College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 7 Rankings

Auburn's Gene Chizik is squarely on the hot seat after a 1-5 start.

Week 7 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 continue to hold down the top two spots in the rankings. SEC coaches own three of the top five spots, as Auburn's Gene Chizik and Tennessee's Derek Dooley both joined Phillips in the top tier of this list following their latest losses.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 7 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Kentucky: 12-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-6
Another week, another big loss for Kentucky. The Wildcats were hammered 49-7 by Arkansas, falling to 1-6 on the season. Phillips’ overall record has slipped to 12-20, and Kentucky has lost eight out of its last 10 games. Although several young players are seeing significant snaps, it probably won’t be enough for Phillips to return in 2013. The Wildcats take on Georgia this Saturday, before hitting the road to play Missouri in Week 9.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Boston College: 21-24 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-5
With a new athletic director coming aboard for 2013, Spaziani is likely coaching out the final six games in his tenure at Boston College. The Eagles were thumped 51-7 against Florida State, dropping their fourth consecutive game of the season. Boston College’s only win of 2012 came against FCS opponent Maine and it lost a disappointing 34-31 game at Army last week. The Eagles need to win five out of their final six games to have a shot to play in a bowl, which seems unlikely with Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and NC State on the schedule.

3. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Auburn: 31-15 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-5
A miserable season for Chizik only got worse on Saturday, as Auburn lost 41-20 to Ole Miss to drop to 1-5 this year. Although the Rebels are a much-improved team under new coach Hugh Freeze, this team went 2-10 and was winless in SEC play last season. The Tigers have shown little progress on both sides of the ball this season, and could be 1-7 after playing Vanderbilt and Texas A&M in the next two weeks. Considering how Auburn has played this year, a bowl game seems out of the question. Now the question becomes: Does Chizik deserve another year or should the Tigers move on?

4. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Tennessee: 14-17 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-3
The orange pants that Dooley wears on the sidelines might as well include flames this week. Tennessee fell to 0-3 in the SEC with a 41-31 loss to Mississippi State on Saturday night. The Volunteers are now 1-10 in their last 11 SEC games, with the only victory coming in overtime against Vanderbilt. The road is only going to get more difficult for Tennessee, as Alabama and South Carolina are the next two opponents. The schedule is considerably more favorable in November, as the Volunteers could go 4-0. However, will that be enough to save Dooley’s job?

5. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Central Michigan: 8-22 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-4
Instead of building momentum after a 32-31 win over Iowa on Sept. 22, the Chippewas are sliding in the wrong direction. Central Michigan has lost three games in a row, including a 31-13 defeat to Navy on national television last week. The only good news for Enos? The schedule is very manageable in the second half of the season, which includes home games against Ball State, Akron and Western Michigan, along with road dates against Eastern Michigan and UMass.

6. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 4
Record at Buffalo: 6-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-5
Quinn falls two spots in the rankings, which is more of a reflection of other coaches finding their seats getting hotter after Week 7, than Buffalo’s performance on Saturday. The Bulls were dominated 45-3 by Northern Illinois in Week 7 and the schedule isn’t getting any easier with Pittsburgh, Toledo, Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan coming up. Needless to say, Quinn needs to find a couple of victories in the second half of the season to save his job.

7. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank: 7
Record at New Mexico State: 10-34 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-5
The Aggies had an off date in Week 7 and return to action against Utah State this Saturday. New Mexico State enters Week 8 riding a five-game losing streak and its next two match-ups are against the best teams in the WAC (Utah State, Louisiana Tech), while a visit to Auburn awaits on Nov. 3. With an uncertain conference future, New Mexico State is one of the toughest jobs in college football and finding a new coach (if Walker is fired) won’t be an easy task.

8. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at Idaho: 20-49 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-6
A week after building some momentum with a 26-18 win over New Mexico State, the Vandals were pounded 38-7 by Texas State on Saturday. While the Bobcats beat Houston and gave Nevada a game earlier this year, this is still a program in its first year of playing on the FBS level. With Louisiana Tech, BYU, San Jose State and Utah State remaining on the schedule, a Nov. 17 date against UTSA might be Idaho’s only other shot at getting a victory this year.

9. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 3
Record at Rice: 25-43 (6th season)
2012 Record: 2-5
The Owls scored a solid victory over UTSA in Week 7, snapping a four-game losing streak with a 34-14 win over the Roadrunners. The victory over UTSA came one week after an inexplicable loss at Memphis. Bailiff’s future is still up in the air at Rice, but the schedule isn’t particularly difficult in the second half of the season. Rice hosts SMU and Southern Miss, while playing Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP on the road. Outside of the Tulsa game, the Owls have a shot to win the other four contests. 

10. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UNLV: 5-27 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-6
As the hot seat watch has maintained throughout this season, the Rebels are getting better. However, the losses are starting to pile up for Hauck, as UNLV dropped a 42-37 game to in-state rival Nevada in Week 7. The Rebels’ only win of 2012 came against Air Force, and there are few chances for a victory the rest of the way, especially with New Mexico one of the most improved teams in the conference. Hauck has recruited several promising young players, so he should get another year to prove he can turn this program around.

