College Football Coaches Hot Seat: Week 4 Pressure Cooker Rankings

    The college football coaches hot seat rankings for Week 4 find Charlie Strong again in a precarious position. How much equity did he lose after the Longhorns' late-night defeat?

    September 23, 2016

    The college football coaches hot seat rankings for Week 4 find Charlie Strong again in a precarious position.

    The coaching carousel continues to spit out results, as athletic directors across the country contemplate whether to keep a staff intact or initiate changes for the 2017 season.

    Which head coaches are enduring the most pressure to turn things around and improve shaky job security? We break down who’s sitting on the hottest seats following the third weekend of the 2016 campaign.

    10. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech (Last week: 9)

    Johnson and his Yellow Jackets have done exactly what they had to over the first three weeks, beating Boston College, Mercer and Vanderbilt, the latter in convincing fashion. But hold off on issuing a lucrative contract extension. Tech still has plenty to prove after going 3-9 a season ago, including 1-7 in ACC play. Everyone is going to learn a lot about Johnson’s job security in upcoming games, with Clemson, Miami and Pitt on tap.

    9. Charlie Strong, Texas (10)

    Two steps forward. One sizable step back after the Horns fell to Cal, 50-43, in the type of game that had to drive Strong nuts. Sure, Texas is scoring more with Sterlin Gilbert in charge of the offense, but the defense, Strong’s baby, is paying the price due to the frenetic tempo. The Horns get a week off before a key back-to-back stretch with the Big 12’s Oklahoma teams. Strong amassed equity by beating Notre Dame on Sept. 4, but he can ill-afford to be sliding at midseason.

    8. Dave Doeren, NC State (7)

    The Pack took care of business in Week 3, racing past Old Dominion behind a sharp effort from quarterback Ryan Finley. It was a game Doeren had to have after losing to East Carolina last weekend. But the fourth-year coach, whose career mark in Raleigh remains below .500, needs to take down a quality opponent to provide tangible proof that the program is moving north. Doeren will get his chances in the next month against Notre Dame and unbeaten Wake Forest, Clemson and Louisville.

    7. Steve Addazio, Boston College (8)

    Things are beginning to fall apart for Addazio, who began his tenure with so much promise. Boston College fell to 0-2 versus FBS opponents after being embarrassed, 49-0, by an average Virginia Tech team. The offense continues to be a joke, and the school’s trademark defense was exposed for seven touchdowns by the Hokies, five off the arm of Jerod Evans. The Eagles will prop up the record un upcoming games with Wagner and Buffalo, but the current 10-game ACC losing streak will continue to haunt Addazio.

    6. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt (6)

    In a battle of hot seat coaches, Mason was no match for Paul Johnson, whose Georgia Tech team slammed the Dores, 38-7. Vanderbilt is now 1-1 versus Group of Five opponents, having defeated only Middle Tennessee in Week 2. Vandy might only be favored two or three more times this season, so Mason is a long shot to lead his team to .500 and a bowl berth in his third season in Nashville.

    5. James Franklin, Penn State (5)

    Phew. Franklin absolutely had to win Saturday’s game with Temple to prevent the heat from reaching scorching temperatures. The Lions snapped their two-game losing streak versus instate rivals, holding off the Owls, 34-27, behind quarterback Trace McSorley. For Franklin, though, it’s just a temporary reprieve. He’ll be judged far more harshly when Big Ten play begins, like this Saturday when Penn State travels to Ann Arbor.

    4. Gus Malzahn, Auburn (4)

    In a key matchup of vulnerable coaches, Malzahn sunk further below Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin with Saturday’s 29-16 loss at Jordan-Hare. And by falling in his own backyard, Malzahn has now dropped seven consecutive home games versus visitors from Power Five conferences. That wouldn’t cut it at Vanderbilt, let alone Auburn. With games still left against LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama, the Tigers are staring down barrel of another season of mediocrity, as fans increasingly look for a new direction.

    3. Darrell Hazell, Purdue (3)

    Hazell and the Boilermakers used their Week 3 bye to get beyond the sloppy turnover-fest versus Cincinnati and prep for the non-conference finale with Nevada. Purdue is desperate for momentum over the next three games with the Pack, Maryland and Illinois, because the schedule gets thornier in the second half. In all likelihood, Hazell, who is 7-31 overall and 2-22 against the Big Ten, will need to earn a bowl berth to avoid the axe.

    2. Mark Stoops, Kentucky (2)

    The Cats woke up after halftime against New Mexico State in a game that was inexplicably tied, 35-35. Stoops better hope his kids’ strong finish can be bottled up and carried into the continuation of SEC play this week. The Kentucky offense was explosive behind backup quarterback Stephen Johnson, tight end C.J. Conrad and backs Boom Williams and Benjamin Snell Jr. However, the defense is a mess and a likely stumbling block for a coach needing to scratch out five more wins and bowl eligibility.

    1. Les Miles, LSU (1)

    The Tigers built a 23-3 lead on Mississippi State, and then proceeded to almost make their coach go comatose on the sidelines. LSU disappeared in the second-half, going the final 38 minutes without scoring a touchdown and allowing the Bulldogs to get back in the game. Where’s the killer instinct for a team that should have been using backups in the fourth? Now 2-1, Miles averted disaster in Week 3, but he has a long way to go and a tough schedule ahead before he can even think about exhaling.

    MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 4


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