Hot Seat Watch 2013: 19 college football coaches on our preseason watch list

Yes, we plan on using this image in our weekly Hot Seat Watch during the season. - Justin Bopp

No, we're not saying all of these coaches are about to be fired. We're just saying keep an eye on their thermometers. Also, who's the list missing?

We have a watch list for everyone from quarterbacks to centers, so Hot Seat Watch decided to join the fun. We have compiled a list of the nation's most embattled coaches, at least a few of which are going to lose their jobs this year.

Alphabetical order, except for Randy Edsall, whom we're using as our sample.

Randy Edsall, Maryland

Years (years in the program, including 2013): 3
Overall record (record as a head coach everywhere): 80-88
School record (record in the last three seasons with current program, including 2013): 6-18
Two-year record (we'll add 2013's results during the season): 6-18
Salary: $1.60 million
Two-year dollars per win: $802,000
Buyout: Reportedly $8 million
Football ratio (this is the percentage of the athletic department's overall revenue derived from football; the thought is that an athletic program that is dependent on football for a large percentage of revenue will tolerate losing less than an athletic program with revenue from other sources): 22.5 percent
Subsidy (the percentage of the athletic department's budget that comes from John Q. Taxpayer; the political pressure on a highly-subsidized program to avoid spending significant money on a buyout could keep an otherwise firable coach in his position): 25.3 percent
Last coach's tenure (can show whether the school has an itchy trigger finger, as well as the standard of competence for retaining the job): Fired after 10 years, 75-50 record

The cross-currents surrounding Edsall at Maryland make his 2013 a true toss-up. On the one hand, he replaced one of the most successful coaches in program history, inherited a team that had gone 9-4 the previous season, and immediately drove it into the ground while alienating the players, the fan base, and the donor class in one impressive swoop.

On the other hand, he is the hand-picked coach of an athletic director so cash-strapped that he left the only conference fans have ever known because Jim Delany gave him a bank bag with a dollar sign written on it. Edsall's 6-18 record over two seasons is atrocious, even by Maryland standards, made especially bad by the fact that Ralph Friedgen won at least 10 games in any two-year stretch. But his absurdly high buyout and the school's continued dependence on subsidized athletics have saved him so far.

Tim Beckman, Illinois

Years: 2
Overall record: 23-26
School record: 2-10
Two-year record: 2-10
Salary: $1.6 million
Two-year dollars per win: $1,600,000
Buyout: $2.1 million
Football ratio: 36.1 percent
Subsidy: 5 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 7 years, 34-51 record

Beckman wouldn't normally be in trouble after just one season. Illinois let Ron Zook stay after a pair of two-win campaigns to start his career in Champaign, and for another five years after that on the basis of one Rose Bowl appearance following a runner-up finish in the Big Ten.

It's what Beckman has done off the field that lands him on the list: Blatantly recruiting Penn State players in the dormitory parking lot was not a good move, and things haven't gotten much better from there. He's quite clearly in over his head, with Tim Brewster-like tendencies in public that don't do much to contradict that perception. He'll get this season, but he needs five wins and a clean nose if he's going to stay for a third.

Mack Brown, Texas

Years: 16
Overall record: 230-112-1
School record: 150-43
Two-year record: 17-9
Salary: $5.35 million
Two-year dollars per win: $944,779
Buyout: $2.75 million
Football ratio: 63.7 percent
Subsidy: 0 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 6 years, 41-28 record

Brown has, in many ways, created this monster. He's turned Texas into the nation's richest athletic department, dependent more than almost any other on football revenue. He rolled off a string of 10-win seasons never before seen in Austin, not even from the legendary Darrel Royal. He won a national championship in one of the greatest college games ever played. He's a legend at Texas.

He's also gone 11-15 in the Big 12 since Colt McCoy left Austin. He let longtime offensive coordinator Greg Davis resign following a 5-7 campaign in 2010, but improvement in the offense has been hard to find. The defense has struggled to find its footing since former coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp bolted for Florida. Texas hasn't beaten arch rival Oklahoma since 2009, losing the last three to the Sooners by a combined score of 146-58. And the Longhorns' other arch rival, Texas A&M, jumped ship for the SEC and holds much of the in-state recruiting momentum.

Most dangerous of all for Brown: That miniscule $2.75 million buyout. Texas makes that every time someone turns on the Longhorn Network.

Dave Christensen, Wyoming

Years: 5
Overall record: 22-28
School record: 22-28
Two-year record: 12-13
Salary: $1.20 million
Two-year dollars per win: $300,000
Buyout: $350,000
Football ratio: 31.4 percent
Subsidy: 50.3 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 6 years, 30-41 record

Christensen's done a fair job at Wyoming. He inherited a program that was not performing anywhere near expectations and made it respectable, at least on the field, in fairly short order. His 2011 team won eight games and played in the New Mexico Bowl, becoming the most successful Cowboys squad since 1998.

