Preseason Pac-12 Coaches’ Hot Seat Meter

The 2012 college football season hasn’t quite begun but we’re already wondering which coaches won’t be around by this time next year.

From the coaches who need to rack up wins to keep their paychecks, to those who can skate through this season with no worries, here’s the Preseason Pac-12 Coaches’ Hot Seat Meter.

 

UNCOMFORTABLY WARM 

Mike Riley, Oregon State

It’s still preseason so things haven’t heated up too much just yet, but Riley’s seat is likely the first one that will. He’s had a good run in Corvallis but the Beavers are coming off two consecutive losing seasons; in 2011, they even, inexplicably, lost to FCS Sacramento State on opening weekend. Riley needs his team to blow out Nicholls State on Saturday and keep on rolling through the schedule.

 

LUKEWARM

Jeff Tedford, Cal

Tedford has taken his teams to bowl games in nine of the last ten seasons, but the Bears are just 12-13 over the last two seasons. The team was displaced during Memorial Stadium renovations much of that time, so things might cool off in 2012 with a veteran team and snazzy new digs.

Earlier this week, Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour was asked about lists like this one that suggest Tedford’s on the hot seat.

“Jeff Tedford is not on the hot seat. We want to win and we will win with Jeff Tedford,” she said. But what happens if Tedford doesn’t win?

Jon Embree, Colorado

Embree’s team has had all sorts of issues since he took over as head coach, so he doesn’t have to win at Colorado this year to keep his job. But if the team gets worse in his second-year (the Buffaloes finished 3-10 last season), Embree’s long-term prospects in Boulder could be bleak.

Todd Graham, Arizona State

Yes, he’s in his first season, so Graham will be safe for at least awhile. He has a lot of work to do rebuilding the defense and developing a quarterback for his new offensive attack. Graham’s biggest cause for concern, in terms of his tenure at ASU, is his boss. The athletic director who hired him, Lisa Love, was fired, so his higher-up doesn’t have a vested interest in keeping him around if he can’t produce.

 

COMFORTABLE

Chip Kelly, Oregon

Reports of potential NCAA recruiting violations and sanctions have, so far, not amounted to anything. As long as the flashy uniforms keep catching recruits’ eyes and the Ducks keep turning recruits into game-winning speed demons, Kelly’s not going anywhere unless he wants to.

David Shaw, Stanford

Shaw picked up where Jim Harbaugh left off and, with considerable help from #1 draft pick Andrew Luck, got the Cardinal back to another BCS bowl. No one’s expecting greatness in the first year Post-Luck, so Shaw has plenty of wiggle room as new QB John Nunes develops.

Steve Sarkisian, Washington

Sark took the Huskies from pretty bad to two straight bowl appearances. The fan base is energized and the win-loss records are improved, but the new defensive staff could be key to Sarkisian’s long-term job security. If the defense doesn’t get better than last year, neither will the team’s Pac-12 standing.

 

COLD

Jim Mora, UCLA

The new coach has arrived and made his presence known (for better and for worse). Now the team just has to make as big a splash on the field as Mora has since his hire.

Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

Rodriguez jumped ship from WVU after becoming the second-winningest coach in school history, but his stint with the Michigan Wolverines didn’t go so well. He’ll start fresh at Arizona and will have plenty of time to hit his stride – his predecessor, Mike Stoops, didn’t have a winning season until his fifth year as the Wildcats’ head coach.

Lane Kiffin, USC

It seems like Kiffin has finally found the perfect fit at USC. He’s helped rebuild the program in the wake of NCAA sanctions and earned the support and trust of AD Pat Haden, and surprisingly, he’s turning into a pretty good football coach as well.

Mike Leach, Washington State

Pullman, Washington gets to be downright frigid in the wintertime, just like Leach’s spot on the Hot Seat Meter. Cougars fans are excited about the football team than they’ve been in years, and while the program probably couldn’t have lured Leach in during his Texas Tech heyday, it’s almost hard to imagine him anywhere else now.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Whittingham is 66-25 at Utah. He’s only missed out on going to a bowl game once during his seven-year tenure. His success has been pretty under-the-radar, but with the Utes’ in the their second season in a major BCS conference, that should start to change.

Justine Hendricks is a Pac-12 and ACC Columnist for Rant Sports and is the founder and editor of Sports in StilettosFollow her on Twitter: @SportsStilettos

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