Not hot, but it makes for lots of discussion

THIS TIME OF year is tough for college football fans. The news slows to a trickle as July approaches and summer itself becomes this annoying little chore one has to get through before fall camp starts up in August. The media, though, likes to focus on one topic in particular around this time of year…

Coaches on the hot seat.

And Oregon State's Mike Riley after two losing seasons, they insist, is on the hot seat.

Hogwash.

Forget about the merits for a moment. Sure, Riley is a couple seasons removed from being hailed -- by many of the same people -- as a genius who does less than more. On the other hand, the past two seasons have been tough to swallow.

BUT IT IS Riley's contract that should put any and all hot seat talk to rest. First, though, a slice of some of the hot seat chatter.

CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd ranks Riley at a 3.0 on a scale of 1-to-5. (By the way, Chip Kelly is also rated a 3.0 by Dodd, ostensibly because of the ongoing NCAA rules investigation.)

Yahoo Sports says Riley is No. 10 on their list, then discounts the possibility he will be fired, and then raises it again if OSU has another three-win season.

The Oregonian at the end of last season's 3-9 mark posed these questions: "Assuming Riley survives this offseason, how hot is his seat? Does he have to win 10 games next season to save his job, or will 6 wins and a bowl game do the trick?"

Coacheshotseat.com has Riley at No. 2 on their list, behind BC's Frank Spaziani and ahead of Maryland's Randy Edsall.

There are other "hot seat" articles and rankings out there, and there will surely be many more to come between now and the end of August. But they won't mean much when it comes to Oregon State.

True, any coach can be fired for cause, such as what transpired recently with Bobby Petrino. But something that would apply to a breach of a morals clause has about as much chance of happening with Riley at OSU as it does that we'll all be living on the moon by the end of the year. So we're left with wins and losses and in that respect, Riley's contract guarantees he returns. How so?

THE PAC-12 TV MONEY will be a windfall and will pick up even more down the road. But that doesn't mean OSU can just give away millions and millions, which is what they would need to do to follow through on all the hot seat chatter.

Riley's contract runs through 2019. According to figures reported in the Portland Tribune, take the buyout ($4M) and add up the remaining years' base salary (8 years at $1,151,667) don't include the bonuses (that can run $360,000 per year), and Riley's buyout would total $12,061,669 after the 2012 season.

Think Oregon State would shell out $12.1M and then also pay a new coaching staff, figure around an additional $2.5M-3.5M per year?

Not a chance. End of story.

But the hot seat talk makes for compelling copy here in the summer months. Or at least the media hopes it does.


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