Blog Entry

Hot Seat Ratings: Happy marriages or honeymoons?

Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:20 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi

Dennis Dodd posted his annual list of Hot Seat Ratings today, so if you haven't perused them all, do so at once. At once, I say! Right now, let's focus on some of the untouchables, the 32 coaches who scored a 0.0-0.5 rating. Suffice it to say none of them are getting fired this year (or even next) without a major, unforeseeable catastrophe befalling the program. But past that, what coaches are truly untouchable, and who's just still on a honeymoon? Here's a look at 15 of those coaches, five for each category in the schools' alphabetical order, listed with Dodd's hot seat ratings.


Gene Chizik, Auburn, 0.0: Hear me out. Chizik is absolutely a 0.0 on Dodd's scale this year, and he would be even if the NCAA somehow finds a way to make Auburn vacate the 2010 BCS Championship (though that seems extremely unlikely at this juncture). But Auburn is expected to struggle this year, and while it's easy now to say that the title has earned Chizik a five-year grace period, what happens if Gus Malzahn gets a high-major head coaching offer and Kiehl Frazier doesn't pan out? If Auburn struggles through two straight .500 seasons and Malzahn takes off, that 0.0 turns into a 2.0 pretty soon.
Will Muschamp, Florida, 0.5: Muschamp is one of the most dynamic and promising new head coaches in the last decade or so, but the fact remains that he's a 39-year-old, first-year head coach at a "win right now" program. Oh, and John Brantley is still his quarterback. If Muschamp can't get his Gators back above the South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC East pecking order, his seat's going to ignite in a hurry.
Chip Kelly, Oregon, 0.0: The other coach coming off a 2010 BCS Championship berth also has two things working against him: a track record of only two seasons as head coach, and the possibility of major NCAA violations. For Kelly, the worry is more the latter than the former, and depending on where this business with Willie Lyles and Lache Seastrunk's recruitment ends up, Kelly could find himself in way more hot water than a 22-4 coach has any right to be. That's all "ifs" right now though, so for now, the honeymoon is still on.
Doug Marrone, Syracuse, 0.5: Marrone enters his third year with the Orange after guiding the once-proud program to a 36-34 Pinstripe Bowl victory over Kansas State last year -- Syracuse's first bowl win since 2001. He's got a solid core of skill players back, but the overall talent level at Syracuse is still low enough that a moderate rash of injuries could be enough to plunge Syracuse back to the level of 3-5 wins in 2011, and that's a good way to snap fans back into remembering that the Pinstripe Bowl is just... the Pinstripe Bowl. Marrone's still got a lot of work to do.
Steve Sarkisian, Washington, 0.5: Like Marrone, Sarkisian has performed the rather remarkable feat of turning around a program that had been mired in sub-mediocrity for the majority of the '00s. But like Marrone, the program's talent level isn't BCS-caliber yet, and unlike Marrone, Sark has to contend with losing a first-round draft pick senior quarterback, Jake Locker. Further, Washington's road schedule is brutal this year; the Huskies'll probably have to win at least two home games between California, Arizona, and Oregon just to get back to .500.


Jimbo Fisher, Florida State, 0.5: That Bobby Bowden transition wasn't so bad after all, was it? That's because Fisher guided FSU to 10 wins in his very first year... unlike the last six years of the Bowden era. Seminole fans are going to start raising expectations to the levels of the mid-'90s, so four losses and an ACC Championship loss aren't going to cut it forever, but Fisher's recruiting well enough to restore FSU to glory quickly.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa, 0.5: How comfortably ensconced at Iowa is Ferentz? He's been coaching at Iowa for 12 years, and in seven of them, Iowa has suffered at least five losses. Ferentz runs a clean coaching staff, but there have been a couple isolated stretches of off-field embarrassments for the Hawkeyes -- and the rhabdo case certainly didn't help matters. But he's well-loved in Iowa City all the same, and the fact that he has turned down offers from Michigan and several NFL teams is not lost on Iowa fans or administrators. Moreover, his teams haven't been bad since his first two years on campus, and he's producing a double-digit win season once per three years; if he keeps that pace up, he'll be at Iowa for as long as he wants.
Charlie Strong, Louisville, 0.5: Strong has only been at Louisville for one season, but he's already got a winning season under his belt (unlike the disastrous reign of his predecessor, Steve Kragthorpe), and he's recruiting well enough (in particular, QB signee Teddy Bridgewater) to keep Louisville winning in perpetuity. If Strong leaves, it's because a powerhouse came calling; he's legit, and everybody at Louisville knows it. If he delivers a BCS win, you can move him into the last category here.
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State, 0.5: Dantonio has been more successful at Michigan State than Nick Saban was. Mark Dantonio is therefore a better coach than Nick Saban. QED. If Dantonio can avoid any more health scares and start routinely challenging for Big Ten (sigh) Legends division championships, he's set for life in East Lansing. Easier said than done with Nebraska coming to town and Michigan likely to rebound from the recent swoon, though.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska, 0.5: Bo Pelini has done a fine job in his first three years as Nebraska head coach, and on first glance, it appears the young coach is the perfect candidate to lead the Huskers into the Big Ten. There's been an odd sense of impermanence from Pelini's stay at Nebraska though; it's unclear whether it comes from his tempermental sideline behavior (and his brother's) or his itinerant career thus far -- this fourth season as Huskers head coach makes this the longest coaching job Pelini has ever held. Whatever it is, he seems to lack the stable, staid nature of his longer-tenured fellow coaches. That's not insignificant; if a coach can make his fans and boosters believe he's got everything under control when things go south for a year or two, his seat can stay nice and cool for longer. Pelini is respected, but he's not quite there yet.


Nick Saban, Alabama, 0.0: Saban delivered a national championship to Tuscaloosa in his second year there, and his Crimson Tide have finished with three straight AP Top 10 finishes. He's the highest-paid coach in college football for a reason: he earns it.
Chris Peterson, Boise State, 0.5: Peterson basically ruined the WAC for everybody else, going 61-5 as Boise's head man. Sure, you can wonder where he'd be without Kellen Moore, but Peterson did beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl with Jared Zabransky behind center. Now that Utah and TCU are both running off to BCS conferences, expect Boise to dominate the Mountain West for as long as Peterson's there.
Chris Ault, Nevada, 0.0: If this scale could go into negative numbers, Ault would be at least a -10. He's a College Football Hall of Famer who has overseen Nevada's rise from Division II to the upper echelon of the FBS mid-majors. Ault is a true Nevada lifer: he played QB for the Wolfpack in the '60s, and he's on his 26th year as a head coach with the program (his 39th overall in some facet with the Nevada athletic department). He is never, ever, ever getting fired. 
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern, 0.0: Fitzgerald just signed a contract extension that has 10 years on it, but is a de facto lifetime contract. He'll probably be in Evanston for at least the next 20 years. Seems crazy to say something like that about Northwestern football, doesn't it? But here it is and here we are.
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech, 0.0: The Hokies owe as much to Beamer as just about any program and current coach in the country (other than the aforementioned Nevada and Ault or Penn State and Joe Paterno, who might as well get the school named after him upon retirement). When the ACC realigned in 2005 to include a championship game, the divisions were set up to ensure the possibility of Miami and FSU meeting every season. Instead, it's been Virginia Tech dominating the conference, appearing in four of six championship games and winning three. The ACC is Frank Beamer's conference, so the very notion of a hot seat for Beamer is essentially unimaginable.

Since: Aug 22, 2011
Posted on: August 22, 2011 9:15 pm

Hot Seat Ratings: Happy marriages or honeymoons?

