Hot seat rating: Nuclear habanero inferno
Will Muschamp, Florida
Last week: Lost 26-20 to Georgia Southern
Record: 4-7 (3-5 SEC)
Overall record: 22-15
School record: 22-15
Three-year record: 22-15
Buyout: $8 million
Football ratio (percentage of the athletic department's overall revenue derived from football): 58.9%
Subsidy (percentage of the athletic department's budget that comes from John Q. Taxpayer): 3.5%
Dreaded vote of confidence? Yes.
Florida lost to Georgia Southern at home Saturday, an upset that would've entered the pantheon of Appalachian State-Michigan if it had occurred earlier in the season. With it, Muschamp assured the first under-.500 season in Gainesville since 1979. The season ends next week with a visit from No. 2 Florida State, and no team has ever beaten No. 2 the week after losing to a school whose name sounds like a railroad from a Drive-By Truckers song.
Let's check in on what the more reasonable members of the media are saying. Bruce Feldman?
Heard this wk from a source that #UF would make changes,canning OC & OLine coach. After losing today I wonder if Muschamp also is forced out— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) November 23, 2013
Noted Gator fan Spencer Hall?
No need, will explode on his own. RT @IsaacTM Serious question: Does he get fired if UF loses?— Spencer Hall (@edsbs) November 23, 2013
[Florida AD Jeremy] Foley is a hard charger who is unafraid to make a change. He whacked Ron Zook halfway through his third season at Florida in 2004.
Zooker was 22-14 at Florida. Muschamp is 22-15. And, taking a six-game losing streak up against No. 2 Florida State next week, he is trending strongly in the wrong direction.
I like Muschamp personally. But if it were my call, I'd thank him for his service and hand him a buyout check. This loss is a deal breaker.
This will be in the first paragraph if and when Will Muschamp is fired, will be part of the first paragraph in an argument against Muschamp in a column, on a blog, or in a message board, and will probably be the low point mentioned when Florida's eventual rise back to prominence - it will happen - merits fawning profiles. It is seismic, and it probably changed the fates of some members of Florida's coaching staff, changed the minds of some recruits, and shook the faith of many fans.
I believed Foley would stand by Muschamp before, but this is impossible for a coach to come back from.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 23, 2013
You really can't cram into 140 characters how bad that loss is for Florida and Muschamp.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) November 23, 2013
There comes a point where an athletic director's support of a football coach puts his own job in jeopardy. Losing to a down-on-its-luck FCS team is usually that point. Foley is reportedly sticking by his hire, but it's hard to see how that's even a choice.
Hot seat rating: Muy caliente
Mike London, Virginia
Last week: Lost 45-26 at Miami
Record: 2-9 (0-7 ACC)
Overall record: 42-35
School record: 18-30
Three-year record: 14-22
Buyout: $8 million
Football ratio: 21.3%
Dreaded vote of confidence? Yes, Twice.
Saturday's loss to Miami ensures that this will be London's worst season in Charlottesville, an impressive feat given that two of his first three ended in 4-8 records.
The Cavaliers get Virginia Tech in next week's finale and will need a massive upset to avoid their first 10-loss season since 1981. A win would get London's squad a 3-9 record, which matches Al Groh's 2009 record. Groh was fired by athletic director Craig Littlepage in 2009. Virginia is one of only two BCS-conference teams to rank in the nation's bottom 25 in both scoring offense and scoring defense.
To be fair, Groh's 2010 recruiting class sucked in comparison to London's 2014 haul. The Cavaliers have a pair of blue-chip recruits on their way next year, defensive back Quin Blanding and defensive tackle Andrew Brown. In fact, the one positive bit of news for London this week was that Brown signed his financial aid papers to enroll in January, meaning he's eligible for spring practice and definitely coming to Virginia next year. Littlepage has cited the recruiting class as a reason to retain London, and every recruit who stays on the ship over the next month gives London a better chance of staying.
There's not much left to say about the Virginia situation. The dye has long since been cast for this year; the only question left is whether London deserves another. By almost any objective on-field measure, that answer is no, but these decisions are made by athletic directors who are usually far from objective and sometimes focused away from the field.
Kyle Flood, Rutgers
Last week: Lost 41-17 at Central Florida
Record: 5-5 (2-4 AAC)
Overall record: 14-9
School record: 14-9
Three-year record: 14-9
Football ratio: 31.9%
Dreaded vote of confidence? His AD might need one of her own.
Things fall apart.
Rutgers lost its fourth game in the last five, all four by at least two touchdowns. The only win in that span: a three-point, last-second victory over the lowly Temple Owls, the same team that just handed UConn its first win of the season. Flood's defensive coordinator is under fire for allegedly bullying a player, and his already-embattled athletic director -- an athletic director that did not hire him -- is claiming the allegations came from an imposter. His top-rated recruiting class, once a source of optimism for supporters, has evaporated in the span of two weeks. Last week, Flood still had his top prospect:
Flood has a stud - Tyler Wiegers of Detroit - in his current class. The four-star recruit has not wavered on his verbal commitment, unlike the five others that have turned Rutgers' message boards into a hot cauldron of panic and rage.
