The ups and down of a season coincide with the rollercoaster movement of recruiting, and while relationships play a key role in recruiting, wins and losses become a key factor when a coach’s job status is in question.
And in the instance of a handful of coaches this fall, not enough wins means their athletic director or president will be looking for a new coach in December.
There was plenty of turnover the last two years, and though that will give some coaches time to build a program despite losing this season, the failure to reach expectations has already cost Charlie Weis his job at Kansas, and June Jones resigned his position at SMU.
However, there are a bunch of coaches still on the hot seat, and Scout has a look at the five whose seats are burning the most.
5. Al Golden, Miami
Miami hasn’t been "The U” for a while, and Golden isn’t to blame. He has been hampered by sanctions, but things are now messy in Coral Gables. Ex-players are unhappy with Golden and his staff. Worse, kids are getting in trouble and the wins are not coming,
Golden is 27-18 in his four–plus seasons at Miami, but he is 7-6 in the month of November and the ability to finish strong or beat quality teams are two questions marks about his tenure. Also, if the Hurricanes have a strong finish, don’t be surprised if other schools start looking his way, and he could reciprocate the interest.
4. Tim Beckman, Illinois
The 49-yard-old Beckman is only in his third season at Illinois, but things certainly are not moving in the right direction. Yes ,the Illini are 4-4 this season, but wins over Youngstown State, Western Kentucky and Texas State do not have Illinois alums boasting about a return to being competitive.
Beckman is 10-22 and in his third season, and while coaches are usually given more time to win, things are not trending well for the Illini. Beckman has to answer for a 2-18 record in the Big Ten, with the wins coming against lowly Purdue and this past week against Minnesota.
It’s unrealistic to believe Illinois can return to the level of 2001 when coach Ron Turner took the Illini to its last Big Ten title, but the school should at least be contending for a bowl berth. It needs two wins against Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State and Northwestern to get to a bowl.
3. Norm Chow, Hawaii
The whole Hawaii program is actually on the hot seat because funding and support from the administration has made the situation a mess. It wasn’t that long ago June Jones had the Warriors playing in a BCS game. Now the program is in peril.
Chow, 68, took the job knowing it was an epic challenge to be competitive and progress has not been made. He is 6-26 in his third season after the Warriors won at least 10 games in three of the previous six seasons.
Making it more difficult is that Chow is from Hawaii – he attended Honolulu Punahou – and it was believed his return there would signal a move to stability and a homey feel.
If Hawaii gets rid of Chow, will it get rid of the program? If not, would any rising coach entertain thoughts of coaching the Warriors?
2. Brady Hoke, Michigan
The recruiting class is imploding, but that is nothing compared to the on-field performance of the Wolverines. Yes, Hoke went 11-2 in his first season, but that was with players recruited by former coaches Lloyd Carr and Rich Rodriguez.
As Hoke’s stamp on the program becomes more and more evident, the on-field product is deteriorating. Going 8-5 and 7-6 the last two seasons already brought rumblings, and this season’s 3-4 start, and beginning Big Ten play with an 0-2 record for the first time since man walked on the moon, brought the heat up significantly.
Factor in the Shane Morris concussion debacle, the need for Michigan to overhaul how injuries are handled within a game, criticism of Hoke for not wearing a head set (why would he want direct communication with his assistants sitting in the coaching box through a game?) and the fact that an ugly loss to Ohio State could come at the end of the season and it is simple to see why he is so high on the list.
Was there any doubt Muschamp would get the top spot?
It is ugly in Gainesville, and doesn’t appear to be much better than when the Gators limped through a 4-8 season in 2013 - which, by the way, was the first losing season for the program since 1979. That undid all the good of Muschamp going 11-2 in his second year, and was accentuated by Florida’s home loss to Georgia Southern, an FCS program, and the first program from a lower division to beat the Gators.
Now, the Gators are 3-3, and the memory of an embarrassing blowout home loss to Missouri remains fresh in everyone’s mind since Florida had a bye this week.
In three-plus seasons, Muschamp is 26-19. That wouldn't cut it at South Florida, so there is no way it can fly in Gainesville.
Five whose seats can become markedly warmer with a poor end to the season:
4. Bob Davie, New Mexico