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10 college football coaches on the hot seat

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 6 days ago Jeff Mezydlo, Yardbarker
a man in a baseball uniform throwing a ball © Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It's October. The college football season is chugging along.

Why not talk about those FBS coaches whose seats are getting warm or even a little hot? Some big names from the preseason who were feeling the heat are still sweating it out, while new ones have been thrown into the fire.

Here's a look at some prominent coaches (in alphabetical order) who could be unemployed by the end of the season — or earlier. (Records as of Oct. 6.).

Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech

Fuente went 10-4 and won an ACC Coastal Division title during his first season with the Hokies in 2016. However, Virginia Tech's bowl streak that dates back to 1993 nearly ended last season when the team inexplicably lost to Old Dominion. Since the beginning of November 2017, Virginia Tech is 11-12. Yes, the Hokies had a nice win at Miami last weekend, but Fuente should have a sense of urgency to get this thing back on track.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

It's a given Harbaugh would be on this list, simply because Michigan fans generally don't seem happy with him. That said, Harbaugh, 42-15 in Ann Arbor, has returned Michigan football back to prominence after seven seasons of inconsistency and underachievement. However, the Wolverines were expected to be national contenders under his watch; Big Ten champs at the very least. That looked to be the case in 2018, and then they visited Ohio State. The Buckeyes continue to be the thorn in Michigan's side, and another blowout loss in the series could end Harbaugh's reign at his alma mater.

Clay Helton, USC

When the 2019 season started, no coach's seat was hotter than Helton's following that massively disappointing 5-7 2018 campaign. Now, he should be applauded for the fact the Trojans are 3-2 and were actually ranked this season despite the health of their quarterbacks. However, a winning 2019 still might not give Helton a sixth season as head coach in L.A., especially after the resignation of athletic director Lynn Swann. The Trojans would love to make a splash with their next coaching hire, and the time might be soon.

Chip Kelly, UCLA

Is two years enough time to sack a coach? Perhaps, if it's a big name like Kelly, who in less than two seasons has not done anything to turn the Bruins program back into anything relevant. Despite his 4-14 mark (1-5 this season), one would think Kelly will at least get another season after this to prove he is the man for the job. Then again, will he decide to leave Westwood on his own? Those somewhat in the know don't think that will happen — just yet. Still, UCLA fans are not happy and getting restless.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt

Academics still come first at Vanderbilt, so it's not an easy place for anybody to win. Though, the Commodores did have back-to-back nine-win seasons earlier this decade. Mason has not had a winning season in any of his first five and probably won't this year. He's 25-42, and it just feels like the program needs to once again go in another direction to find the right guy to produce a consistent winner — if that's possible at Vandy.

Chad Morris, Arkansas

Like Kelly, Morris is in only his second season with the Razorbacks. However, signs are pointing to another two-win campaign, which would mean a second straight without an SEC victory. Arkansas gave Texas A&M a real fight last month, but it also lost at home to San Jose State. Morris should reach a third season, but his chair is getting warm. This job is about progress, and while there has been some made under his guidance, results need to start showing up relatively soon.

Will Muschamp, South Carolina

Maybe there are guys meant to be coordinators. Muschamp could be one. He had one good season in four at Florida and likely will go a fourth straight year without double-digit victories guiding the Gamecocks. Muschamp is a solid defensive mind and should have no trouble getting a Power Five job as defensive coordinator again. But South Carolina is a .500 team again this year, and that might not be good enough to keep him employed.

Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee

Losing to Georgia State, at home when you're totally outplayed, should be grounds for immediate termination. And it's essentially why Pruitt, 6-11 at Tennessee, is on this list. The talk is that Pruitt's job is safe — for now. That makes sense since this is only Year 2 of his tenure. But the seat is definitely getting hot, even if the Vols looked good for a half against Georgia. Perhaps Pruitt has found his quarterback in freshman Brian Maurer, should he stay healthy. Do Vols fans have the patience to wait and see?

Lovie Smith, Illinois

Lovie's Santa Claus beard is cool; his results at Illinois are not. When young athletic director and Illinois alum Josh Whitman hired Smith to run a program that hasn't enjoyed a winning season since 2011, the "wow" factor was high. The former NFL coach gave the Illini national credibility — in name alone. The results in three-plus seasons (11-30, four Big Ten wins) have not. Like any big-name coach, the buyout is kind of an issue with Smith, but it's Whitman's willingness to admit his choice was wrong that's really being tested.

Charlie Strong, South Florida

All was right with Strong's world when the Bulls went 10-2 in his first season of 2017 and started 7-0 last year. Since then USF is 2-9 with wins over South Carolina State and Connecticut. Strong's seat has been blazing for a while, and it would seem he's good to at least complete this season. However, a brutal finish to the four-game American Athletic Conference stretch against Temple, Cincinnati, Memphis and rival UCF could decide his fate.

Related slideshow: Best photos of college football season (provided by imagn)


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