College football Hot Seat Watch, Week 9: Mike London is burning

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia's head coach receives the dreaded vote of confidence.

Now Hiring

Last coach: Lane Kiffin
Interim coach: Ed Orgeron

Orgeron's Trojans lost to Notre Dame, 14-10, over the weekend, falling to 4-3 overall and 1-1 since the former Ole Miss head coach took the reins. After posting 38 points on Arizona in Orgeron's debut, the USC offense reverted to old form, managing just 5.9 yards per pass attempt and converting 2-of-13 third downs. Notre Dame took a four-point lead with 1:13 left in the first half, and nobody scored again. Even worse: Despite the fact that USC somehow outgained Notre Dame, its advantage was nullified by 11 penalties for 95 yards.

Ed is not getting this job. There's no timetable on when we will know who is.

Last coach: Paul Pasqualoni
Interim coach: T.J. Weist

I'm going to leave the discussion of UConn's 25-point loss to wayward Cincinnati to the good folks at The UConn Blog:

Two months from now, the 41-16 UConn-Cincinnati debacle, featuring eight allowed sacks, three thrown interceptions, 41 points allowed, 10 offensive points scored and a load of putrid offensive play, will hardly register in your memory.

Come mid-December, Warde Manuel will either be continuing his search for a new coach or charmingly wrapping up a press conference meant to introduce the next headman. The focus will be on the future, and anyone's reflections on this 2013 campaign, however it ends, won't include this game.

The Huskies still have games at Temple and against Memphis as possible wins, but when you've lost to Towson and Buffalo by a combined 44 points, you're going to be an underdog no matter who the opponent may be. This is not going to end well.

Miami (Ohio)
Last coach: Don Treadwell
Interim coach: Mike Bath

Miami lost to Akron, 24-17, over the weekend, falling to the bottom of the worst division in FBS football. In two games at the helm, Mike Bath is winless against two teams that are a combined 1-12 against all other opponents. Miami's remaining opponents are 24-13, and only one of them -- Kent State on Nov. 13 -- has lost a MAC game so far this year.

It begs the question: If there are only two winnable games left on the schedule and you don't have any built-in person to replace the head coach, why fire him before those two games? The RedHawks just virtually guaranteed themselves a winless season in a sport that doesn't get you a top draft pick, just to give an assistant an audition?

(Also, am I the only person desperate for a comfortable Miami victory just to see who uses "Bath Salts Away First RedHawks Win" as a headline?)


Mike London, Virginia

Last week: Lost 35-22 to Duke
Record: 2-5 (0-3 ACC)
Years: 4
Overall record: 42-31
School record: 18-26
Three-year record: 14-18
Salary: $2,556,460
Three-year dollars per win: $547,813
Buyout: $8 million
Football ratio: 21.3%
Subsidy: 16.2%



"I don't want there to be uncertainty about what I believe the future to be, which is with Mike London as our coach," Littlepage said....

Littlepage cited London's recruiting ability and commitment to the university, in addition to past accomplishments such as being named the 2011 ACC coach of the year and winning the 2008 Football Championship Subdivision national championship at Richmond, as reasons for the support he's receiving from the school's administration.

"He's done a lot of things that he thought were important for us in terms of adjustments to the coaching staff, some other things relative to the program that I think were important and will bear fruit for us," Littlepage said. "I support him, and I have supported him. Nothing has changed in that regard. . . . If there was uncertainty, it isn't because of anything other than somebody might have an agenda. I've been very clear."

Littlepage is correct that London's recruiting has been fantastic: Virginia has two in-state five-star prospects committed for 2014, though the rest of the class is fair to middling. But recruiting has always been London's claim to fame. He landed five four-star prospects in his first class, signed four more in 2012, and got five-star halfback Taquan Mizzell this February. And yet, London opened the season with 34 underclassmen on his two-deep. The fact is that London's recruiting has not been markedly better than his predecessor, Al Groh, and his results with those recruits have been significantly worse.

The bigger issue is London's buyout, which we have revised upward based on information from multiple sources. Not only is London owed $8 million if Virginia pulls the trigger, but his assistants are in line for another $3 million on top of that total. London fired defensive coordinator Jim Reid after last season and gave new coordinator Jon Tenuta a five-year contract. That's a bitter pill to swallow. When Littlepage references "adjustments to the coaching staff," this is what he has in mind.

