clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

College football Hot Seat Watch, Week 3: Knives out for Lane Kiffin, Mack Brown

USC doesn't have an offense, Texas doesn't have a defense, and Iowa's trying to find one or the other. Just another week on the Hot Seat.

Stephen Dunn

It was just a week ago that we said the early season Hot Seat Watch was merely an experiment, an exercise in prediction based on limited information. After all, UConn wasn't going to fire Paul Pasqualoni after one loss, no matter how bad that loss was.

That was a different world. That was a world where Lane Kiffin's USC Trojans were capable of winning a defensive battle with Mike Leach. That was a world where Mack Brown's Texas Longhorns didn't give up over 500 yards rushing to a team that lost to Virginia the week before. That was a world where Kirk Ferentz's Iowa Hawkeyes beat FCS also-rans by more than two touchdowns.

Things stopped being experimental in Week 2. Things got real.


Lane Kiffin, USC

Last week: Lost 10-7 vs. Washington State
Record: 1-1
Years: 4
Overall record: 33-20
School record: 26-14
Three-year record: 18-9
Salary: $2,406,505
Three-year dollars per win: $401,084
Buyout: Unknown, $4.8 million left on contract
Football ratio: Unknown
Subsidy: None

When the media and fans perceive you as a petulant child who rode your dad's success to one of college football's top jobs, just about the worst thing you can do is act childishly. Telling your quarterbacks to keep your decision on a starter for Week 2 a secret in the immediate aftermath of a less-than-stellar win over a non-BCS opponent is precisely the childish behavior to avoid. But Lane Kiffin can't help himself.

The only thing that might be worse for Kiffin would be losing the home opener against a conference doormat by having the aforementioned quarterbacks combine to go 11-for-21 for 54 yards passing. Maybe those quarterbacks could throw a pair of interceptions. Perhaps one of those could be returned for the doormat's only touchdown. More than 77,000 USC fans could boo the team off the field and serenade Lane with a "Fire Kiffin" chant loud enough to be heard in Santa Monica, and one of the city's most prominent columnists could write this:

This is no longer about the smoke and mirrors of deflated footballs and phony jersey numbers. This is about reality of defeats that are embarrassing to the program's rich tradition, a culture whose proud legacy is under the care of Haden, whose effectiveness is also now being seriously questioned.

And, with that, Lane Kiffin's seat is officially on fire.

Mack Brown, Texas

Last week: Lost 40-21 at BYU
Record: 1-1
Years: 16
Overall record: 234-118
School record: 147-44
Three-year record: 18-10
Salary: $5,353,750
Three-year dollars per win: $892,292
Buyout: $2.75 million
Football ratio: 63.7%
Subsidy: None

No team had ever run for 500 yards on the mighty Texas Longhorns until Saturday night. No FBS quarterback has run for more yards than the 259 that BYU's Taysom Hill hung on Texas Saturday night since Texas's own Vince Young put up 267 on Oklahoma State eight years ago. Texas was stomped by the Cougars Saturday, a methodical beatdown where BYU ran 72 times for 7.6 yards per carry. And when the underdog Cougars, who lost at Virginia in the season's opening week, took a second-quarter lead through Hill's second touchdown run of the night, there was no response from Texas. There was no response when Paul Lasike took a shotgun handoff, stiff-armed a defender, and extended the BYU lead to 10, or when Hill's third touchdown run early in the third quarter made it 34-14.

Brown has had an incredible run at Texas; the argument could be made that he is the most successful coach in program history, surpassing even the legendary Darrell Royal. But the fact remains that, since top lieutenants Will Muschamp and Greg Davis left at the end of the disappointing 2010 season, Texas has been a shell of its former self: 18-10 overall, 9-9 in the Big 12, 2-7 against top 25 opposition, and winless against Oklahoma.

The Vandals are at the gates of Austin. It feels like the last days of Rome.


Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

Last week: Won 28-14 vs. Missouri State
Record: 1-1
Years: 14
Overall record: 113-96
School record: 101-75
Three-year record: 12-15
Salary: $3,835,000
Three-year dollars per win: $958,750
Buyout: $16.94 million
Football ratio: 47.6%
Subsidy: 0.6%

Iowa fans took last week's loss to Northern Illinois surprisingly well, finding signs of improvement over last season's 4-8 trainwreck in the aftermath. A convincing win over Missouri State -- a team picked to finish eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference this season -- in anticipation of the Hawkeyes' trip to rival Iowa State -- which lost its own FCS game last week -- was just what the doctor ordered for a downtrodden fanbase that has started staying home on Saturdays.

What those fans got instead was a nailbiter. Iowa's offense managed just seven points in the first half, and was stopped in Missouri State territory four times in the second quarter alone. Iowa punted on three of those four possessions, including a punt on 4th and 2 at the Missouri State 37 that brought a rain of boos from the assembled masses. Iowa took a 21-0 lead through a pair of Mark Weisman touchdown runs in the third quarter, but a defensive breakdown got Missouri State on the scoreboard, and a Jake Rudock pick six on the next snap narrowed the lead to a single score. Rudock ran for his second score of the game four minutes later to restore the lead, but it was hardly impressive.

