College football hot seat: Battle of winless Big Ten coaches under the microscope

Coaches hot seatWeek 11 of the college football season has arrived. These five coaches are in serious need of a win as they sit firmly on the hot seat.

The college football season is rounding the corner as we head to Week 11. The season has just started for some while others are on the back nine in what is the most outrageous year on record for the sport. Usually, by this point, we are really close to seeing the culmination of one coach’s efforts or lack thereof on the hot seat.

This season it’s tough to speculate when that first real firing is going to take place as the conferences are all at different points in the schedule. However, winter is fast approaching and so is the end of the year for those conferences playing a severely reduced schedule.

One thing that is becoming clear is which coaches we need to focus on when it comes to the hot seat. Some might be safe because of crazy buyouts, but they’re cementing their status for the future as well. Here’s where things stand in Week 11.

College football coaches hot seat watch

5. Justin Fuente – Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech has been the victim of some tough losses this season. The latest coming at the hands of a 38-35 loss to Liberty at home. For Justin Fuente, it’s an up and down season in what is his most pivotal year with the program. Now, his Hokies are entering their most pivotal stretch of play. The next three games are Miami, Pitt and Clemson. This is the biggest stretch of Fuente’s career and what will probably decide whether or not the Hokies choose to go in a different direction. The upside is he’s playing games against great competition where he can maybe pull out a signature win. The downside is the Hokies could also fall apart in all three and he ends up a casualty of the hot seat.

4. Jim Harbaugh – Michigan

It’s sad to watch the Jim Harbaugh era head the way it appears to be going. The Wolverines lost for the second-straight week, this time getting pounded at Indiana on the heels of losing to Michigan State. Regardless of its a firing or a mutual split, it’s becoming evident by the week a change is needed for both the program and the head coach. Things don’t continue to get any easier in the meantime for the Wolverines. Michigan will host Wisconsin this week. If it’s a third straight loss and 1-3 to begin the season, that’s enough to be a massive disappointment in Ann Arbor. The program and fans deserve better than that.

3. Scott Frost – Nebraska

The most interesting hot seat watch game of the week is between Nebraska and Penn State. The losing coach is going to be winless and without job security. Well, save for a ridiculous buyout but we’ll get to that in a second. Scott Frost is in his most important season yet with the Cornhuskers. So far he’s had to see a game get derailed by COVID-19 and came up empty in the other two. This week, Nebraska might actually have a shot at winning. If they don’t, then it’s yet another indictment on the tenure of Frost so far. Returning to Nebraska to prominence isn’t an easy job, but that doesn’t mean he has to be terrible either. Frost is 9-17 through 26 games. There have been coaches fired for less.

2. James Franklin – Penn State

On the flip side of the coin is James Franklin. The coach just inked a big extension and shouldn’t be in any danger of losing his job. He should also thank an enormous buyout for likely being the reason he’s safe as well. However, the Nittany Lions are 0-3 for the first time since 2001. If Penn State loses to Nebraska and begins the season 0-4, then Franklin needs to put all his effort into beginning the rebound for 2021. The head coach of the Nittany Lions might be able to write off 2020 as an anomaly, and quite frankly so are a lot of Americans. Truthfully, this is one of the most strange things to take place in the college football season so far.

1. Will Muschamp – South Carolina

A week after getting creamed 48-3 by Texas A&M at home, Will Muschamp has reminded everyone once again why he is on the hot seat. The head coach of the Gamecocks has been a .500 coach in his tenure at South Carolina and any growth has stalled. To his credit, he did get a win against Auburn, However, that’s about all he’s been able to accomplish this season and the Gamecocks have lost by a combined 73 points in the two games since beating the Tigers. It’s one thing to lose tough games, but South Carolina is getting rolled over now and that’s a bad sign. The Gamecocks will look to rebound on the road against Ole Miss this week. He has a hefty buyout, but another loss will just make things even more difficult.

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