Every spring new college football coaches, whether they were fired and got another job or left for greener pastures, attempt to ingratiate themselves with new fan bases.
The men on this list don’t have that luxury because they have fallen out of favor at their schools because of consistent losing or failure to meet expectations. Some enter the 2022 season lucky to still be collecting checks since their sideline performance has been mediocre.
As the coaching carousel makes another spin, winning is all that matters and if these multi-millionaires don’t succeed, programs will pony up millions more to show them the door.
Four of the coaches and teams featured below actually made bowl games in 2021, but none of them won. Not all of them will receive that dreaded pink slip because there is bound to be a surprise team capable of at least reaching bowl eligibility or even competing for a conference title.
Ten coaches squarely on the hot seat entering this fall:
Steve Sarkisian, Texas
For all the talk about Texas every single season, the Longhorns disappoint every single season. They finally hit rock bottom after a 5-7 mark in the 2021-2022, which included an overtime loss to Kansas. Armed with a top-notch recruiting class and with transfer Quinn Ewers in the fold, there are no excuses now for Sarkisian. Now that Lincoln Riley took his act out West things may finally be looking up in Austin. The measuring stick will come swiftly when Alabama pays a visit on Sept. 10. If things don’t change in a hurry, Texas will be back to firing coaches and starting over once again.
Scott Frost, Nebraska
Most coaches who have a losing record in four seasons at a once-proud university would have been long gone, but for some reason, Frost brings a 15-29 record with the Cornhuskers into the 2022 campaign. It’s obviously a now-or-never season for Frost and he made wholesale changes, includinggetting rid of nearly the entire offensive coaching staff. He will have experience at the quarterback position in Texas transfer Casey Thompson, who led the Big 12 in touchdown passes, and Chubba Purdy, who saw minimum action with Florida State.
David Shaw, Stanford
Here are the cold facts about Shaw. He is a good coach, the winningest in the program’s history. He knows it is tough to recruit at a place like Stanford and no one feels sorry for him. Shaw was used to getting the Cardinal to double-digit victories on an annual basis, something he hasn’t done since 2016. Last year’s team failed miserably in areas that used to be strengths: running the ball and stopping the run. The Cardinal were among the worst in the nation at both. Maybe the administration gives Shaw a reprieve, but losing, no matter where, won’t be tolerated for long.
Mike Norvell, Florida State
It’s possible that Florida State will return to national prominence sooner rather than later. It’s also possible that Norvell is not the coach to take them there. Losing to Jacksonville State of the FCS in 2021 doesn’t help. It has been a continuing rotisserie of coaches since the late Bobby Bowden left the sideline and Jimbo Fisher told Texas A&M he would be more than happy to take $75 million. Less than a decade ago, the Seminoles were one of the most talented teams in the nation. Now Norvell is fighting an uphill battle with recruits to stay amid a culture of undisciplined and erratic play on the field and not much buzz around the program off the field.
Herman Edwards, Arizona State
Besides the middling results on the field, Edwards is facing the NCAA investigation for alleged recruiting violations. His starting quarterback for the last three years, Jayden Daniels, hit the transfer portal. Once word got out of Daniels’ departure, upset teammates promptly trashed his locker and posted it on social media accusing him of abandoning the program. Edwards will also be without four assistants, including offensive coordinator Zac Hill, who resigned amid that investigation. Two other assistants were fired, accused of hosting recruits on campus during a COVID-19 dead period. The point may be moot by the time October rolls around as the Sun Devils face Oklahoma State, Utah, USC and Washington in the first month and a manageable $8 million buyout looms if he is let go before the end of the season.
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Dino Babers, Syracuse
After having his fifth losing campaign in six seasons at Syracuse, Babers gave insight to his team’s offseason plans: “We’re hitting the portal hard,” he said. At this point, what else is he going to say? It may have worked wonders last year for Michigan State, and in the ACC, where most years it’s Clemson and everyone else, everything is up for grabs. Plus, a mandate from athletics director John Wildhack to win more games probably means a bowl invite game at a minimum, and that accomplishment still may not save Babers.
Scott Satterfield, Louisville
In 2019, Louisville won eight games and Satterfield was named ACC Coach of the Year. Back-to-back seven-loss seasons quickly shred any momentum, and courting the South Carolina job after his second year also soured the fan base. As with most of the coaches on this list, it’s about recruiting and developing talent. The 2023 class is ranked in the top 10 nationally, so surviving another year would be helpful. Defensive improvement is sorely needed and quarterback Malik Cunningham might be the key to a successful campaign, as he has the arm and running ability to make life difficult for opponents.
Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech
The stats don’t lie if someone wanted to make a case for Collins not being the coach in 2023. Nine wins in three years, near the bottom in the ACC in total offense and total defense in 2021 (the defense intercepted three passes) more more than a dozen players hit the transfer portal after another dismal season. Collins’ problem may be two-fold: Recruiting and at least getting some talent that doesn’t commit to Georgia to play for Tech and the overall philosophy. If Paul Johnson can win a conference title with the triple option, then Collins really has no excuses for anything short of a bowl bid.
Karl Dorrell, Colorado
Maybe Mel Tucker saw the writing on the wall because after one season at Colorado, he jumped ship to Michigan State, leaving Dorrell to fend for himself with a roster that surprised folks in 2020, but just wasn’t good enough to compete in the Pac -12 South last season. The problem with the Buffaloes was injuries and generating anything that looked like a competent offense, scoring 20 points or less in 10 of their 12 games and being absolutely non-competitive when they traveled. Most administrations want to see progress from year to year and if that doesn’t happen this season, it would be hard to justify bringing him back for a fourth.
Bryan Harsin, Auburn
Where to begin? If your program had a plethora of transfers during the offseason, assistant coaches itching to leave just as fast and a near overthrow of the head coach, after he was accused of mistreating his players and staff, that coaching seat would be more than tepid. Harsin denied those allegations, but nearly two dozen players and five assistants left after his first season. The university investigated and decided to keep Harsin for at least one more year. If the Tigers don’t at least make the SEC Championship game (highly unlikely at this point), the powers that be at Auburn have no problem reaching into their pocketbooks to tell anyone underperforming with almost impossible expectations to exit stage left.
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