The college football hot seat is forever rotating and this past season, a few notable coaches received their pink slip to be employed elsewhere. Recently, Sonny Dykes was given the axe from the University of California after winning only 19 games in four seasons on the job. The carousel landed on Oregon as well with former head coach Mark Helfrich getting his walking papers despite suffering his only losing season in 2016 after four seasons at the school. So as we transition fully to the 2017 season, we examine the coaches who are on the hot seat around college football.
Rich Rodriguez, Arizona, 36-29 (five seasons) – The man they call Rich Rod has five seasons under his belt at the University of Arizona and is coming off his first losing season, going 3-9 last year. In the last two seasons in conference play, Rodriguez has only posted four wins in 18 games played. An eight game conference losing streak during the season was pretty unbearable for the Wildcat faithful. A similar season for Rodriguez in 2017 and things may get quite uglier.
Hugh Freeze, Mississippi, 39-25 (five seasons) – While Freeze also only has one losing season under his belt, he is also marred with a cloudy recruiting scandal that can impact the university soon. Add on that Freeze is 19-21 in SEC play during his tenure, and things are getting a little clammy for Freeze in Oxford. Freeze can use a bowl season in 2017. Although constant losing may force the school to part ways with Freeze before the bowl season begins.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame, 59-31 (seven seasons) – Kelly has experienced plenty of success in South Bend as head coach of the Fighting Irish, but he has also encountered a little turmoil as well. The margin for error at Notre Dame was already very narrow. After 2016, that margin became a little slimmer. Kelly was noted to constantly point fingers at other staff member and/or players as a result of losing. Going 3-3 in six bowl appearances does not help either. Many feel that Kelly is walking a thin line and needs a nine or 10 win season to improve his job status.
Butch Jones, Tennessee, 30-21 (four seasons) – Jones has had a “rocky” ride in Knoxville and even the past two seasons have been interesting to say the least. Under Jones, the Volunteers have been 18-21 against Power 5 teams, 14-18 in SEC play, as well as having no SEC Championship appearances which of course means he also has no SEC East Division titles. The 2016 roster with plenty of elite talent may have been the best opportunity for Jones to get double-digit wins and a possible division championship. He even let that prime opportunity slip through his grasp.
Steve Addazio, Boston College, 24-27 (four seasons) – To be fair, Addazio had three of his four seasons gain seven wins and finish above .500. However, looking at things from a different perspective, the program as a whole has been stuck in the realm of mediocrity during Addazio’s tenure. When you throw in the fact that Addazio is 10-22 in four seasons of ACC conference play, it is understandable is administration wants to pedal forward and not be stuck in the same place.
David Bailiff, Rice, 56-69 (ten seasons) – It is tougher than cheap steak to win in the state of Texas. Bailiff has to contend within recruiting wars with Texas A&M, Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, and Houston, just to name a few. Yet, Bailiff is not in a conference with any of those named teams. Thus, he does not have to worry about a gauntlet of teams season after after season. Bailiff has descended in terms of wins the last three seasons. After reaching 10 wins in 2013, the Rice Owls have won 8, 5, and 3 games in each season afterwards. Bailiff also has a 39-41 conference record during his time with Rice. Things need to turn around for Bailiff in 2017 or he may be hitting the old dusty trail.