College Football Teams with Coaches on the Hot Seat… we discuss their season win totals.
We decided it would be interesting to look at the Season Win Totals for Coaches that are going into the season in “Win Now” mode. Some of these are on hotter seats than others, but overall, there’s at least a question on all of these coaches where, if they underperform this season, they might be shown the door.
The total number of wins is only for the regular season. Chris’s and my predictions are at the bottom. Listen to the podcast for more.
Notre Dame (Total: 7.5 wins)
Brian Kelly took the Irish to a 4-8 record in 2016, and then completely revamped his coaching staff.
The Irish loses a lot on both offense and defense, so while this team finished #26 in the S&P rankings last year, even with an abysmal win-loss record, they could actually decline this year, even if they get more wins. The 7.5 looks about right, especially with a brutal schedule that includes USC, Stanford, Georgia, NC State, North Carolina, Miami, Navy, Michigan St and more.
Texas A&M (Total: 7 wins)
In 2016, Kevin Sumlin took the Aggies to an 8-5 record for the 3rd straight year, after going 11-2 and 9-4 in his first 2 years in College Station.
This year, they look to be starting Nick Starkel, a redshirt freshman QB, which doesn’t bode well for the offense, but they have 7 starters back on defense, which should be good for Chavis (although it hasn’t been great so far).
The schedule is as tough as any SEC West team. Road games at UCLA, Florida, Ole Miss and LSU, and home games against South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn, and a neutral site with Arkansas. If Sumlin doesn’t win at least 8 again, he could be in trouble.
UCLA (Total: 7.5 wins)
Jim Mora came to UCLA in 2012 and took the program from a 6-8 record in Rick Neuheisal’s last year (including a 50-0 beatdown to USC) to a 9-5 record and a Pac-12 title game appearance. He then went 10-3, 10-3, 8-5 and last season flopped to a 4-8 record after losing Josh Rosen.
I don’t know that Mora, even if he doesn’t hit over 7 wins, will be fired because of his insanely big buyout and the fact that he rebuilt this program. Mora has gone 12-12 against ranked teams in his 5 years, and is 3-2 against USC, but he’s lost the last 2 to the Trojans, and went 0-4 against ranked teams last season.
This year, he’s got 9 starters back on offense, and only 6 on defense, but this could potentially be a top 10, top 15 defense at UCLA. And they still might not be great because the schedule is harsh.
They get Texas A&M, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona St at home, but they have road games at Memphis, Stanford, Washington, Utah, and USC. If they break 7 wins, I’ll be surprised.
Arkansas (Total: 6.5 wins)
Bielema’s bunch struggled to be physical at times last season, and they couldn’t run the ball as effectively as they wanted. Austin Allen looks like a great QB, but the offensive line couldn’t seem to gel.
The Razorbacks return 4 starters on the offensive line, but the replace their left tackle. They should be improved, but the problem last year was really on defense. They gave up points in bunches, and had to outscore some teams just to make a bowl game.
If Bielema doesn’t get this team to at least 7 wins, his time in Fayetteville could be short.
Tennessee (Total: 7.5 wins)
Butch Jones is dealing with a new athletic director (John Currie), and that’s never a good thing to hear when you’ve underperformed expectations. Last year, UT went 9-4 after the bowl win, and only had to beat Vandy and South Carolina to get to the SEC Championship game, but they lost both of those games.
Jones still has not beaten a single SEC West team in his 4 seasons, and this year, they get the annual showdown with Alabama on the road, and then welcome LSU to Knoxville in November.
Tennessee lost a lot of production, but they’ve recruited well. It’s always a scary predicament when a school doesn’t know who the starting QB will be only days before the season opener, and that’s the situation in Knoxville. If Tennessee loses the opener in Atlanta to Georgia Tech, this could be a really long year, and Butch may not even make it to November.
Auburn (Total: 8.5 wins)
Gus Malzahn saved himself quite a bit last year. After going 12-2 in his first season, and losing the national championship game to Florida St with only seconds left on the clock, Malzahn has gone 8-5, 7-6, but picked back up to 8-5 again last year, but lost the last 3 of the season to Georgia, Alabama, and Oklahoma.
The hype is real on the Plains this season, with Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham coming in to take over the QB position. Everyone seems to believe that, with a great QB, this team could compete with Alabama for the SEC West. And that may be right.
But the issue is that expectations are way, way up, and if Malzahn falls short of 9 wins again, his time may be up, especially with things that are going on with AD Jay Jacobs in Auburn.
Texas Tech (Total: 5.5 wins)
The Red Raiders are incredibly consistent. The only problem is that they’re consistently bad on defense. Offense can put up points in bunches. But the defense can’t stop a runny nose.
Kliff Kingsbury was brought in because he could coach offense. But as long as that defense is as bad as it is, they’re always going to be in trouble.
The over/under is set at 5.5, but I’m having trouble finding 5 wins with their schedule. They get Eastern Washington, Arizona St, and at Houston in the non-conference schedule, and road games at Kansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas, and Oklahoma St, Iowa St, Kansas St, Baylor, and TCU at home. Find me which teams you’d pick them against.
I don’t know that Kliff is out after this season, regardless of the record, but it doesn’t look good for his long-term trajectory.
Florida Atlantic (Total: 4.5 wins)
Lane Kiffin is heading into his first season, so he’s not on the hot seat, but this total was interesting to me.
And I really just wanted a reason to talk about the fact that Navy opened -20 against FAU in Boca Raton, but the line has moved all the way to -9.
I think Kiffin will be successful, and I think he’ll go around 6-6 this year, so I’m taking the over, but man, expectations are through the roof already at FAU.