It's Christensen's off-field (or walking-off-the-field) antics that got him fined and suspended last season, and further meltdowns could lead to his dismissal. No athletic director wants to handle the media storm after his head coach drops multiple f-bombs on a service academy, especially when that coach then finishes 4-8 with blowout losses to Fresno State, Boise State, and San Diego State. Wyoming needs a return to six wins this year, and more importantly, it needs its coach to stay out of the news.

Ron English, Eastern Michigan

Years: 5
Overall record: 10-38
School record: 10-38
Two-year record: 8-16
Salary: $360,517
Two-year dollars per win: $135,194
Buyout: $524,906
Football ratio: 23.8 percent
Subsidy: 83.6 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 5 years, 16-42 record

English came into Eastern Michigan, one of the nation's greatest coaching graveyards, with a Lloyd Carr stamp of approval and the best wishes of the entire Michigan fan base. He's in danger of leaving it like everyone before him: Finished after five years of futility. Think about it this way: English went 6-6 (4-4) in 2011, one of the greatest seasons in program history. It was the first six-win season for EMU since 1995 and, had the Eagles pulled off an upset of NIU in the season finale, it would have been the program's first bowl trip since 1987.

Now process this: Even with that season, English has won only 10 games in four years.

English needs a minimum of five wins to wipe last year's two-win monstrosity off the books, and seven wins might be necessary to cement his job for 2014. The good news for him? He's one of the nation's worst-paid coaches, so he can probably get a pay raise if he becomes a coordinator again elsewhere.

This is not to say Ron English isn't trying very, very hard.

Dan Enos, Central Michigan

Years: 4
Overall record: 13-24
School record: 13-24
Two-year record: 10-15
Salary: $325,600
Two-year dollars per win: $97,680
Buyout: $900,000
Football ratio: 24.7 percent
Subsidy: 67.1 percent
Last coach's tenure: Quit after 3 years to take the job at Cincinnati

Below, I say the Quinn extension was "one of the nation's most perplexing," because Enos' 2012 extension doesn't make much more sense. Yes, he had a slight uptick in his third year, complete with a Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl appearance, but Enos inherited a 12-2 MAC juggernaut and immediately went 3-9 twice. Much like Quinn, he remains one of the nation's lowest-paid coaches, but has a buyout that should keep him in place if things trend south this season.

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

Years: 15
Overall record: 112-95
School record: 100-74
Two-year record: 11-14
Salary: $3.84 million
Two-year dollars per win: $1,045,909
Buyout: $16 million
Football ratio: 47.6 percent
Subsidy: 0.1 percent
Last coach's tenure: Retired after 20 years

Speaking of buyouts, there were 18 million reasons why Ferentz was untouchable after a 4-8 campaign and six-game losing streak. There remain 16 million reasons as 2013 opens. Ferentz's recent record is unimpressive: No coach has cost his program more per win over the last three years, Iowa has gone 3-9 in games decided by three or fewer points since 2010, and the 11-14 mark over the last two seasons hardly justifies the cost.

But Ferentz has endeared himself to Iowa fans and the Iowa administration by winning in the 2000s and cleaning up the program's once-frequent off-the-field problems in recent years. And while ticket sales are lagging slightly in 2013 -- good seats are still available for all three Iowa non-conference home games -- there has not been an exodus of fan support, either at the ticket window or on the internet.

Jim Grobe, Wake Forest

Years: 14
Overall record: 106-107-1
School record: 73-74
Two-year record: 11-14
Salary: $2.25 million
Two-year dollars per win: $614,945
Buyout: Unknown; max $14.5M
Football ratio: 38.5 percent
Subsidy: 0 percent
Last coach's tenure: Quit after 8 seasons

Grobe is Ferentz in miniature. He won 11 games and got tiny Wake Forest to the Orange Bowl in 2006, then parlayed that into interest from Michigan and a fat new contract extension with the Demon Deacons. Since that Orange Bowl season, it's been a slow fall back to mediocrity. Wake has only been bowling once since 2008, a trip to the Music City Bowl in 2011. Grobe is now one game under .500 with the program, and 16 games under in the ACC.

He also has five years left on a $2.25 million per year agreement at a school that doesn't have a history of firing coaches or spending money on athletics. He is also blessed by the Wake Forest basketball program, which is both far more important to the university's psyche and in far worse shape than his football program. As long as the heat stays there, it likely stays off Grobe.