If London stays, it's because Littlepage really believes that hiring the former head coach at N.C. State to run the offense and a well-traveled blitzmonger to manage the defense really will pay off in 2014. If he goes, it's because Littlepage doesn't trust London to make it work again. London's track record is starting to strongly suggest the latter.

Mack Brown, Texas

Last week: Off
Record: 4-2 (3-0 Big 12)
Years: 16
Overall record: 240-119
School record: 150-45
Three-year record: 21-11
Salary: $5,353,750
Three-year dollars per win: $764,821
Buyout: $2.75 million
Football ratio: 63.7%
Subsidy: None

Not much movement on the Mack Brown front this week. Texas had a week off to revel in its victory over Oklahoma. Mack has the Longhorns undefeated in the Big 12 and sitting in third overall in the conference (and there's little doubt that Texas has a talent advantage over Texas Tech). The next three weeks -- a trip to TCU this Saturday, followed by games against cellar-dwellers Kansas and West Virginia -- should give Brown even more breathing room, provided the Longhorns take care of business (a loss in any one of those three games restarts the doomsday clock). But it's the final three games -- home dates with Oklahoma State and Tech, and a trip to Baylor to close the season -- that will decide the conference and, with it, Brown's future.

Bo Pelini, Nebraska

Last week: Off
Record: 5-1 (2-0 B1G)
Years: 6
Overall record: 54-21
School record: 54-21
Three-year record: 24-9
Salary: $2,875,000
Three-year dollars per win: $359,375
Buyout: $4.5 million
Football ratio: 65.4%
Subsidy: None

There's been some pushback to my contention that Bo Pelini needs to win a Big Ten championship to survive until 2014. The argument is that a division title is a great achievement for Nebraska, and that making the head coach's position contingent on defeating a top-five Ohio State team that hasn't lost in two years is unrealistic. These arguments are logical, and would apply almost anywhere but Nebraska.

Alas, Nebraska fans are anything but logical about their football program. Ask Frank Solich, who was handpicked by Tom Osborne to continue his legacy. Here is a rundown of what Frank Solich did in his first four seasons: 42-9 overall record, three division titles, one conference championship, a national championship game appearance, a Fiesta Bowl win and three finishes in the AP poll top eight. Two years later, after going 9-3 and recording more wins in his first six seasons than either Osborne or Bob Devaney had, he was fired. "I refuse to let the program gravitate into mediocrity," the athletic director said. In the nine seasons since Solich's firing, Nebraska has yet to win a conference title, appear in a BCS bowl game, or lose fewer than four games in a season. Yet many Nebraska fans still believe it was the right move.

So we have a university athletic program completely dependent on football -- that football ratio is as high as you'll see anywhere -- with a fan base and administration that sees conference and national championships as their birthright. Not only has Pelini failed to deliver either of those things, but he openly, if not publicly, attacked them as bad fans. Getting past that hurdle is going to take more than just another nine-win division title and January trip to Florida. Pelini needs something extraordinary.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

Last week: Off
Record: 3-3 (0-2 SEC)
Years: 5
Overall record: 32-25
School record: 32-25
Three-year record: 18-14
Salary: $2,650,000
Three-year dollars per win: $441,667
Buyout: $675,000
Football ratio: 38.3%
Subsidy: 8.2%

Another coach who had an off week to test his seat's temperature, Mullen's predicament remains unchanged. His remaining schedule includes two likely wins: next week against Kentucky and the penultimate game at Arkansas. It also includes three near-certain losses: trips to South Carolina and Texas A&M preceding a home date with Alabama. Bowl eligibility, and likely his job, will come down to the Egg Bowl, as it does for so many coaches on both sides of that game.