Flood's record, in and of itself, is probably not enough to justify his termination. But this is a program in open, sustained chaos. And with Rutgers jumping to the Big Ten next year, the last thing Rutgers wants is chaos. If Herman is forced by results or off-field issues to clean house, that will be the end of Flood.
Mack Brown, Texas
Last week: Off
Record: 7-3 (6-1 Big 12)
Overall record: 240-120
School record: 147-46
Three-year record: 24-12
Buyout: $2.75 million
Football ratio: 63.7%
Dreaded vote of confidence? Yes
Nothing new for Mack Brown this week, though his team's loss to Oklahoma State looks slightly better, given Baylor's performance against the Cowboys Saturday night. The Longhorns play Texas Tech on Thanksgiving night, then travel to Waco. Fans are not going to be happy with a loss in either, and Texas could lose both. We'll know more next week.
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
Last week: Off
Record: 4-7 (2-6 Big 12)
Overall record: 21-16
School record: 21-16
Three-year record: 21-16
Buyout: $11.3 million
Football ratio: 33.0%
Dreaded vote of confidence? No.
If Mack Brown got a bit of a boost from Oklahoma State's win Saturday, Holgorsen took a hit when Kansas -- who beat West Virginia last week -- got pounded 34-0 by lowly Iowa State Saturday night. But Holgo's future has less to do with perception of his wins and losses -- he handed Oklahoma State their only loss of the season, after all -- and more to do with trajectory. West Virginia is 4-13 in its last 17 games against FBS opponents, a staggering fall from grace for a program that showed Bill Stewart the door for having the audacity to win nine games every year.
The surprising thing? A week after the disastrous loss to Kansas, West Virginia fans are showing shocking patience. All eight writers polled at The Smoking Musket think he should get another season or two. Two seasons! Perish the thought!
Time will tell if Holgorsen is the right person to lead this program long term. How will we know if we don't give him that time? I think he deserves at least a full recruiting cycle which means another 2 years, as long as there is clear improvement next season, whether that be by increased competitiveness or outright wins.
Oliver Luck picked Holgo, and it will be Oliver Luck that decides his future. He could well chalk this season up to the rebuild and let Holgo stay around. But a potential 4-8 record, rebuild or no, gives him the right to consider pulling the plug.
Mid-majors on Muy Caliente
Norm Chow, Hawaii
Charley Molnar, UMass
There has been a modicum of progress on the Hawaiian Islands: Hawaii lost in overtime at Wyoming, their second consecutive overtime loss and fifth one-possession loss of the season. After struggling on the road all year, Hawaii put up a fight in its final trip to the mainland this year. It's an impossible job, and Chow is a big name for it. But winless is winless, and both sides might decide it's time for something else.
Molnar's Minutemen were shut out by Central Michigan Saturday and are virtually assured of a second consecutive one-win season. It was the 10th time in 11 games that UMass failed to score 20 points, and the fourth time in the last five contests that an opponent has scored 30 or more. And if Molnar can't find more than one win among the dregs of the most dregs-heavy conference in the country, it could be time. It's never going to get easier than this year's MAC.
Hot seat rating: Spicy
Bo Pelini, Nebraska
Last week: Defeated Penn State 23-20
Record: 8-3 (5-2 B1G)
Overall record: 57-23
School record: 57-23
Three-year record: 27-11
Buyout: $4.5 million
Football ratio: 65.4%
Dreaded vote of confidence? Does one from Ron Zook count?
Pelini has made himself a master of winning close games. The Huskers' overtime victory in Happy Valley Saturday was their ninth one-possession win in three Big Ten seasons and third in four weeks. Those have included a Hail Mary against Northwestern, a last-minute go-ahead touchdown against Michigan, and a serious case of #COLLEGEKICKERS Saturday.
The bigger issue for Pelini has always been the manner in which he loses games; namely, by huge margins to teams that don't appear to be THAT much better than his. In those same three seasons, Nebraska has lost 11 games. The average margin in those losses: 19 points. Just two games were lost by fewer than seven points. It's fed the perception that Nebraska can win any game if it merely shows up, but inexplicably takes four games a season off.
A home loss to Iowa next week or a bowl defeat would mean another four-loss season, the same fate of every Pelini team of the last six years. And stagnation will kill you at Nebraska. He might survive, but I wouldn't bet on it.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Last week: Defeated Arkansas 24-17
Record: 5-6 (2-5 SEC)
Overall record: 34-28
School record: 34-28
Three-year record: 20-17
Football ratio: 38.3%
Dreaded vote of confidence? No.
Steady as she goes for Mullen and the Bulldogs. The overtime win in Fayetteville might have been a bit closer than fans would have liked, but Mississippi State stays alive for the postseason. Beat Ole Miss this week and get to a bowl game and all is forgiven. Lose to the hated Rebels and miss out on a bowl trip, and there could be some explaining to do.
