NCAA Football

5 NCAA Football Coaches On The Hot Seat in 2014

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Top 5 Coaches on the Hot Seat

Bruce Thorson - USA TODAY Sports

As spring practice begins and the perpetual hum of the college football engine revs up slightly, some teams are hearing a knock under the hood. While most of the buzz is positive when the pads start cracking again, there is an inevitable negativity for a few teams every year. That negativity is in the form of the dreaded "hot seat" for head coaches across the nation.

The stressful feeling surrounding coaching hot seats is palpable. It is a drain on the team, the fans and the school administrators that must make those unhappy decisions, whether at the end of the season or in some cases, midway through if the situation becomes too dire.

Every loss creates anxiety, every mistake is magnified and every interview reveals that awkward moment when a reporter says, "so, coach, about this hot seat situation ..." In most cases, this is a recipe for disaster. Coaches get fired, a scramble ensues to save the recruiting class and athletic directors beat the bushes trying to find the right guy for the job.

However, a coach on the hot seat can be a motivational tool. Rather than wallow in self-pity, the team can use it as a rallying point. The negative press can turn into "bulletin board material" for players who want their coach to remain on the sidelines. Coaches can pull out all the stops, get creative and do whatever it takes to hold on to their position.

Every game becomes a war the team is determined to win and that collective effort can result in a turnaround season. Many coaches have jumped right off the hot seat and enjoyed long careers at the same school.

Here are five coaches who have the hottest seats going into 2014.

Brad Stephens is an SEC Football writer for Feel free to follow him on Twitter @bradstephens320.
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5. Dana Holgorsen - West Virginia Mountaineers

Tommy Gilligan - USA TODAY Sports

Dana Holgorsen is feeling the heat in Morgantown and it is not from burning couches. Holgorsen and the West Virginia Mountaineers have not fared well in Big 12 play (6-12 in conference play) and failed to qualify for a bowl last season. For a program that saw much success in the mid-2000's, a 7-6 season followed by a 4-8 season is not acceptable.

Athletic director Oliver Luck has issued his support, but the reality of his words remains to be seen. Holgorsen's predecessor, Bill Stewart, was asked to step down after three straight 9-4 seasons. Another mediocre to bad season will likely end it for Holgorsen.

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4. Bo Pelini - Nebraska Cornhuskers

Bruce Thorson - USA TODAY Sports

Bo Pelini has had six years to right the ship in Lincoln. For a proud program like the Nebraska Cornhuskers, excellence is not optional. Four losses every year, no BCS bowls and zero top-ten finishes is not what the administration or the fanbase had in mind. Couple that with Pelini's recorded rant against the fanbase and other media controversies, one more four-loss season and mediocre bowl will likely end the Pelini era.

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3. Brady Hoke - Michigan Wolverines

Matt Kartozian - USA TODAY Sports

After a successful 2011 season, very little has gone right for Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines. The 2012 season began with a blowout loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide and the downhill slide continued from there. The Wolverines are 15-11 in the last two seasons with losses to their arch-rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and both bowl games.

The hiring of Doug Nussmeier and his success with the offense will be a key factor in whether Hoke remains a "Michigan Man" for much longer. If the Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans continue their success and the Wolverines remain mired in mediocrity, look for Hoke to be fired after 2014.

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2. Charlie Weis - Kansas Jayhawks

Bruce Thorson - USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks made a big play in hiring Charlie Weis. Forking over a guaranteed $2.5 million per year should ensure some winning seasons, right? Wrong.

Weis is 4-20 in the last two seasons. His renowned offensive mind has not transformed the Jayhawks into a Big 12 power and reading the tea leaves, no change seems to be on the horizon. With a low-rated 2014 recruiting class full of junior college players, the Jayhawks continue to fall behind the traditional powers of the Big 12 and Weis is just biding time until he is shown the door.

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1. Will Muschamp - Florida Gators

Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

No seat is hotter than that of Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators. His posterior is ablaze after a 4-8 season, which included a loss to the Georgia Southern Eagles at home and missing a bowl game for the first time since 1990. Two of his three seasons have been subpar and when he was successful in 2012, the Gators were blown out in the Sugar Bowl by the Louisville Cardinals.

These performances, along with his sideline antics, have become a serious issue in Gainesville. Muschamp is 0-3 against the Georgia Bulldogs and 1-2 against the Florida State Seminoles. He is now on his third offensive coordinator.

If the Gators cannot get it together and at least contend for the SEC East title, Muschamp may not last the season. Jeremy Foley fired Ron Zook mid-season and he would certainly do it again in this situation.