Ron English, Eastern Michigan

Last week: Lost 56-28 to Ohio
Record: 1-6 (0-3 MAC)
Years: 5
Overall record: 11-44
School record: 11-44
Three-year record: 9-22
Salary: $360,517
Three-year dollars per win: $120,172
Buyout: $524,906
Football ratio: 23.9%
Subsidy: 83.6%

It was a bad week for Ron English. EMU wide receiver Demarius Reed was found shot and killed Friday, the victim of an apparent robbery in his apartment. Just hours later, his team took the field against Ohio. Despite getting 257 rushing yards on 23 carries from Bronson Hill, the Eagles could not keep up with the Bobcats' offense and eventually faded. EMU is now 1-6 on the year, winless in the MAC, and facing a road trip to Northern Illinois this weekend.

Ron English is a good man and probably a good football coach. He did an admirable job rallying his team after a tragedy Saturday. It's hard to find more than one win left on the Eagles' schedule, though, and four two-win seasons in five overall is probably going to mark the end of the line.


Medium is vacant this week.


Jim Grobe, Wake Forest

Last week: Defeated Maryland 34-10
Record: 4-3 (2-2 ACC)
Years: 14
Overall record: 110-109
School record: 77-77
Three-year record: 15-17
Salary: $2,254,798
Three-year dollars per win: $450,960
Buyout: $1.3 million
Football ratio: Unknown
Subsidy: None

Will the real Wake Forest please come forward? After a 49-point drubbing against Clemson left the Demon Deacons done for, they have responded with two impressive home wins against N.C. State (not a real contender) and Maryland (also probably not a real contender, but realer than N.C. State). Wake is now 4-3 and alone in third place in the ACC Atlantic. A trip to Miami this weekend could well end the impromptu winning streak, but Syracuse and Duke are eminently beatable, and an upset against Vandy in Nashville in the finale isn't out of the realm of possibilities. Six wins gets Wake a bowl trip, and a bowl trip likely gets Grobe another year.

Charlie Weis, Kansas

Last week: Lost 34-19 to Oklahoma
Record: 2-4 (0-3 Big 12)
Years: 2
Overall record: 38-42
School record: 3-15
Three-year record: 3-15
Salary: $2,500,000
Three-year dollars per win: $1,666,667
Buyout: $10 million
Football ratio: 17.5%
Subsidy: 4.6%

Any discussion of Weis' status begins and ends with that absurd buyout, a golden parachute so big that KU can't pull the ripcord. Yes, Weis is now 0-12 in Big 12 games. Yes, he has yet to win a game against an FBS opponent not coached by Skip Holtz. Yes, his decided schematic advantage has the Jayhawks 114th in scoring offense and nearly incapable of breaking 20 points. But Weis' recruiting philosophy -- raid the Kansas junior colleges and hope something sticks -- mirrors what Bill Snyder used to build a powerhouse at Kansas State two decades ago, his bosses are willing to wait on a program that means remarkably little to the athletic department budget, and none of this matters. Because $10 million matters.

Ron Turner, Florida International

Last week: Off
Record: 1-5 (1-1 CUSA)
Years: 1
Overall record: 43-66
School record: 1-5
Three-year record: 1-5
Salary: $500,000
Three-year dollars per win: $500,000
Buyout: $2.5 million
Football ratio: 30.3%
Subsidy: 80.3%

Like many of the nation's most embattled coaches, Turner had a week off. The Golden Panthers host Skip Holtz's Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Saturday. Loser goes medium next week.

Charley Molnar, UMass

Last week: Lost 32-3 at Buffalo
Record: 1-6 (1-2 MAC)
Years: 2
Overall record: 2-17
School record: 2-17
Three-year record: 2-17
Salary: $400,625
Three-year dollars per win: $400,625
Buyout: $1 million
Football ratio: Unknown
Subsidy: 81.9%

Speaking of "loser goes medium," UMass hosts the winless, penniless, destitute Western Michigan Broncos Saturday. A win would maintain the Minutemen's spot atop the bottom tier of the MAC East, which is probably enough to save Molnar. A loss could mean another 1-11 season in the offing, which makes his status a coin flip. It's a big game for both he and first-year WMU head coach P.J. Fleck.

And, yes, I mentioned P.J. Fleck just so I could include this video.

Drop a beat, DJ Ill Mix.

More from SB Nation college football:

Week 9 college football TV schedule: What to watch

Each BCS title contender’s chances of finishing perfect

The Grove is closed: Spencer Hall on fear and victory at Ole Miss

Miami decision shows NCAA overhaul can’t come soon enough

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