Bobby Hauck, UNLV

Years: 4
Overall record: 86-49
School record: 6-32
Two-year record: 4-21
Salary: $500,000
Two-year dollars per win: $375,000
Buyout: Approx. $500,000
Football ratio: 13.7 percent
Subsidy: 55.4 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 5 years, 16-43 record

At least Bobby Hauck is self-aware. He told reporters earlier that he'll likely have to double his win total if he's going to get a fifth season in Vegas. That means a 6-6 record against a modest schedule -- no Boise State this year, for instance -- but Hauck has faced similar schedules the last three years and come up nearly empty. If there's a dead man walking this season, it's probably Hauck.

Doc Holliday, Marshall

Years: 4
Overall record: 17-20
School record: 17-20
Two-year record: 12-13
Salary: $612,000
Two-year dollars per win: $153,187
Buyout: $1.2 million
Football ratio: 31.1 percent
Subsidy: 49.6 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 5 years, 22-37 record

Holliday's buyout might make him too big to fail at a program that demands a 50 percent subsidy, and a cushy-soft schedule could theoretically get his Thundering Herd eight wins in 2013, but the fact remains that Holliday is only marginally better than his predecessor. A seven-win season and a return to bowling after a one-year hiatus would get him a fifth year.

Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Years: 5
Overall record: 148-65
School record: 40-27
Two-year record: 15-12
Salary: $2.45 million
Two-year dollars per win: $489,140
Buyout: Reportedly $10 million
Football ratio: 41.5 percent
Subsidy: 10.9 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 6 years, 44-32 record

Paul Johnson has won three division titles in five seasons, taken his team to the Orange Bowl as ACC champion, never finished with a losing record in the conference, and finally won a bowl game last year.

So why is his seat warm? For one, Georgia Tech hired a new athletic director in January, which is never a good sign for the sitting head coach. Furthermore, steady success hasn't sat well with Georgia Tech since George O'Leary left the program to be head coach of Notre Dame for five minutes. Georgia Tech had a coach who would go 7-5 every year before. It doesn't want another one now.

Throw in four straight losses to Georgia, and you have the recipe for a coach who needs more wins like this one last year over the next coach.

Lane Kiffin, USC

Years: 4
Overall record: 32-19
School record: 25-13
Two-year record: 17-8
Salary: $2.41 million
Two-year dollars per win: $424,677
Buyout: Unknown; max $4.8 million
Football ratio: Unknown
Subsidy: 0 percent
Last coach's tenure: Quit after nine seasons to go to the NFL

Kiffin inherited a program under sanctions, hardly a dumpster fire, but also hardly the program his predecessor, Pete Carroll, was running. He went 10-2 in his second season, winning the Pac-12 South and getting USC a completely undeserved No. 1 ranking headed into 2012.

Last year did not go well for Kiffin and his Trojans, but going 7-6 in one of the nation's top conferences as you come out of sanctions, with your star quarterback dinged up for most of the season, is hardly a fireable offense. So if Kiffin is truly coaching for his job in 2013, it's because he is an eminently unlikable figure who will get the benefit of no doubts after somehow always getting them over the last seven years.

Kiffin's also gotten a dreaded vote of confidence on multiple occasions already.

Mike London, Virginia

Years: 4
Overall record: 40-26
School record: 16-21
Two-year record: 12-13
Salary: $2.56 million
Two-year dollars per win: $639,115
Buyout: $2.0 million
Football ratio: 21.3 percent
Subsidy: 16.2 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 9 years, 59-54 record

Virginia didn't fire Al Groh only to have the new guy do the exact same thing, which is why London's in trouble entering his fourth season at Virginia. The Cavaliers finished 97th in the nation in scoring offense last season and lost eight of their final 10 games en route to a 4-8 record. Six of his 16 wins at Virginia have been against FCS or non-BCS conference opposition. His ACC record is horrendous for a league where everyone finishes 4-4.

He's a top recruiter in a loaded state, a class act, a role model for his players, and a great human interest story. But London's got to win, and soon, or he'll be mentoring a different group of players.

Dan McCarney, North Texas

Years: 3
Overall record: 65-100
School record: 9-15
Two-year record: 9-15
Salary: $543,300
Two-year dollars per win: $181,767
Buyout: $1.20 million
Football ratio: 60.6 percent
Subsidy: 49.7 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 4 years, 6-37 record

McCarney has already been markedly better than his predecessor at North Texas, but markedly better with a .375 winning percentage isn't likely to be good enough for boosters of a UNT program that fully expects to compete and win in Conference USA. Given the makeup of C-USA West after expansion and North Texas' historical position among those schools (the Mean Green beat the hell out of a lot of these programs in the Sun Belt in the early aughts), that isn't an unreasonable request.

