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College football hot seat watch, Week 3: The Big Ten and friends

Half of the Big Ten could be looking for new coaches by the end of the year. Will Muschamp is feeling the heat. Paul Johnson and Charlie Weis might not care if they survive. It's like the hot seat watch never left.

Leon Halip

Hot seat rating: Medium

Brady Hoke, Michigan

Last week: Defeated Miami (Ohio) 34-10
This year's record: 2-1 (0-0 B1G)
Record at Michigan: 28-14
Contract: $3.25 million through 2017
Buyout: $3 million

For a coach who exorcised the demons of Appalachian State and eventually buried its chosen MACrifice this past weekend, Brady Hoke is in deep water. Most if it stems from Michigan's catastrophic loss to rival Notre Dame in Week 2, a loss made especially bad by the fact that Notre Dame is canceling the series.

Fans voiced their displeasure with Hoke about the Notre Dame loss, which drew a really dumb response from Hoke:

If they're truly fans they'll believe in these kids and what they've done and the hard work that they've put in. If they're not, they won't.

And that is how you make yourself susceptible to get fired: underperform for a couple of years at a legendary program and belittle fans who don't like your performance as being unsupportive of the players. Hoke presumably has the support of athletic director Dave Brandon, who hired him, but Brandon's hand could be forced if "splotches of empty seats" turn into something more noticeable.

Tim Beckman, Illinois

Last week: Lost at Washington 44-19
This year's record: 2-1 (0-0 B1G)
Record at Illinois: 8-19
Contract: $1.7 million through 2016
Buyout: $1.7 million

Beckman put himself on alert before he had even coached a game at Illinois, sending his coaching staff to actively recruit Penn State's player dorm on the day that sanctions were announced against the Nittany Lions. Now those sanctions are gone, and yet Beckman remains firmly planted on one of the nation's hottest chairs. Beckman's record is abysmal, even by Big Ten standards, and his repeated public relations screwups have kept him in the news for the wrong reasons.

Beckman's Illini had to come from behind to beat Youngstown State and Western Kentucky before being throttled by Washington this weekend. And even though Texas State, Purdue, and Iowa all come to Champaign, it's still difficult to find a scenario in which the Illini improve on last year's 4-8 schedule, let alone get to bowl eligibility. Illinois has indicated it will be patient with the right coach, but it's feeling increasingly likely that Beckman isn't that coach.

Hot seat rating: Mild

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

Last week: Lost to Iowa State 17-14
This year's record: 2-1 (0-0 B1G)
Record at Iowa: 110-80
Contract: $4.08 million through 2019
Buyout: $11.9 million

Ferentz dropped yet another game against in-state rival Iowa State this weekend, his ninth since becoming coach of the Hawkeyes in 1999 (his predecessor, Hayden Fry, lost just four to the Cyclones in 20 years at the helm). Iowa's offense, which had been promoted in the preseason as restocked with playmakers, ranks 102nd nationally in scoring despite playing its first three games against Northern Iowa, Ball State, and the aforementioned Cyclones. One week before losing to Iowa State, the Hawkeyes needed two touchdowns in the final four minutes to beat Ball State. The natives are restless.

Still, Ferentz's seat remains lukewarm at best, due to the same things that saved him during a tumultuous 2012 campaign: his buyout is gargantuan, the athletic director is still in his corner, and a portion of the fan base believes it uncouth to fire the coach. Iowa just built a $55 million practice facility solely through donations, and the donor class is tapped out. And a ridiculously soft schedule, even by Big Ten standards, makes it unlikely that the season will go completely off the rails as 2012 did.

Will Muschamp, Florida

Last week: Defeated Kentucky 36-30
This year's record: 2-0 (1-0 SEC)
Record at Florida: 24-16
Contract: $2.73 million through 2017
Buyout: $7 million

Muschamp's team plays football like Iowa, but has almost none of the built-in advantages of Ferentz. He plays in the nation's most difficult conference, he is coming off one of the most disastrous seasons in the history of the program, and his buyout isn't a serious problem for Florida should it have to pull the trigger.

But Muschamp and Ferentz share one thing: the support of the current athletic director. That won't last long if Muschamp struggles in the SEC, and with a trip to Alabama this Saturday and five other ranked teams (including top-ranked Florida State) still on the calendar, that could well happen.

Charlie Weis, Kansas

Last week: Lost 41-3 at Duke
This year's record: 1-1 (0-0 Big 12)
Record at Kansas: 5-21
Contract: $2.5 million through 2016
Buyout: $5.7 million

Weis is still being paid more than $2 million a year by Notre Dame in addition to his Kansas salary, and has been coaching like a guy who is going to make millions regardless of success. Kansas barely beat Southeast Missouri State in its opener before being throttled by basketball rival Duke last week. Central Michigan comes to Lawrence next week -- the Jayhawks are favored by 4.5, somehow -- before a full Big 12 slate that includes trips to Oklahoma, Baylor, West Virginia, and rival Kansas State.

Kansas' leadership has never shown much foresight. The school fired the wildly successful Mark Mangino (amid controversy) just one season two seasons after he took the Jayhawks to the Orange Bowl, then gave replacement Turner Gill just two seasons before turning to Weis. Kansas seems equally likely to fire Weis next week as they are to sign him to an extension. Weis might be saved from being fired by his previous statement that he would not stay at the school any longer than his current contract. After all, there's no need to pay a buyout or extend Weis' contract if the problem will go away on its own in 27 short months.

Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Last week: Defeated Georgia Southern 42-38
This year's record: 3-0 (0-0 ACC)
Record at Georgia Tech: 50-32
Contract: $2.5 million through 2016
Buyout: $5 million

The Yellow Jackets have looked unimpressive in wins over Wofford, Tulane, and Georgia Southern, blowing a 25-point lead this weekend before coming back to knock off the FBS debutantes. Further, Johnson hasn't had much success since a 2009 Orange Bowl run, going just 31-25 in more than four seasons.

But the biggest issue is whether Johnson even wants to be at Georgia Tech. Bruce Feldman reported in January that Johnson was hoping Georgia Tech would buy him out of his contract. If he does have one foot out the door (he denied it), that wouldn't be a good thing, and with his recent results, Johnson could be on his way, whether he wants to be or not.

Kevin Wilson, Indiana

Last week: Lost at Bowling Green 45-42
This year's record: 1-1 (0-0 B1G)
Record at Indiana: 11-27
Contract: $1.3 million through 2017
Buyout: $1.7 million

It's Year 4 for Wilson in Bloomington, and the results are mixed at best. He's made Indiana one of the Big Ten's most entertaining teams, racking up huge chunks of yardage through the air. But Wilson has never figured out the defense, and the program's repeated difficulty with the same problems is wearing thin on a fan base already inclined to largely ignore the football team. If there's one thing that won't help a Big Ten coach already in trouble, it's losses to MAC programs.