The proverbial hot seat is something that college football fans know well. The following coaches are on warm chairs of varying temperatures:
Butch Jones, Tennessee Volunteers
This seat is made of actual lava. There is no way Butch Jones survives this season in Knoxville. Butch did survive the weekend, however, and will get a chance to take the Vols to Lexington, KY for a game versus the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday. Butch’s “champions of life” are going to earn “leadership reps” all week and we’ll see if it is enough to earn their first SEC win. The Vols are sitting at 3-4 with wins over Georgia Tech, Indiana State, and Massachusetts.
Grumors are starting in Knoxville, however, I suspect that there is another coach in the state of Tennessee that could ultimately be the next man to lead the Vols.
Mike Riley, Nebraska Cornhuskers
The 3-4 record suggests that things are nearly average, however, the actual scores of games suggests a trainwreck. Nebraska has lost to Ohio State and Wisconsin by a combined score of 94-31. The ‘Huskers also lost to Northern Illinois. Riley is by all accounts a good guy and represents the university well. I think the appeal of Scott Frost is just too much and Nebraska is going to try to make a move sooner rather than later.
What if the ‘Huskers can’t lure Frost away from UCF? I think it might get tricky at that point. Some might say that Nebraska should turn to a triple-option coach like Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo or Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson.
Bret Bielema, Arkansas Razorbacks
Bielema’s SEC record is 10-26 and he’s 27-31 overall. I don’t know exactly how we got to this point, but I’ll do my best to explain it. It looks like Bielema came into the Arkansas job determined to do what he did at Wisconsin. The Razorbacks would be run-heavy and win the game up front. The recruiting strategy to build such a roster was put into place and at some point (not exactly sure when) it became clear to Bielema that he couldn’t do it. The most talented position group in the SEC (in general) is the defensive line. Arkansas simply couldn’t build the offensive line necessary to do what he did at Wisconsin. Bielema then pivoted and tried to build differently. The problem is that when you’re building one thing for a few years and then stop to try something else that nothing ever gets done.
Arkansas is not a running team. They are not a passing team. They are not a good team. Bielema’s buyout has been rumored to be as high as $15 million and as low as $5 million so there’s no way of knowing what is going to happen. I suspect that Arkansas administrators would prefer not to fire Bielema this season, however, a 2-5 record is making it awfully difficult to remain steadfast in support of their current coach.
Who would fit the Razorbacks’ job? Mike Norvell has been mentioned as an Arkansas lean because of his ties to the state. The potential for Gus Malzahn to get fired seems to have diminished, however, if he were available then Arkansas might opt to reach out for a pass on the “Gus Bus.”