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College football hot seat watch: Who's next after Will Muschamp?

The inevitable Big Ten Whack-a-Mole season approaches, as some familiar faces return to the firing line.

Will Muschamp's seat officially boiled over Saturday, following an overtime loss to South Carolina that dropped the Gators to 5-4 on the season and 9-12 over the last two years. He'll leave after two more games, with replacement rumors already arriving. But as one hot seat reaches the boiling point, others are still rising.

Hot seat rating: Sriracha-tipped cruise missile

Brady Hoke, Michigan

Last week: Idle
This year's record: 5-5 (3-3 Big Ten)
Record at Michigan: 31-18
Contract: $3.25 million through 2017
Buyout: About $3 million

Hoke's dismissal has been a foregone conclusion for so long now that it almost feels like he's being ignored, and the Wolverines winning three of their last four certainly doesn't hurt. But Hoke has been effectively fired since September, and the resignation of Dave Brandon only made that more certain. Could Michigan beat Maryland and Ohio State in the season's final two weeks, make a bowl, and pull a late December upset? Sure. Would it matter? Doubtful.

Tim Beckman, Illinois

Last week: Lost to Iowa 30-14
This year's record: 4-6 (1-5 Big Ten)
Record at Illinois: 10-24
Contract: $1.7 million through 2016
Buyout: About $1.7 million

Bowl eligibility has always been the watchword for Beckman's third season at the helm in Champaign. Last week's home loss to reeling Iowa made the Illini's task extremely difficult. Illinois needs to win next week's home finale against Penn State, then beat rival Northwestern in Evanston and hope it's enough for a postseason spot. None of those things look likely, and Beckman's termination could come just moments after his team's next loss.

Illinois fans started talking replacements more than a month ago.

Hot seat rating: Thermal underwear in the Sahara

Kevin Wilson, Indiana

Last week: Lost to Michigan 34-10
This year's record: 3-7 (0-6 Big Ten)
Record at Indiana: 13-33
Contract: $1.2 million through 2017
Buyout: About $1.7 million

Wilson is staring in the face of a winless Big Ten season, his second in four seasons at Indiana. We're not even going to entertain the possibility that the Hoosiers upset Ohio State this weekend, but if they are able to beat rival Purdue in the season finale, they would push Wilson's four-year Big Ten record to 6-26. Bill Lynch was 6-26 when Indiana fired him after four seasons. Wilson's teams are entertaining, but there's no winning record, no bowl trip, and no sign of an upward trajectory for the Hoosiers. It's likely over.

Mike London, Virginia

Last week: Idle
This year's record: 4-6 (2-4 ACC)
Record at Virginia: 22-37
Contract: $2.4 million through 2016
Buyout: About $5 million

Mike London is set to receive $750,000 from Virginia in January as a "longevity bonus." The kicker: He gets it regardless of whether he is still employed by Virginia at that time. It's looking increasingly likely that the longevity bonus will be given ironically, as London's Cavaliers have dropped four straight ACC games and look increasingly likely to post a second consecutive 4-8 record.

London will have just two seasons left on his contract when the season ends, and it's likely that Virginia will have to either let him go or extend his contract. Ten wins in three years makes that decision easy.

Hot seat rating: Sunny with a chance of fireballs

Al Golden, Miami

Last week: Lost 30-26 to Florida State
This year's record: 6-4 (3-3 ACC)
Record at Miami: 28-19
Contract: $2.15 million through 2019
Buyout: Unknown; about $11 million owed

Miami's administration has given Golden some slack, given that the former Temple coach inherited a program under sanctions and has stayed for four seasons. But Miami president Donna Shalala is stepping down this summer, and the Hurricanes broke in a new athletic director last year. A completely new administration could well mean a new head coach, especially with the Hurricanes not winning a lackluster ACC division.

Golden does have a parachute: Virginia and Pitt are still left on the schedule, and eight wins should be enough to keep the wolves at bay.

Paul Rhoads, Iowa State

Last week: Idle
This year's record: 2-7 (0-6 Big 12)
Record at Iowa State: 29-43
Contract: $1.8 million through 2022
Buyout: About $6 million

It's frequently argued that Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz's contract is the worst in college football. We might be at the point where it is no longer the worst contract in the state of Iowa. Rhoads signed a 10-year extension after his third season in Ames, then watched his record tank two years later when the last of Gene Chizik's recruits had finally left the program. The Cyclones are now the holders of the conference's longest losing streak after losing by 20 to Kansas two weeks ago.

This week's home game against Texas Tech gives them a chance to break that streak, but bowl eligibility has long since sailed, and the only things standing between Rhoads and the abyss are a reservoir of post-Chizik goodwill and that $6 million buyout.

Hot seat rating: Wait, we're doing this again?

Bo Pelini, Nebraska

Last week: Lost 59-24 at Wisconsin
This year's record: 8-2 (4-2 Big Ten)
Record at Nebraska: 66-26
Contract: $2.875 million through 2018
Buyout: About $4.5 million

It looked like Pelini had finally cracked the code and would go through an entire season without his job security being questioned. And then Melvin Gordon unleashed hell on the Huskers Saturday, and Pelini was left to explain yet another 30-point loss to the Badgers. Suddenly, the local media, which Pelini had previously blamed for spreading negativity around the Nebraska program, fired back:

There are no more words. There are no more excuses. There's only a Nebraska football program that can't stop spinning its wheels, keeps driving itself into the same ditch.

Bo Pelini was supposed to be the tow truck. But seven years later, NU is still stuck, maybe more than ever. And it's obvious Pelini doesn't know how to get it out.

It only got worse from there:

Bo Pelini's team didn't just lose the biggest game of the season by 35 points. It didn't just lose any realistic shot at a Big Ten West title. It lost all credibility and dignity. Friday the Huskers were still considered a candidate for the college football playoff. Saturday they were a laughingstock.

The refrain remains the same: Pelini's teams rack up wins over cupcakes but don't deliver in big games. The Huskers have only beaten one ranked opponent in the last three seasons; only this season's five-point defeat at Michigan State was within 10. Wisconsin and Ohio State have both administered prime-time beatdowns of 20+ points in recent years, and Wisconsin has now done it twice.

Corn Nation: Someone has to be fired

If Pelini didn't do enough to get fired last year, he certainly hasn't done enough this year, but the cumulative effect of those losses could cost him nonetheless. Nebraska is a program that has not won a conference championship this century, yet carries itself as a national contender. Pelini hasn't gotten them over the hump, and Husker donors might try someone else.

Already available

Buffalo, after Jeff Quinn's firing

Florida, with Will Muschamp leaving after two more games

Kansas, unless interim Clint Bowen keeps the job

SMU, after June Jones' exit

Troy, with Larry Blakeney retiring