Jim Harbaugh (Michigan) 0-4 against Ohio State and 1-8 against top 10 teams. The expectations at Michigan are that you beat Ohio State, he’s failed to do that in every attempt. If he falls to 0-5 I can’t imagine Michigan fans will react well especially is it’s another beat down like last year. Fans are clinging on to the overall record of the series but there’s no denying that they have been absolutely dominated the last 15 years. Harbaugh has to get results in the big games this next season or boosters will be looking for a change. The clock is ticking and time is running out.
Gus Malzahn (Auburn) Hear me out, Malzahn has been at the helm for the Tigers since the 2013 season and has led his team to finish with some pretty good records but what else? A national championship runner-up appearance in 2013 was really the last time Auburn has done something notable. Auburn has underachieved, they haven’t won an SEC title since 2013 and don’t have a lot to show for. After an 8-5 finish this past season if we don’t see some drastic improvement Malzahn might be out the door.
Chip Kelly (UCLA) I know that Chip Kelly has only just completed his first season at UCLA and he doesn’t have any of his own recruits and blah blah blah but come on, 3-9 in your first season with UCLA? You’re on the hot seat already. If Kelly can’t make a significant turnaround this next season the boosters are going to be antsy, if he goes 3-9 again next year? He can kiss his job goodbye, he’s as good as gone. With an extremely tough non-conference schedule that includes Cincinnati and Oklahoma, the Bruins could be in for a very tough year. A lot of the UCLA losses were close and if the Bruins can manage to close a few of those out they could be looking at a bowl appearance.
Clay Helton (USC) Both head coaches in LA should be watching their backs, after a 5-7 finish last season we know how high the expectations are for USC. It’s win now. Another poor season for Helton could spell trouble, if he can manage to get the Trojans back on track and put together another 11-3 season where they went on to win the Pac 12 he’ll be alright. If he doesn’t and they somehow miss out on another bowl? I think they’ll go ahead and let him go.
Chad Morris (Arkansas) Going 2-10 in your first season in charge of Arkansas? Yeah, that’ll go ahead and land you on the hot seat. I expect the Razorbacks to be better than last year because they honestly couldn’t get much worse. Arkansas are going to need to make a bowl game for Morris to have a chance of being the head coach for 2020, Arkansas fans aren’t going to put up with that. All four of their non-conference games should be easy wins, there’s honestly no excuses, after that they need to figure out how to win two SEC games, it’s possible. I don’t expect Morris to end up being let go at the end of the upcoming season but he needs to be included in the hot seat discussion after a dismal first year.
Lovie Smith (Illinois) 9-27 in his 3 seasons in charge of the Illini, if I’m being honest I’m surprised they’re keeping him around for another season. I don’t think I need to say much more about this, the Illini program is a disaster.
Matt Luke (Ole Miss) Two pretty meh seasons to start his tenure with the Rebels, a 6-6 and 5-7 season aren’t great. Some difficult non-conference schedule games and playing in the SEC won’t make it easy to improve on those records. Missing another bowl game would make it difficult to keep Luke around. Fans and boosters will be looking for more 9-4 and 10-3 seasons like in 2014 and 2015. Ole Miss want to be in the conversations.
Ken Niumatalolo (Navy) Let me just put this out there that I have absolutely nothing but the utmost respect for this man and what he does. I have heard nothing but great things about him as a coach and as a person. Despite that, after three straight seasons of losing to Army and a dreadful 3-10 record last year, it’s hard not to include him in the conversation. The program has started to decline rapidly over the past three seasons. I really hope that he can turn the program around and I ultimately believe that he will, I don’t want Navy to let him go, he’s done so much for that program and for those young men. Look for Navy to bounce back this year otherwise, these hot seat talks are really going to take off.