Note: Georgia Southern confirmed reports Sunday that it has fired coach Tyson Summers, after this story was originally published. Zach Barnett of FootballScoop.com originally reported the news.
We’re at the point of the college football season where, for several coaches, the wrong score could seem a fireable offense. Yet no head coach lost their job last week.
If that happens again, after some of the scores put up in Week 8, then either there are some very patient athletic directors and school presidents out there, or the buyout money just isn’t in the budget. Because that’s all that seems to be keeping a few guys employed — for now.
It should be no surprise that Tennessee’s Butch Jones remains No. 1 on our College Football Hot Seat Rankings, though losing 45-7 at top-ranked Alabama on Saturday wasn’t that surprising. So had the Volunteers shown any sort of fight, their coach might have slipped down the list. But that didn’t happen.
Who else made this week’s rankings? Scroll down to find out.
Coaches on this list are ranked in order of their likelihood not just to get the boot during the season, but also to be sent packing in the near future. It’s heavily influenced by recent results, which is why Nebraska’s Mike Riley has been given a one-week reprieve as the Cornhuskers were on their bye week and did not play Saturday.
7. David Beaty, Kansas
- 2017 record: 1-6, 0-4 Big 12
- Record at school: 3-28 (third season)
- Last week’s ranking: Not ranked
The skinny: The last time Kansas won a road game, Barack Obama was less than a year into his first term as president. A 34-7 win at UTEP on Sept. 12, 2009, has been followed by 44 consecutive road losses (47 straight if you include neutral-site games). The most recent was one of the uglier ones, a 43-0 beat down at No. 4 TCU on Saturday.
The winless road streak has spanned five coaches, which shows that the problems in Lawrence aren’t all David Beaty’s doing. Otherwise he wouldn’t have lasted this long, not with a 1-26 mark in Big 12 play and losses to South Dakota State, Central Michigan and Ohio (twice).
The Jayhawks were semi-competitive in a handful of Big 12 games last season, nearly knocking off Iowa State and TCU and handing Charlie Strong a pink slip-inducing loss against Texas. But they’ve managed to massively regress from that 2-10 team, having been outscored 209-53 in conference games this season with two straight shutouts.
6. Tyson Summers, Georgia Southern
- 2017 record: 0-6, 0-2 Sun Belt
- Record at school: 5-13 (second season)
- Last week’s ranking: Not ranked
The skinny: By design, the triple option is an offensive scheme that gives opponents fits and is incredibly difficult to prepare for … unless it’s the one Georgia Southern has used since Tyson Summers took over the program. Instead of frustrating foes, it leaves them laughing.
Just ask previously winless Massachusetts, which held the Eagles to 136 rushing yards on 41 carries in a 55-20 victory in Amherst, Mass., on Saturday. Georgia Southern is averaging 3.84 yards per carry, nearly half what it averaged in 2014 (7.11) in the first of two straight seasons leading the FBS in rushing.
Georgia Southern was a powerhouse at the FCS level and began its FBS tenure with 18 wins in its first two years. Since Summers came on board, it’s been a complete reversal, which might prompt the school to cut bait on him in the very near future.
5. David Bailiff, Rice
- 2017 record: 1-6, 1-2 Conference USA
- Record at school: 57-75 (11th season)
- Last week’s ranking: Not ranked
The skinny: Longevity is a thing of the past in college football, but when a coach has been at one school as long as David Bailiff has, he often gets to leave on his own terms. But with each additional loss that Rice suffers, the school moves closer to being forced to make the decision if Bailiff — who has been at Rich since 2007 — doesn’t do it himself.
The Owls lost 20-7 at UTSA on Saturday, their fifth straight defeat. Their only win this season came in Week 2, at winless UTEP, which has since parted ways with its coach.
Rice is averaging 11 points per game, those 77 total points only eight fewer than Florida Atlantic managed in its Week 8 game. Conference USA isn’t a good league by any stretch of the imagination, but most of the teams can score, which doesn’t bode well for the Owls the rest of the way.
4. Kalani Sitake, BYU
- 2017 record: 1-7
- Record at school: 10-11 (second season)
- Last week’s ranking: Seventh
The skinny: At least BYU students now have caffeinated beverages on campus. It means they can stay up late monitoring the message boards to see what coaches might be available to replace Kalani Sitake.
The Cougars lost 33-17 at East Carolina on Saturday, their seventh straight loss to guarantee the program’s first losing season since 2004. That was the last year of the failed Gary Crowton era, which, like Sitake’s, began with success but quickly fizzled out.