George O'Leary, UCF

Years: 10
Overall record: 112-88
School record: 60-55
Three-year record: 15-11
Salary: $1.46 million
Three-year dollars per win: $292,329
Buyout: Up to $5 million
Football ratio: 31.4 percent
Subsidy: 54.7 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after six years, 36-30 record

O'Leary's place on this list has less to do with his record and more to do with the cloud that perpetually hangs over his head. O'Leary was notoriously at the helm when Ereck Plancher died during a summer practice. A jury eventually found UCF's coaching staff negligent in the player's death, resulting in a $10 million dollar verdict. O'Leary was also the head coach responsible for recruiting violations that got the school a temporary bowl ban.

Those two events are usually enough to get any coach the axe (at least Dennis Dodd thought so), so it was perplexing when UCF extended O'Leary's contract through 2017 this offseason and added a $5 million buyout. That is, it was perplexing until O'Leary had the best offseason imaginable. The NCAA shockingly overturned Central Florida's one-year bowl ban, and the $10 million verdict in the Plancher case was reduced to $200,000 on a technicality.

O'Leary's new contract includes a lucrative buyout clause, and given the amount of money the state of Florida is spending on UCF athletics, throwing $5 million at the 10-win head coach you just extended doesn't make much financial or political sense. Barring an implosion, either on or off the field, O'Leary should be safe.

Paul Pasqualoni, UConn

Years: 3
Overall record: 151-90
School record: 10-14
Two-year record: 10-14
Salary: $1.60 million
Two-year dollars per win: $480,000
Buyout: $1 million
Football ratio: 27.8 percent
Subsidy: 27.2 percent
Last coach's tenure: Quit; see Randy Edsall above

Can we just agree that Edsall to Maryland was terrible for everyone involved and move on? Edsall has crashed and burned in College Park, and Pasqualoni has been a disaster at a UConn program that was just on the upswing. He benefits slightly from UConn basketball, though that team has a new coach and a bit of momentum.

Connecticut wants a football program that is, if not a showcase, at least not an anchor around its feet while it tries to find its way into the ACC. Pasqualoni's not helping, and that buyout is pocket change.

Gary Pinkel, Missouri

Years: 13
Overall record: 163-98-3
School record: 90-61
Two-year record: 13-12
Salary: $2.70 million
Three-year dollars per win: $623,077
Buyout: Reportedly $1.05 million
Football ratio: 38.5 percent
Subsidy: 3.8 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 7 years, 33-46 record

Historically, Missouri fans will put up with a lot. Pinkel's predecessor, Larry Smith, never won more than eight games, finished under .500 in the conference five times, never made a bowl better than the Holiday, and still got seven seasons. Bob Stull got five years and never won more than four games. Woody Widenhofer was a disaster, going 12-31 over four seasons. Warren Powers was good, but got caught in a scandal. Pinkel is the best Missouri football coach since Dan Devine went 92-38-7 from 1958-70 and made three Orange Bowls.

So a slight blip on the radar for a coach who nearly won a national championship at the school shouldn't be cause for concern. It's just that the blip is getting bigger, that buyout is getting smaller, and the SEC is not a friendly place to coach when your job is on the line. Missouri should improve this season, if only because it has a better understanding of its opposition, and Pinkel should be safe barring a complete meltdown.

Jeff Quinn, Buffalo

Years: 4
Overall record: 9-27
School record: 9-27
Two-year record: 7-17
Salary: $325,000
Two-year dollars per win: $139,286
Buyout: $1.25 million
Football ratio: 22.6 percent
Subsidy: 73.2 percent
Last coach's tenure: Quit after 4 years to take the job at Kansas

Jeff Quinn was the recipient of one of the nation's most perplexing contract extensions at the close of last season, an extension that kept him as one of the nation's lowest-paid coaches but put a massive buyout clause in place that is almost unpalatable for Buffalo, which relies on the state for nearly three-fourths of its athletic funding. It was a status quo extension: You don't give me any more money, but you guarantee me two more years.

With that said, if Buffalo is going to return to the heady days of Turner Gill, now is the time. The Bulls return 17 starters from a team that won three of its final four games in 2012. Buffalo's defense should be one of the best mid-major units in the nation, and the wealth of experience bodes well for their chances in the MAC East. Quinn's extension might have been for two years, but this season should determine whether he sees it out.

Steve Sarkisian, Washington

Years: 5
Overall record: 26-25
School record: 26-25
Two-year record: 14-12
Salary: $2.43 million
Two-year dollars per win: $519,643
Buyout: $5.67 million
Football ratio: 56.1 percent
Subsidy: 3.7 percent
Last coach's tenure: Fired after 4 years, 11-37 record

That last line is why Sarkisian isn't in serious jeopardy: His predecessor, Tyrone Willingham, was so horrendous that Sark looks great by comparison. Three straight 7-6 finishes with 5-4 conference records and middling bowl games have some Washington fans grumbling, but Sarkisian is also in the third year of a five-year deal with a prohibitive buyout and a program that knows it can do much, much worse.

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