COLLEGE FOOTBALL '12: Hot Seat Coaches
Somewhere in Idaho, there is probably a Boise State fan -- maybe just one -- wondering if Chris Petersen is the coach to take the Broncos to the next level.
Point being, there is not a coach in college football who isn't one bad season away from drawing the ire of impatient fans. Fortunately for coaches, fans don't get to hire and fire them. Unfortunately for coaches, the people that do tend not to be much more patient than the fans these day.
Defining what exactly puts a coach on the hot seat is tough. For this Pick Six, a coach on the hot seat is one who is one bad season away from losing his job.
Derek Dooley, Tennessee (11-14 in two seasons). Volunteers fans were generally skeptical of Dooley's ability to keep Tennessee competitive with the other SEC behemoths from Day 1. That put him behind even before he started. Call it being Zooked. After going 1-7 in conference last year, the Vols need to make a demonstrative step forward this season to convince new athletic director Dave Hart he does not have to bring in `his own guy.'
Randy Edsall, Maryland (2-10 in one season). For about a week last September, Edsall and the Terrapins were the talk of college football. He opened his first season in Maryland by beating Miami on national TV with his team wearing buzz-worthy uniforms. The rest of the season was a total failure, and it was followed by tumultuous offseason in which about a dozen players left the program. Edsall is in the second year of a six-year contract that pays $2 million annually. That'd be a lot to eat for Maryland, but those wild uniforms aren't quite so cool when the team playing in them is terrible.
Mike Price, UTEP (45-52 in eight seasons). Price found redemption in El Paso, Texas, after he fumbled away the Alabama job in 2003. He took over the Miners in 2004 and they posted back-to-back 8-4 seasons. They haven't broken .500 since. The good news for the 66-year-old Price is he's got a pretty good looking team coming back. The bad news is the schedule -- both in Conference USA and out -- is brutal.
Mike Riley, Oregon State (72-63 in 11 seasons). Riley is an institution in Corvallis. He went to high school there. His late father, Bud, was an assistant for some of the Beavers' most memorable teams. And Mike Riley has been remarkably successful at a program that has historically had little success. But Oregon State has won eight games the past two seasons and Oregon has become a national power. With all that new TV money pouring into the Pac-12, Oregon State could decide it's time for a shake-up if the Beavers go bowl-less again.
Frank Spaziani, Boston College (20-19 in three seasons). It doesn't take all that much to keep BC fans happy. Have a winning record, go to bowl, every once in a while challenge for a league title. Just give them something decent to cheer for in between watching the Sox, the Pats, the Celts and the Bruins. Last season the Eagles went 4-8. Another one like that and Coach Spaz will get the kind of attention no coach wants.
Mack Brown, Texas (141-39 in 14 seasons). OK, hot seat is probably a bit strong. All right very strong. Under Brown, Texas has been one of the 10 best programs in the nation for more than a decade, winning a national title and playing for another. But the Longhorns are 13-12 over the last two seasons and it's not unfair to wonder what would happen if Texas stumbles through another so-so season.
Extra point: Their status doesn't get talked about much on a national level, but Rice's David Bailiff, Central Michigan's Dan Enos, Idaho's Robb Akey, Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill and UNLV's Bobby Hauck are all at crossroads this season, too. Especially with Bobby Petrino humbled and looking for work.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP