College football hot seat rankings: The ax moves closer to falling in Knoxville

We’re at the point of the college football season where several games produce scores that can be considered firing offenses for embattled coaches. Yet nobody lost their job this past week.

If that happens again, after how Week 8 went, 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, though probably not for long.

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 wasn’t that surprising. 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 while the Cornhuskers are on a bye.

7. David Beaty, Kansas

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Ed Zurga/Getty Images
  • 2017 record: 1-6, 0-4 Big 12
  • Record at school: 3-28 (3rd 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 and 47 straight away from home including neutral-site games, the most recent a 43-0 beatdown at No. 4 TCU on Saturday.

The winless road streak has spanned four 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, as well as 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 with 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 (2nd 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 its the one Georgia Southern has used since Tyson Summers took over the program, which instead of frustrating foes is leaving them laughing.

Just ask previously winless Massachusetts, which held the Eagles to 136 rushing yards on 41 carries in a 55-20 home victory. 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 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, its been a complete reversal, which might prompt the school to cut bait on him in the very near future.

UPDATE: Zach Barnett of FootballScoop.com is reporting Summers has been fired. Assistant Chad Lunsford is expected to serve as interim coach.

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 usually 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 loss that Rice suffers, it will force the school 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 (2nd season)
  • Last week’s ranking: 7th

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.

Crowtown was given four years before he was fired, but that was when BYU was still in the Mountain West and not yet as ambitious. That changed when it went independent in 2011, significantly raising expectations in Provo.

East Carolina was giving up nearly 50 points per game coming in and the Cougars 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

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
  • 2017 record: 2-5, 0-4 SEC
  • Record at school: 27-31 (5th season)
  • Last week’s ranking: 6th

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. A season that 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, even 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 Saturday’s 52-20 home loss to Auburn means it has been outscored 141-51 in the last three games.

2. Larry Fedora, North Carolina

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Michael Hickey/Getty Images
  • 2017 record: 1-7, 0-5 ACC
  • Record at school: 41-32 (6th season)
  • Last week’s ranking: 2nd

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 lost complete control of his team.

North Carolina lost 59-7 at No. 14 Virginia Tech on Saturday, their fifth consecutive defeat. The Tar Heels will not be going to a bowl game just two years 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 UNC’s 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

Scott Halleran/Getty Images
  • 2017 record: 3-4, 0-4 SEC
  • Record at school: 33-25 (5th season)
  • Last week’s ranking: 1st

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 TD in Saturday’s 45-7 loss, its first since Sept. 23. Linebacker Daniel Bituni’s 97-yard interception return still resulted in ignominy for the Vols courtesy of teammate Rashaan Gaulden.

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.

The post College football hot seat rankings: The ax moves closer to falling in Knoxville appeared first on Diehards.

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