NCAA Football

Five College Football Head Coaches on Hot Seat Heading into 2014

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5 Head Coaches on the Hot Seat in 2014

will muschamp
Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Every year, college football programs across the country come into a season with high expectations. Inevitably, many of these expectations remain unfulfilled and coaches are left searching for answers to what went wrong or searching for a new job entirely depending on how much good will they have built up with the school. While all the head coaches are safe for now, there are some who should be worried about their employment this offseason.

For some, it’s a matter or wearing out the patience of their fan base (which can be notoriously thin to begin with) and failing to meet the expectations of their program. Others seem to have capped out on what they are able to get out of their roster and teams just need a shake-up at the top to start a quick turnaround (look at the 2013 Auburn Tigers for an example). And some are just too much of a headache to tolerate without huge success on the field (and even then).

With the 2014 season getting ready to start spring practices, some coaches should be on higher alert than others. This season is going to be pivotal to so many in terms of how long they’ll get to keep their current job or if it will be time to update their resume next offseason. Securing wins in the fall could help them find some job security in 2015 but too many losses will get them the axe.

So which head coaches are on the hottest seats? We count down the top five college football head coaches who need some major success on the field in 2014 or risk losing their jobs.

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5. Brady Hoke, Michigan Wolverines

brady hoke
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

It hasn’t quite been the renaissance to the glory days that the Michigan Wolverines were hoping for under Brady Hoke. After a promising 11-2 record his first season in 2011, Michigan has regressed under Hoke’s watch the last two seasons. After finishing 8-5 in year two with a bowl loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks, Michigan suffered through a tumultuous 2013 campaign that saw them finish just 7-6. The offense disappeared for long stretches and the team ended up losing six of their last eight games. Hoke went out and made some changes to his staff this offseason, but will it produce enough positive change on the field to save his job?

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4. Gary Patterson, TCU Horned Frogs

gary patterson
Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

Gary Patterson is a bit of an institution with the TCU Horned Frogs, helping to build the program over 13 seasons from one of the premier non-BCS teams in college football to a member of the Big 12. But things haven’t gone so well since the team made the leap to the Big 12. Before the jump, TCU had finished ranked in the top 25 in eight of 11 seasons under Patterson, including a perfect 13-0 season in 2010 that included a win in the Rose Bowl Game and a No. 2 ranking in the coaches and AP polls. Since joining the Big 12, however, TCU is just 11-14, including 6-12 in conference play. The team has appeared unprepared for the step up in competition and an abundance of off-field issues could spell trouble for Patterson in Fort Worth if he doesn’t find some wins in 2014.

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3. Bret Bielema, Arkansas Razorbacks

bret bielema
Nelson Chenault - USA TODAY Sports

While Bret Bielema has only been with the Arkansas Razorbacks for one season, it was enough of a train wreck to put him on the hot seat this season. In addition to going 0-8 in SEC play, Arkansas’ first winless conference campaign since 1942, Bielema has been making headlines for his push to slow down college football offenses with a proposed rule change. While the rationale behind it has been embarrassing enough, Bielema crossed the line by attributing the tragic death of Ted Agu of the Cal Bears to hurry up offenses in order to make his case for making a rule change. The insensitive and tone-deaf PR disaster (for which Bielema has not actually apologized) is more than enough to get Bielema on the hot seat but another miserable showing on the field in 2014 will be all the reason the school needs to give him the boot.

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2. Will Muschamp, Florida Gators

will muschamp
Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

While he is just one year removed from an 11-win season in 2012, Will Muschamp is feeling the heat with the Florida Gators to turn things around in 2014. Florida finished the season just 4-8 and ranked near the bottom of FBS in terms of offensive production. Losing the final seven games of the season, including a blowout loss to the rival Florida State Seminoles and an embarrassing 26-20 loss to FCS Georgia Southern will erase the good will of a trip to the Sugar Bowl in a hurry. Muschamp made changes on his coaching staff to try and spark his offense this fall but if it doesn’t and the Gators struggle like they did in2013, Muschamp might be on his way out of the Swamp next season.

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1. Mike London, Virginia Cavaliers

mike london
Bob Donnan - USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the only reason that Mike London has lasted as long as he has with the Virginia Cavaliers is his ability to recruit five-star talent to the program. But so far, he has struggled to turn that potential into production on the football field. In four seasons as the head coach, London has had one winning season and is 18-31 overall and 8-24 in ACC play. Last season, the Cavaliers finished dead last in the conference at 2-10 overall and 0-8 in conference play. While the school has expressed confidence in London as their head coach, 2014 will prove to be a make-or-break year for him with Virginia. If the team struggles again, no amount of recruiting success will save London’s job for 2015.