Crowton was given four years before he was fired, but that was when BYU was still in the Mountain West and not yet as ambitious. When the Cougars went independent in 2011, expectations significantly went up in Provo.
East Carolina was giving up nearly 50 points per game coming in and BYU barely reached one-third of that average. This isn’t your uncle’s high-scoring BYU team, and that doesn’t sit well with the fan base.
3. Bret Bielema, Arkansas
- 2017 record: 2-5, 0-4 SEC
- Record at school: 27-31 (fifth season)
- Last week’s ranking: Sixth
The skinny: Last year ESPN aired Being Bret Bielema, a reality show that followed Arkansas’ big, bold and unabashed coach around as he got the Razorbacks ready for a highly anticipated 2016 season. That season started 6-3 but ended 7-6, and the struggles have carried over.
The reality show didn’t continue, but had it, we’d no doubt be seeing Bielema much more stressed than at any other time during his Arkansas tenure (including the first two seasons when he lost his first 14 SEC games). He was picking up the pieces of a broken program then, whereas now he’s doing all he can to keep what he’s built from crumbling.
Arkansas is 10-26 in SEC play under Bielema, losers of seven of nine in the league. The only wins this season have been against Florida A&M and New Mexico State, and the 52-20 home loss to Auburn on Saturday means the Razorbacks have been outscored 141-51 in their last three games.
2. Larry Fedora, North Carolina
- 2017 record: 1-7, 0-5 ACC
- Record at school: 41-32 (sixth season)
- Last week’s ranking: Second
The skinny: Being outmatched is one thing. Looking like you don’t even belong on the same field as a divisional opponent is another — and much worse — thing, and it signifies Larry Fedora has completely lost control of his team.
Virginia Tech with another touchdown. Now it is 52-0. 3:01 left in the *third* quarter. pic.twitter.com/7tamxcFLXh
— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) October 21, 2017
North Carolina lost 59-7 at No. 14 Virginia Tech on Saturday, the Tar Heels’ fifth consecutive defeat. North Carolina will not be going to a bowl game just two seasons after winning 11 games and the ACC Coastal Division, nearly knocking off Clemson in the conference title game.
Fedora has had tremendous bad luck on the injury front, with more than a dozen notable players lost for the remainder of the season, but that excuse only carries so much weight. And with the North Carolina athletic program no longer under NCAA investigation, there’s nothing getting in the way of the school ending Fedora’s tenure in the next few weeks, if not this one.
1. Butch Jones, Tennessee
- 2017 record: 3-4, 0-4 SEC
- Record at school: 33-25 (fifth season)
- Last week’s ranking: First
The skinny: Was Butch Jones’ parting gift from Tennessee getting to coach the Volunteers’ 11th straight loss to Alabama? Or does he get a chance for further embarrassment next week at Kentucky, whom he’s never lost to?
At this point, it’s a matter of Jones’ bosses deciding if this dumpster fire of a team has the capability of turning things around and making a bowl game, and whether making a midseason coaching change will matter. There are three winnable games on the schedule in November, but it remains to be seen if the Vols even want to win based on how they’ve looked — and acted — of late.
Take Tennessee’s touchdown in its 45-7 loss Saturday — it’s first touchdown since Sept. 23. Linebacker Daniel Bituli’s 97-yard interception return still resulted in ignominy for the Vols courtesy of teammate Rashaan Gaulden.
Down 28-0, 3-3 record, this gotta be the most hilariously reckless TD celebration of all-time 😂 pic.twitter.com/onRRl9WDjH
— Giannis Wobtetokoupo (@World_Wide_Wob) October 21, 2017
If that’s the last score of the Jones era, it sure will be memorable.
Top seat-cooling performance
Pittsburgh 24, Duke 17
Pittsburgh’s offense was one of the most explosive and creative late last season, with coordinator Matt Canada’s schemes leading to 40.9 points per game, including 76 in the regular-season finale against Syracuse. Canada then left to be LSU’s offensive coordinator and the Panthers have spent most of 2017 listless on the offensive side of the ball.
That’s put pressure on third-year coach Pat Narduzzi, he of the defensive background, to have that unit carry the team and for most of this season, that hadn’t happened. Then Pitt held Duke to 76 rushing yards to win in ACC play for the first time this season.
Pitt came in allowing 176.1 rushing yards per game, third-worst in the league. Now 3-5 overall, the Panthers’ next two games are at home against Virginia and North Carolina, and winning both will keep them in the hunt for a 10th consecutive bowl appearance.