The Hawkeyes are not going to terminate Ferentz mid-season: Iowa has not fired a head coach since the 1970s, it has no built-in interim coach on staff, and it still cannot afford to pay Ferentz's buyout. But there is a point where it no longer makes sense to stick with this coach and these results, and the mass exodus from the stands -- there were more than 6,000 empty seats Saturday -- is the latest sign that this thing isn't working.

Bobby Hauck, UNLV

Last week: Lost 58-13 vs. Arizona
Record: 0-2
Years: 4
Overall record: 86-51
School record: 6-34
Three-year record: 4-23
Salary: $500,000
Three-year dollars per win: $375,000
Buyout: $1,000,000
Football ratio: 13.7%
Subsidy: 55.4%

If Hauck is going to get to bowl eligibility and keep his job, he's not taking the conventional route to get there. The Rebels were down 35-6 at the half against Arizona Saturday en route to their second consecutive blowout loss. UNLV is 125th nationally in scoring defense and 102nd in scoring offense through two weeks.

Hauck can turn it around, though. The Rebels host Central Michigan (see below) and Western Illinois in coming weeks, then start Mountain West play at New Mexico. If the Rebels can win those three games and surpass Hauck's win total in any of his three prior seasons in Vegas, they could find two more wins in an MWC schedule that does not include Boise State or Wyoming. Five wins would show marked improvement. Whether that's enough to save Hauck's job is another thing entirely.

Paul Pasqualoni, UConn

Last week: Off
Record: 0-1
Years: 3
Overall record: 151-91
School record: 10-15
Three-year record: 10-15
Salary: $1,600,000
Three-year dollars per win: $480,000
Buyout: 500,000
Football ratio: 27.8%
Subsidy: 27.2%

Pasqualoni's fortunes didn't change considerably this week. It could change completely next week: UConn hosts former head coach Randy Edsall and Maryland. Connecticut fans aren't exactly enamored with Edsall, and the good will Pasqualoni could engender with a win over the Terps might carry him through what looks like a certain loss to Michigan the following week. If UConn can somehow get to AAC play at 2-2 -- the Huskies close out their non-conference slate at Buffalo -- the conference is ripe for the taking, and the Huskies could still get to a bowl with relative ease. At UConn, that should be enough.


Jim Grobe, Wake Forest

Last week: Lost 24-10 at Boston College
Record: 1-1
Years: 14
Overall record: 107-107
School record: 74-75
Three-year record: 12-15
Salary: $2,254,798
Three-year dollars per win: $563,700
Buyout: Unknown, $14.5 million left on contract
Football ratio: Unknown
Subsidy: None

Nothing can heat a seat up faster than a listless, disorganized performance at Chestnut Hill. Grobe's run-first offense and run-stopping defense did neither on national television Thursday night, conceding 204 yards on 35 carries by Boston College's Andre Williams and managing just 55 rushing yards in response. Quarterback Tanner Price was somewhat effective (18/30, 191 yds., 1 TD, 1 Int.), but Wake was so deficient in talent that it didn't much matter.

Wake Forest has a firm grasp on its reality: It's the smallest school in the conference, with no serious football tradition to speak of. Grobe's recent run of results -- the Demon Deacons have finished above .500 in the ACC just once in the last five seasons -- doesn't justify the salary, but things could certainly be worse with someone else at the helm. A pair of wins against Louisiana-Monroe and Army in the next two weeks would do Grobe well.

Dan Enos, Central Michigan

Last week: Won 24-21 vs. New Hampshire
Record: 1-1
Years: 4
Overall record: 14-25
School record: 14-25
Three-year record: 11-16
Salary: $325,600
Three-year dollars per win: $88,800
Buyout: $900,000
Football ratio: 24.8%
Subsidy: 67.1%

New Hampshire had Central Michigan dead to rights Saturday, but the Chippewas scored 17 in the fourth, kicked a last-second field goal, and prevented their coach from moving up this list. It was still an unacceptable result for a fan base that expects MAC championships and 10-win seasons with some regularity, but the win gives Enos a chance to earn some stability next week at hapless UNLV.

Charley Molnar, UMass

Last week: Lost 24-14 vs. Maine
Record: 0-2
Years: 2
Overall record: 1-13
School record: 1-13
Three-year record: 1-13
Salary: $400,625
Three-year dollars per win: $1,201,875
Buyout: $1 million
Football ratio: Unknown
Subsidy: 81.9%

Charley Molnar took one of the toughest assignments possible last year, agreeing to become head coach of UMass for its transition into the MAC. It was an odd choice at the time -- Molnar had spent six seasons at the right hand of Brian Kelly and had no particular ties to UMass, a program that wasn't particularly good at the FCS level, but he would have his own team to build from scratch.

Last year's 1-11 record was slightly worse than expected, and a blowout loss to Wisconsin in this year's opener was inevitable. But losing handily to an FCS program from a state that used to be a part of your state? That gets you on the Hot Seat.

UMass has bodybag games against Kansas State and Vanderbilt coming up, then another run through a tougher-than-average MAC. Molnar will need two wins out of home games against Miami, Western Michigan, and Akron to show his bosses some return on their investment.

More from SB Nation:

Saturday’s full scoreboard

Did that loss seal Mack Brown’s fate?

And Lane Kiffin’s too, while we’re at it?

Improving Eminem’s bizarre Notre Dame-Michigan visit

The greatest FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN ever?

Today’s college football news headlines

The 36 best photos from college football's Week 2