Hot seat watch: Clay Helton, Mike Gundy going in opposite directions
The coaches on the hot seat underwhelmed once again in Week 7. Mike Gundy’s team gave him a headache and Bobby Petrino’s woes continued. Who were the winners and losers of the hot seat watch?
Week 7 of the college football season has come to a close and we’re that much closer to the first firing of the year. No, it won’t be Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn despite some pleas from Tigers fans after losing to Tennessee. Malzahn would be owed more than $31 million if he was fired this season after signing a big extension last year. In other words, he’s not getting fired.
However, it’s only a matter of time until a coach is given the dreaded words that the school is going in a different direction and he’s been relieved of his duties. It might happen soon, it could happen later but it’s going to happen. The coaches that are competing for their jobs know who they are and of course there also the surprise firings to look out for.
Not every coach on the hot seat is necessarily doomed this year either. There are some that are coaching to prove they should stick long term. Those that are in immediate danger of being fired however have continued to disappoint.
Chris Ash and Larry Fedora continue to captain sinking ships. Well, to be fair to Ash, he captained a ship sunk that was already sunk, to begin with.
Here are the winners and losers of the hot seat from Week 7.
5. The ‘soon to be fired’ crowd: Losers
Chris Ash and Larry Fedora are dead men walking. If either of them survives at this point it will be a miracle and a testament to the ineptitude of their programs. For how they actually performed on Saturday, it was an ugly day for Ash.
The Scarlet Knights went on the road and got blasted by Maryland. It would be crazy to say any program won’t win the rest of the way, but Rutgers probably isn’t picking up another win this season.
To Fedora’s credit, the Tar Heels hung tough at home against Virginia Tech, 22-19. Nonetheless, it was another defeat and it just piles onto the rest of the issues that North Carolina has already been dealing with.
Fedora’s not likely to be a mid-season fire and it’s hard to say what Rutgers is going to do with Ash. That program is just a mess from the top down completely.
4. Pat Narduzzi: Loser
As noted leading up to this game, Pat Narduzzi was in a different boat than most of the other coaches on this list. He’s not in any current danger of losing his job in all likelihood, but if the Panthers stumble to a second sub-par year in a row, it will raise questions.
At 3-3, the Panthers are the definition of the average team and they were tasked with traveling to face No. 5 Notre Dame on Saturday. They lost a close battle and Narduzzi certainly won’t be faulted for that at all.
The question is where the Panthers go from here. Will they go on a bit of a roll and take care of the opponents they’re supposed to? Or will they suffer disappointing losses like the one they suffered against North Carolina earlier this year? A strong finish would do Narduzzi a lot of favors.
3. Mike Gundy: Loser
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have lost three of their last four and are free falling to the bottom of the Big 12 Conference. That isn’t where anyone had them when they started the season off 3-0, but it’s where they now reside.
They gave Kansas State their first conference win of the season on Saturday, and Mike Gundy is probably running out of patience with his team. This is the second bad loss in a row that the program has suffered and it’s important they pick it up from here.
Gundy’s a lot closer to Narduzzi in terms of job security than say Fedora or Ash, but his team bottoming out would quickly put him in the other category.
2. Clay Helton: Winner
The big winner of the week is Clay Helton. If there are any questions remaining about whether or not his seat is hot at the moment, it just cooled way down. The Trojans decimated undefeated Colorado at home on Saturday night.
With the win, the Trojans control their destiny in the Pac-12 South and look primed to make a run at defending their Pac-12 Championship. The defense showed off with some big plays and J.T. Daniels continues to get better each week.
1. Bobby Petrino: Loser
Going on a road trip wasn’t what the Louisville Cardinals needed after all. They didn’t give up 66 points like last week, but it was yet another ugly performance for Bobby Petrino’s squad against Boston College.
They can talk about how they might not have the money for a buyout this early in the season, but as it goes on and the losses keep piling up, those funds will likely come from somewhere. The Cardinals return home next week to take on Wake Forest before traveling to take on Clemson. Things are about to get a whole lot worse.