Monday, August 4, 2014

Win or Go Home

By Jean Neuberger

College football coaches make a ton of money each year.

They also have little to no job security, unless your last name is something like Nick Saban.

The 2014 season will tell the fate of many coaches this season, as the pressure heats up to win and win immediately. Here's a look at the hottest seats in college football.

Will Muschamp, Florida — His seat is the hottest in college football. He's at a program that's used to winning over the last two decades. He's watched Florida State surpass him as the top team in the state, then hit rock-bottom with a 4-8 campaign last year, including a loss to then-FCS Georgia Southern. Not even Ron Zook had a seat this hot in Gainesville. The Gators should be improved this year; however, will 8 wins allow Muschamp to keep his job? He's in a tough spot; he has to not only win but win big.

Mike London, Virginia — London came to UVA with great credentials, having won a FCS title with Richmond. However, he's not had much luck in Charlottesville, going 18-31 in four seasons and producing a 2-10 clunker last year. The Cavaliers have to get a passing game going to have any chance of keeping London safe. Kevin Parks simply can't do it alone.

Tim Beckman, Illinois — Having gone 6-18 in two years, Beckman is feeling the heat in Champaign. Of course, the seat was already boiling when the Illinois student section mostly no showed against Ohio State last season. If you lose the team, you lose the fans. If you lose the fans, the seat gets hot. But lose the students? That's a recipe for ultimate disaster. Beckman might want to update his resume if the Illini don't get off to a fantastic start.

Norm Chow, Hawaii — A guru as a traveling offensive coordinator, Chow is just 4-20 with Hawaii after two seasons. Given that the June Jones passing attack is still quite recent in the minds of Warrior fans, the pressure is on Chow to rekindle the Hawaii magic. Unfortunately, opening the season with Washington and Oregon State likely will add more fuel to the fire under Chow's chair.

Charlie Weis, Kansas — It's been two miserable years so far for Weis in Lawrence. The Jayhawks have shown no signs of getting out of the cellar anytime soon. Similar to Mike London, Weis has to find a passing game this season or else he's in a lot of trouble. The crucial game will likely be in the last week of September when Texas comes to town. If KU beats the Longhorns, Weis could carry that momentum for awhile. If they get stomped, the end will be near.

Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia — The Mountaineers suffered a rather surprising 4-8 season last year. He didn't fare the worst of the Gundy coaching tree (Todd Monken of Southern Miss went 1-11), but a disappointing season in his third year actually puts pressure on Holgorsen entering season four. WVU's problems lie in their defense, which gave up 37 points or more in five games last season. If they don't shore up the defensive struggles, there will likely be a new coach in Morgantown.

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