Adam Jacobi has to be the worst writer CBS Sports has ever employed. If you've paid him any money you should get if back.
His story HOT SEAT RATINGS is pitiful. How can he leave Steve Spurrier out of the story after rating him with a 0.0 . Spurrier
has made a contender out of a team that has never been one. Saban has stepped into the best coaching job in America next to
Texas. Mack Brown and Marc Richt should be fired for not winning with all the talent they get every year. Spurrier is a Legend
who is writing his final chapter. Not to recognize him for the masterful job he is doing at S.C. shows what an incomplete writer
Jocobi is. THe only mention I see is that Muschamp will be in trouble if he loses to Spurrier. What about Chizik if he loses and
shows he's  one  quaterback away from being a very average coach! I hope he turns out to be a good coach because somebody
in the West needs to hold Alabama in check! Spurrier beats Ala, Fla, Ga, and Tenn for the first time in history at SC and you leave
him off your "you'll have to pry them from our cold dead hands" list. The worst! Find another job Adam. Spurrier is King in Columbia.

Since: Nov 15, 2008
Posted on: August 2, 2011 9:21 pm

Hot Seat Ratings: Happy marriages or honeymoons?

YES but in reality everyone Picks on Miles   But he is still a Good Coach as is Saban.. Still like Miles  as he goes for the Big Chances and sometimes you need coaches like that


Since: Oct 29, 2009
Posted on: July 5, 2011 1:27 pm

Hot Seat Ratings: Happy marriages or honeymoons?

Actually, almost all of the starting lineup for the National Championship team were sophmores and juniors. Therefore, they were Saban's recruits.

Since: Jun 27, 2011
Posted on: June 27, 2011 1:18 pm

Hot Seat Ratings: Happy marriages or honeymoons?

Fact 1: Neither Les Miles nor LSU is mentioned in this article.
Fact 2: Most of the key players on the 2009 championship team were recruited by Saban.
Fact 3: The interception call appears to have been incorrect but would it really have mattered?
;    Sub-Fact 3A: LSU had 9 yards of total offense in the 4th quarter.
;    Sub-Fact 3B: LSU was down by 6 at the time and therefore needed a touchdown to win the game.
;    Sub-Fact 3C: Bama had a very reliable FG kicker and therefore even a touchdown by LSU might not have been enough.
Fact 4: Les Miles' teams have had two inexcusable 4th quarter clock management meltdowns that not only call into question his
;    competence
, but also every one of his assistant coach's competence.  This may seem like opinion, but some opinions are so clearly
;    true that they cross over into the realm of fact.
Conclusion:  Your post (and especially its irrelevance to this article) shows that you (and many other LSU fans) are suffering from the "scorned woman" syndrome almost 10 years after being dumped. 

One last observation - Instead of the scorn you have for Saban, you should have appreciation.  In the 12 years prior to his tenure, LSU was 66-69-1 and was ranked in the top 25 three time in those years (none in top 10).  Since 2000, you have 2 national championships and have 6 top 10 finishes.  Next time I talk to Saban (which will be the first time), I will make sure give him your thanks. 

Since: Sep 20, 2009
Posted on: June 25, 2011 6:06 pm

Hot Seat Ratings: Happy marriages or honeymoons?

Bob Stoops should have been in the "pry from our our cold dead hands"he sure is one of the safest coaches in the nation

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: June 25, 2011 3:21 pm

Hot Seat Ratings: Happy marriages or honeymoons?

Saban won with Shula's players, but yet Saban gets all the credit.  Miles, who won with more his players than Saban's, doesn't get the credit when he won his title.  It's weird how the media decides things.  Apparently not with facts.  And of course if the call the interception in the LSU vs Bama game Saban probably doesn't win the title.

Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: June 25, 2011 2:39 am

Hot Seat Ratings: Happy marriages or honeymoons?

Saban did it at Alabama in his 3rd year.

First year was like 7-5 or something like that, with a loss to LA Monroe.   Bad season, but it was to be expected with the number of players that left town because they couldn't handle the discipline, and expectations.

2nd year was 12-2 and an undefeated regular season before dropping 2 at the end to Florida and Utah.

3rd year, National title.

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