11. Mike Price, UTEP
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UTEP: 46-58 (8 years)
2012 Record: 1-6
After starting the season with close losses to Oklahoma and Ole Miss and a victory over New Mexico State, the Miners have been trending in the wrong direction. UTEP has lost four consecutive games and was handled 33-11 by Tulsa on Thursday night. If the Miners want to make a bowl game, they will need to win out, which includes dates against UCF and Houston. Price is 66 years old, so it’s not out of the question he retires at the end of the year.

12. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Southern Miss: 0-6 (1st season)
2012 Record: 0-6
Johnson moves up a spot in the hot seat rankings, but let’s give a little credit to Southern Miss’ coaching staff for nearly pulling off a win at UCF in Week 7. The Golden Eagles have two promising freshmen on offense in quarterback Anthony Alford and running back Jalen Richard, but the defense is allowing 35.6 points a game and has struggled to stop the run. Southern Miss is still looking for its first win, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with Marshall coming to Hattiesburg on Saturday.

13. Mack Brown, Texas
Last Week’s Rank:
Not Ranked
Record at Texas: 145-41 (15th season)
2012 Record: 4-2
Barring a complete collapse in the second half of the season, Brown’s job is safe for 2013. However, losses like the one the Longhorns endured in Week 7 won’t be tolerated for long in Austin. Texas was dominated 63-21 by Oklahoma and has lost the last two match-ups against the Sooners by a combined score of 118-38. The Longhorns could still finish 10-2 but games at Texas Tech and Kansas State aren’t guaranteed victories. Is the program headed in the right direction? That’s the question Brown will have to answer in the second half of the year.

14. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at South Florida: 15-16 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-4
The Bulls had an off date in Week 7 and return to action at Louisville this Saturday. However, the news wasn’t all positive for Holtz, as one South Florida trustee John Ramil sent an angry e-mail to USF president Judy Genshaft, calling the football program “disgusting and unacceptable.” Considering Holtz’s success at East Carolina, the struggles at South Florida have been surprising. Holtz received a huge contract extension in the offseason but the last six games of the season could very well decide his fate.

15. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at California: 82-52 (11th season)
2012 Record: 3-4
Thanks to back-to-back wins, Tedford has slid from the top five in the hot seat watch to No. 15 overall. However, the good vibes coming out of Berkeley may not last long, as California takes on Stanford this week and closes the year with a difficult three-game stretch: Washington, Oregon and at Oregon State. Beating the Cardinal this week would go a long ways to helping Tedford’s resume, along with bolstering California’s bowl hopes. However, a loss will raise even more questions about whether or not Tedford will be back for 2013.

16. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 16
Record at Colorado: 4-15 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-5
The Buffaloes put up a fight in the first half of Thursday’s game against Arizona State but it wasn’t enough. Colorado was outscored 31-0 in the second half and lost 51-17 to a fast-improving Sun Devils’ team. Credit Embree and his staff for giving the Buffaloes a chance in the first half, but Colorado simply does not have the talent or depth to push the top teams in the Pac-12 right now. Barring a complete disaster the rest of the way, Embree should be back in Boulder in 2013. However, he has a lot of work to do if he wants to be Colorado’s coach for 2014 and beyond.

17. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Syracuse: 19-24 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-4
A week after building some positive momentum with a 14-13 win over Pittsburgh, Syracuse lost 23-15 at Rutgers to drop its record to 2-4. The Orange have a difficult stretch the rest of the year, playing four out of their final six games on the road and catching Big East frontrunner Louisville at home in mid-November. Although Marrone is a Syracuse alum, another losing season won’t sit well in upstate New York.

18. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 18
Record at Western Michigan: 50-43 (8th season)
2012 Record: 3-4
The Broncos came up short against one of the MAC West’s top teams on Saturday, losing 30-24 to Ball State in overtime. Western Michigan has been without starting quarterback Alex Carder for the last three games due to a hand injury, which has jeopardized this team’s bowl hopes. The Broncos face Kent State and Northern Illinois – a combined record of 11-2 – in the next two weeks and finish the year with Central Michigan, Buffalo and Eastern Michigan. Cubit’s teams have been criticized for underachieving in the past and barring an upset or two, it seems Western Michigan will finish with a disappointing 6-6 record.

19. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Connecticut: 8-11 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 3-4
Pasqualoni could easily be higher in the rankings but this is only his second year at Connecticut. However, it’s hard to ignore a disappointing 17-14 loss to Temple on Saturday, as well as a 30-24 road defeat to Western Michigan in late September. Despite having one of the Big East’s top running backs in Lyle McCombs, the Huskies have been awful on offense the last two years and rank 109th nationally in scoring this season. Pasqualoni was a strange pick to succeed Randy Edsall, and a new athletic director has been hired at Connecticut since his arrival. If the Huskies miss out on a bowl game, Pasqualoni will be one of the top coaches on the hot seat in 2013.

20. June Jones, SMU
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at SMU: 26-32 (5th season)
2012 Record: 2-4
Although Jones has helped to lead SMU to three consecutive bowl games, it’s fair to wonder if the school should part ways with him after this year. Jones nearly had the Arizona State job, so it’s clear he isn’t interested in sticking around at SMU. The Mustangs have won just two games this season (UTEP, Stephen F. Austin) and are coming off of a disappointing loss to previously winless Tulane in Week 7. Even though Jones is a solid coach, both the coach and the school might be better off with a fresh start. 

by Steven Lassan

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