College Football Coaches Hot Seat: Week 3 Pressure Cooker Rankings

    The college football coaches hot seat rankings welcome two new additions for Week 3 of the 2016 season - Penn State's James Franklin and NC State's Dave Doeren.


    The college football coaches hot seat rankings for Week 3 welcome two new additions.


    Penn State’s James Franklin and NC State’s Dave Doeren make their 2016 debut on the college football hot seat rankings thanks to upset losses this past weekend.

    Tennessee and USC’s dominating wins over Virginia Tech and Utah State, respectively, are enough to spell Butch Jones and Clay Helton from this week’s hot seat.

    Charlie Strong is also making a case to exit the list following two wins by Texas to open the season. He’s down to No. 10.

    Below are the college football coaches whose seats burn hottest in Week 3.

    10. Charlie Strong, Texas (8)

    Two impressive wins over Notre Dame and UTEP. One giant step toward saying sayonara to the Hot Seat Tracker for the rest of 2016. Strong is off to a terrific start behind coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, rookie QB Shane Buechele and an offense that’s already light years ahead of 2015. But why jinx the third-year coach with a vote of confidence after just two games? Everyone will learn a lot more about the Horns’ ceiling in upcoming games with Cal, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma … all outside of Austin.

    9. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech (7)

    Johnson has taken care of business so far this month, winning both of his games. But beating Boston College and Mercer, and looking lackluster in both victories, doesn’t erase last season’s collapse. Or address the overall inconsistency the Yellow Jackets have shown under this staff. At a minimum, Johnson needs to guide Georgia Tech back to the postseason, which will require improved play from QB Justin Thomas and the backbone rushing attack.

    8. Steve Addazio, Boston College (6)

    The Eagles notched their first win of the year on Saturday. But they didn’t look especially graceful doing it, starting slowly before putting away UMass, 26-7. The offense continues to be the problem on the Heights, with a lack of pop allowing defenses to crowd the line. Addazio is probably safe if he leads BC to a bowl game, because he’s well-liked and the school recognizes its hiring limitations. However, with games still left against Clemson, Louisville and Florida State, reaching .500 is hardly a sure-thing.

    7. Dave Doeren, NC State (NR)

    Are you growing weary of your team’s mediocrity, Pack fans, especially now that Carolina is the defending ACC Coastal champ? It’s Year 4 for Doeren, who slipped to 19-21 overall after his team fell to East Carolina and its rookie head coach Scottie Montgomery. Far worse, State is now a hard-to-process 2-20 under Doeren versus FBS teams with a winning record. There are a lot of smoke and mirrors in Raleigh right now, but how much longer will the administration wait before pulling back the curtain on this staff?

    6. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt (5)

    After losing to South Carolina in the opener, Middle Tennessee was a must-win for Mason. Thank you, Ralph Webb, who spearheaded the offense with 211 yards and two scores on the ground. Mason moved to 8-18, with non-conference trips to Georgia Tech and Western Kentucky up next. It’s only Year 3 for this staff, so no one is quite ready to push panic buttons in Nashville. Still, it is important for Mason to build off the progress he oversaw a year ago.

    5. James Franklin, Penn State (NR)

    For starters, there’s no love affair with Franklin in Central Pennsylvania. Now, winning heals all wounds in college football, but the coach is just 15-13 at the beginning of his third year, with a complete absence of statement moments. And after falling to Pitt on Saturday, which will leave deep scars, Franklin has now lost to a Pennsylvania team in back-to-back years. If there’s even a hint that Penn State is losing instate traction to Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers, the ramifications will be swift and profound.

    4. Gus Malzahn, Auburn (4)

    Malzahn will ultimately be judged by how he performs in SEC play, beginning with this week’s visit from Texas A&M. But even at 1-1, there’s a glimmer of hope that this Auburn team will be better than last year’s, which finished 7-6. The defense played well in the opener with Clemson. This past Saturday, the offense perked up against Arkansas State, as QB Sean White and backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson all chipped in. If Auburn can begin pitching complete games, Malzahn might be able to breathe easier by November.

    3. Darrell Hazell, Purdue (2)

    It’s getting tougher and tougher to justify a fifth year for Hazell in 2017. After bowing meekly at home to Cincinnati, 38-20, the coach now stands at 7-31 overall, with just three wins over FBS teams. Sophomore QB David Blough regressed with five picks, and the Boilermakers were handled on both lines of scrimmage. West Lafayette is a tough place to win, especially in an improving Big Ten, but barring a sudden turnaround, Purdue will be in the market for a new coach by as early as November.

    2. Mark Stoops, Kentucky (3)

    A cool $12 million. That’s what it’ll cost the university to sack Stoops at the end of the season. Such is the conundrum when schools extend the contracts of coaches who’ve yet to accomplish much on Saturdays. Stoops has begun his critical fourth year by blowing a lead to Southern Miss and then getting blown off the field by Florida, 45-7. The rest of the schedule isn’t so bad that the Cats can’t rally their way to six wins. If, however, they land below .500 for a seventh straight year, the administration will have a very expensive decision to make.

    1. Les Miles, LSU (1)

    For a second week in a row, Les Miles sits on top of the college football coaches hot seat. Time, which is wearing thin for Miles, will tell if Purdue transfer Danny Etling can help bring a splash of veteran stability to the offense once SEC play starts with this week’s visit from Mississippi State. Etling helped LSU get out of an early hole with Jacksonville State on a night that Leonard Fournette rested his injured ankle. Miles needs immediate offensive answers, because anything less than a 10-win season will likely lead to a change at the top in Baton Rouge.

    MORE: No. 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 3

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