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6 college football coaches who would be fired tomorrow if buyouts didn't exist

12up logo 12up 11/30/2019 Jerry Trotta
a group of baseball players playing a football game: Illinois v Michigan State © Gregory Shamus/Getty Images Illinois v Michigan State

With college football's 2019 regular season coming to an end after Saturday's slate of Week 12 rivalry games, it is officially time to start deliberating which head coaches' seats have become hot enough to earn them a pink slip.

It goes without saying that a plethora of programs have underperformed this campaign, but some bosses are downright deserving of a swift hook -- if only firings weren't so expensive in the era of big contract buyouts. With that in mind, let's identify six coaches who'd be axed right here, right now if the price tag wasn't so steep.

6. Matt Luke, Ole Miss

a man in a blue uniform holding a football ball: Vanderbilt v Mississippi © MinuteMedia Vanderbilt v Mississippi

The Rebels just haven't taken the necessary strides since Matt Luke was appointed as the interim head coach back in 2017. Since then, he has led Ole Miss to a pedestrian 15-21 record, including a 4-8 mark in 2019 after Thursday's loss to Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Being ask to take over the mess that Hugh Freeze left behind is demanding, but Luke might have been an interim head coach for a reason: his limited upside.

5. Chip Kelly, UCLA

Chip Kelly standing in front of a crowd: UCLA v USC © MinuteMedia UCLA v USC

Remember when Chip Kelly's hiring was supposed to have fellow Pac 12 teams shaking in their boots? Well, the Bruins mustered just three wins in Chip's first year at the helm and have just four Ws to account for in 2019, with a shot at five if they defeat Cal on Saturday. A coach with Kelly's resume, regardless of the potential of his roster, should be producing better results. Luckily for him, he has buyouts to thank for him still having a job.

4. Will Muschamp, South Carolina

Will Muschamp standing in front of a crowd: South Carolina v Texas A&M © MinuteMedia South Carolina v Texas A&M

No, pulling off a road upset in Athens over Georgia is NOT enough to convince us that Muschamp deserves to keep his job. We are now two long years removed from the Gamecocks' 9-4 2017 campaign. Since then, Coach Boom has led South Carolina to records of 6-7, 7-6, and, most recently, 4-8 this year. They've been one of the nation's prototypical "this is finally the year" teams, and they just never deliever under Muschamp.

3. Steve Addazio, Boston College

a person standing in front of a crowd: Boston College v North Carolina State © MinuteMedia Boston College v North Carolina State

Can somebody please explain why Boston College is so accepting of mediocrity? It's felt as though the Eagles have needed a change of scenery for YEARS now. Across six seasons, Addazio has amassed a middling 43-44 record. He's literally the preeminent .500 coach, or, in other words, the Jeff Fisher of college football. In a lackluster ACC, that's just no good.

2. Clay Helton, USC

a man standing in front of a crowd: UCLA v USC © MinuteMedia UCLA v USC

Folks, there is a reason that USC is tabbed as the most alluring potential coaching opening in college football -- it's because Helton doesn't have much of a future. Urban Meyer rumors wouldn't be swirling if athletic director Mike Bohn wasn't already pondering moving on from Helton. He would've been gone yesterday if not for sky-high buyouts, but expect the Trojans to make it official in the near future.

1. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

Mark Dantonio standing in front of a building: Michigan State v Maryland © MinuteMedia Michigan State v Maryland

Mark Dantonio's inclusion here isn't an indictment on the illustrious resume he's built in East Lansing, but 13 years is a LONG time to remain at one program. The Spartans simply haven't sustained success in recent years, as 2017 marked the last time they won 10 games. They only won seven in 2018 and are on the verge of missing out on bowl eligibility this season. Sparty's recent shortcomings suggest new blood is needed.

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

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