Tim Beckman, Illinois
Last week: Defeated Purdue 20-16
Record: 4-7 (1-6 Big Ten)
Overall record: 27-33
School record: 6-17
Three-year record: 6-17
Buyout: $2.1 million
Football ratio: 36.1%
Dreaded vote of confidence? Something like that.
As expected, Illinois broke the nation's longest conference losing streak Saturday with a win over Purdue. The win snaps a six-game skid and gives the Illini a chance at five victories against reeling Northwestern this weekend. The Illini remain cash-strapped enough to make paying Beckman's $2.1 million buyout prohibitive. If he can get a win over the Wildcats and salvage a modicum of respectability from this season, he gets a third year. If not, we'll be back here next week.
Mid-Majors on Spicy Seats
Garrick McGee, UAB
Rich Ellerson, Army
Ron Turner, Florida International
Todd Monken, Southern Miss
McGee's Blazers damn near beat conference co-leader Rice Thursday night, falling in overtime. It's now been more than a calendar year since UAB beat an FBS opponent at home, though, and the Blazers need to sell something if they are ever going to graduate from decrepit Legion Field and into something fans will want to visit. Beating Southern Miss Saturday would be a good first step.
Speaking of which, we have a VOTE OF CONFIDENCE SIREN for Todd Monken at Southern Miss:
"In time, (Southern Miss football) will win and will be a force again," the message read. "Journey back going to be result of consistent, focused and outstanding leadership (in place with Todd Monken); excellent coaching; the maturation and development of every player currently in our program; the successful recruitment and development of 25 more good players in 2014; continued investment and acute attention to detail in every facet of the program. Repeat the following year.
"Hunker down. There are no short cuts. We will prevail #SMTTT"
Monken probably survives -- athletic director Bill McGillis does not want to be known as the guy who fired back-to-back first-year coaches, for one thing -- but Southern Miss will not be allowed to go winless for long.
Turner, who shares a C-USA division with McGee and Monken, watched his team get dismantled by Marshall Saturday and faces a trip to a rejuvenated OWLCATRAZ this weekend. If Pete Garcia can find the $2 million needed to buy him out, he should be packing his bags. That buyout is especially prohibitive, though.
Nothing new for Ellerson. Army had the week off. There's a trip to Hawaii Saturday, then the all-important Army-Navy game on December 14. He needs wins in both.
Hot seat rating: Medium
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
Last week: Lost 28-21 to Duke
Record: 4-6 (2-5 ACC)
Overall record: 110-112
School record: 77-80
Three-year record: 15-20
Buyout: Unknown; $9 million left on contract
Football ratio: Unknown
Dreaded vote of confidence? No.
We are at the point in the year where a coach not in the immediate crosshairs is increasingly safe, especially when he is at a school with modest goals and tied to a massive contract. Grobe's squad lost to Duke Saturday when it was unable to muster a single fourth-quarter touchdown to tie things up. The loss means that Wake will miss a bowl for the fourth time in five years. The Demon Deacons' likely four-win finish -- they play Vanderbilt in the finale -- would be the program's worst record since 2010.
If Grobe returns he'll be the only returning FBS coach with 5 straight losing seasons.— Jake (@BloggerSoDear) November 23, 2013
The thing is, Grobe survived that 2010 season. He also survived a 6-7 record in 2011 and 5-7 in 2012. There's a ton of money on his contract, and the athletic director is receiving criticism for the sorry state of once-mighty Wake Forest basketball far more than he's hearing it for the usually-middling football program. Grobe will likely have a rather uncomfortable meeting in the next couple of weeks, but he likely stays.
Kevin Wilson, Indiana
Last week: Lost 42-14 at Ohio State
Record: 4-7 (2-5 Big Ten)
Overall record: 9-26
School record: 9-26
Three-year record: 9-26
Buyout: $2 million
Football ratio: 34.1%
Dreaded vote of confidence? No.
As expected, Indiana was throttled by Ohio State and knocked out of postseason contention. Indiana should beat Purdue next week to finish 5-7. Looking at the Hoosiers' schedule, that isn't half bad: Indiana's losses are to five teams that were ranked last week (OSU, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan State, and Missouri), as well as Michigan and Navy. Wilson has enough of a core returning that he can pitch the need for a fourth season. Expect a serious staff shakeup, though, starting with a defense that has given up 35 or more points in the last six games.
A loss to Purdue throws all of this out the window, though. That game is as must-win as it has ever been.
Mid-majors on Medium
Justin Fuente, Memphis
Troy Calhoun, Air Force
Not much to report on the mid-major watch. Memphis nearly mounted an incredible comeback against Louisville but fell a touchdown short. There are two winnable games left on the Tigers' schedule: Temple at home next Saturday, with a trip to UConn to close out the year. A split keeps Fuente safe.
Calhoun's Falcons lost to UNLV this week, and the question remains whether a two-win season can get Air Force to fire a head coach for the first time in more than 30 years.
But Hot Seat Watch wants to take a moment to congratulate UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck, who entered the season as one of the nation's most embattled coaches, set an improbable mark of bowl eligibility as the standard for keeping his job, then hit it. Congrats, Coach. You're safe.