. However, losing to Louisiana-Monroe certainly isn’t what Arkansas envisioned when he returned to Fayetteville for 2012 following the unexpected dismissal of Bobby Petrino. Barring a complete implosion by the Razorbacks, Smith will stay on as Arkansas’ head coach for the remainder of this season.
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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