College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 11 Rankings

Derek Dooley isn't expected to return at Tennessee for 2013.

Week 11 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. Boston College's Frank Spaziani remains the top spot in the hot seat watch, followed closely by Auburn's Gene Chizik, Tennessee's Derek Dooley and California's Jeff Tedford in the top five.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 11 Rankings

1. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Boston College: 22-27 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-8
The Eagles closed out the non-conference portion of their 2012 schedule with a 21-6 loss to Notre Dame. Despite the 15-point defeat, Boston College never really threatened in this game and the Fighting Irish were in complete control from the opening kick. Spaziani has a handful of young players contributing in key roles, but it’s hard to find any progress from this team in 2012. The Eagles have watched their win total decline in each of the last four years and are headed for a 2-10 finish.

2. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank: 2
Record at Auburn: 32-18 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-8
Barring an upset win over Alabama, Auburn will finish SEC play winless for the first time since 1980. The Tigers dropped to 0-7 within the conference on Saturday, losing 38-0 to Georgia. Auburn’s only wins have come against New Mexico State and Louisiana-Monroe this season and should easily defeat Alabama A&M this Saturday. Although Chizik insists he has a plan to turn around Auburn next year, the rumor mill around the program seems to suggest he won’t get the to chance to do so in 2013.

3. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank: 3
Record at Tennessee: 15-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 4-6
If there was any doubt Dooley would be fired at the end of the season, the overtime loss to Missouri sealed any shot he had of returning to Knoxville for 2013. The defeat dropped Tennessee to 4-6 and in danger of missing out on a bowl game for the second consecutive season. The Volunteers need to win at Vanderbilt and against Kentucky to get bowl eligible. Since taking over in Knoxville, Dooley is just 4-18 in SEC play and a disappointing 15-20 overall. There’s no doubt Dooley is done, it’s just a matter of when the school decides to make the announcement.

4. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank: 4
Record at California: 82-56 (11th season)
2012 Record: 3-8
As expected, the Golden Bears were pounded by Oregon on Saturday. California hung around in the first half, but the Ducks simply had too much firepower on offense and won 59-17. The loss to Oregon closed out the home slate for California this year, as the team finishes its 2012 season at Oregon State on Saturday. With a loss to the Beavers, the Golden Bears would finish 3-9, which would be their worst record since going 1-10 in 2001. Tedford has done a lot of good things at California, but it’s clear the program has gotten stale under his watch the last few seasons.

5. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank: 5
Record at Southern Miss: 0-10
2012 Record: 0-10
The miserable first season under Ellis Johnson continued in Week 10, as Southern Miss was pounded 34-6 by SMU. The Golden Eagles are headed to their worst season in school history and even though Johnson is just in his first year, it’s clear the program is headed in the wrong direction. The loss to the Mustangs also clinched the first season of double-digit losses in Southern Miss history. Even though the Golden Eagles lost a handful of key players from last year’s team, going from Conference USA champions to possibly 0-12 is enough to make a coaching change.  

6. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at New Mexico State: 10-38 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-9
The Aggies remained winless in WAC play, dropping a 47-7 game against San Jose State on Saturday. Although New Mexico State showed some promise with a 4-9 mark last year, the program seems to be trending in the wrong direction. And the schedule won’t get any easier next year, as the Aggies will compete as a FBS  Independent. Walker inherited a difficult situation, and New Mexico State is not an easy place to develop a winning program. However, the program may want to get a fresh start after this season, especially if the Aggies finish 1-11.

7. Mike Price, UTEP
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at UTEP: 47-60 (8 years)
2012 Record: 2-8
The Miners hung tough against UCF, but it wasn’t enough to earn the victory. Looking for a spark on offense, Price inserted redshirt freshman quarterback Blaire Sullivan into the lineup. He threw for only 79 yards but added 74 yards and one touchdown on the ground, which gave UTEP a shot to beat the Knights in the fourth quarter. The Miners finish the season with winnable games against Southern Miss and Rice, but even with two more victories, it’s hard to imagine Price returning to El Paso in 2013.

8. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at UNLV: 6-30 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-9
Inconsistency has plagued UNLV in 2012. The Rebels knocked off New Mexico 35-7 in Week 10, yet were dominated in a 33-11 loss against Colorado State last Saturday. The Rebels are getting better under Hauck but it’s hard for the program to make any long-term progress with losses like the one it had on Saturday. UNLV closes out its 2012 season with winnable matchups against Wyoming and Hawaii, as it looks to record more than two victories in a season for the first time under Hauck.

9. Danny Hope, Purdue
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at Purdue: 20-27 (4th season)
2012 Record: 4-6
Saturday’s 27-24 win over Iowa should ease some of the pressure on Hope. The victory keeps Purdue’s slim bowl hopes alive, as it needs to beat Illinois and Indiana in its final two games to get to six victories. Hope is still under plenty of pressure over the next two weeks, especially since the program has yet to show any real progress under his watch. While making back-to-back bowl games would be a good sign, Purdue’s overall record is just 20-27 in his tenure.

10. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 14
Record at Colorado: 4-19 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-9
Despite the disastrous 2012 season, all signs point to Embree getting another year in Boulder. Whether or not he deserves another season is debatable, especially when you consider the Buffaloes haven’t shown much progress over the last two years. Colorado does have a lot of young players on the depth chart and lost receiver Paul Richardson to a torn ACL in the offseason. However, both sides of the ball rank among the worst in college football, and the team has gotten very little production from its quarterbacks. Embree will likely return for 2013 but expect a staff shakeup at the end of 2012.

11. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Record at Buffalo: 8-26 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-7
With back-to-back victories over Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan, Buffalo has its first two-game winning streak since 2009. Although the Bulls have seven losses, they lost to Connecticut, Ohio and Toledo by less than seven points and lost by only 13 to Pittsburgh. With a matchup against UMass this Saturday, Buffalo should have a good shot at getting to four wins, which would be Quinn’s best season. Although the Bulls haven’t gotten back to a bowl game under his watch, the program has had only three seasons of five or more wins since 1997.

12. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Record at Rice: 27-44 (6th season)
2012 Record: 4-6
The Owls had a bye week on Saturday and return to action this weekend for a home date against SMU. With Rice at 4-6 and SMU at 5-5, this matchup is a crucial one for bowl eligibility. The Owls close the year with a road trip at UTEP, so a win over the Mustangs isn’t an automatic path to a bowl game. Bailiff has recorded at least four victories in each of his last three seasons, so getting to 5-7 or 6-6 would be a step in the right direction. Unless Rice loses its last two games, Bailiff may have done enough to save his job for 2013.

13. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 7
Record at Central Michigan: 10-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 4-6
Thanks to wins in two out of his last three games, Enos has dropped outside of the top 10 in the hot seat watch. Saturday’s victory over Eastern Michigan pushed the Chippewas’ record to 4-6, which is the best win total in Enos’ three seasons in Mount Pleasant. The third-year coach could strengthen his case to return for 2013 in the final two games, as Central Michigan hosts Miami (Ohio) and plays at UMass. Considering some conferences are going to have trouble filling out their allotment for bowl games, the Chippewas could sneak into the postseason at 6-6.

14. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank: 20
Record at Iowa: 100-73 (14th season)
2012 Record: 4-6
Barring upset wins over Nebraska and Michigan, Iowa will miss out on a postseason game for the first time since 2007. The Hawkeyes lost 27-24 against Purdue on Saturday, which dropped their Big Ten record to 2-4 overall this year. Ferentz has a huge contract, so he’s really not in any danger of getting fired. However, there’s plenty of unrest among the fan base, especially since the win total has declined every year sine 2009. If the Hawkeyes finish 4-8, it would be the worst mark under Ferentz since going 3-9 in 2000.

15. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at South Florida: 16-18 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
The Bulls had a bye in Week 11 and return to action against in-state big brother Miami (Fla.) this Saturday. South Florida still has slim bowl hopes but needs to win the final three games to get to 6-6. A bigger question for Holtz this week is the quarterback position, especially with starter B.J. Daniels out for the rest of the year with a leg injury. After going 8-5 in 2010, South Florida is just 8-13 since. Although Holtz will probably get another year, he needs to have good showings against Miami, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to build some confidence about this team going into 2013.

16. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 17
Record at Western Michigan: 51-46 (8th season)
2012 Record: 4-7
The Broncos got a little spark on Saturday, as quarterback Alex Carder returned to the lineup after missing six games with a hand injury. However, Carder’s return wasn't enough to secure win, as Western Michigan fell 29-24 at Buffalo. The loss dropped the Broncos out of the mix for a bowl and to 51-46 overall under Cubit’s watch. Western Michigan finishes its 2012 season with a matchup against in-state rival Eastern Michigan.

17. Tim Beckman, Illinois
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Illinois: 2-8 (1st season)
2012 Record: 2-8
Beckman’s first season in Champaign hasn’t been as disastrous as Ellis Johnson’s first year at Southern Miss, but he isn’t too far behind. The Fighting Illini are 2-8 overall, with the only victories coming against Western Michigan and Charleston Southern. Illinois has been handled in Big Ten play, losing every game by 14 points or more. The fan base is already growing restless about Beckman and there’s no guaranteed win remaining with Purdue and Northwestern on tap. Expect significant staff changes at the end of the 2012 season. 

18. Ron English, Eastern Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Eastern Michigan: 9-37 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-9
Considering how difficult it is to win at Eastern Michigan, it’s tough to evaluate English for having a 9-37 overall record in four seasons. However, take out the 6-6 mark in 2011 and the Eagles are just 3-31 under his watch. Eastern Michigan has been competitive in losses against Toledo and Michigan State, but lost to FCS opponent Illinois State. With matchups against Western Michigan and Northern Illinois to close out 2012, a 1-11 record appears very likely for English this season.

19. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
Last Week’s Rank: 13
Record at Connecticut: 9-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 4-6
The Huskies scored a much-needed victory with a 24-17 win over Pittsburgh on Friday night. The victory over the Panthers was Connecticut’s first in Big East play this season and will help this team build some momentum for the final two games of the year against Louisville and Cincinnati. Pasqualoni isn’t in any real danger of losing his job this year, but the former Syracuse coach could be the near the top of this list at the beginning of 2013.

20. June Jones, SMU
Last Week’s Rank: 19
Record at SMU: 29-33 (5th season)
2012 Record: 5-5
SMU moved one step closer to bowl eligibility with a 34-6 victory over Southern Miss on Saturday night. The Mustangs need to beat Rice or Tulsa in the final two weeks to make their fourth consecutive bowl trip. Although Jones has elevated SMU, the program has yet to take off as most expected. The Mustangs are set to enter the Big East next year and can’t afford to fall far behind. Considering Jones wanted to leave for Arizona State at the end of 2011, both parties might be better off with a mutual separation. 

by Steven Lassan

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