We’re now less than two weeks away from the start of the 2019 college football season and “hot seat rankings” season is officially here.
Which head coaches are most at-risk of losing their jobs in 2019?
There are at least five major head coaches on the hot seat heading into the upcoming season, which begins on Saturday, Aug. 24 with Florida-Miami.
Let’s kick things off with USC head coach Clay Helton.
1. USC head coach Clay Helton
Many expected Helton, who’s been USC’s head coach since 2016, to be fired following the 2018 season, though he’s getting another year. One more season might be it.
We already have some former USC stars revealing that they’ll be recruiting Urban Meyer to Southern California if Helton doesn’t get it together.
“We’ll definitely be recruiting him,” Reggie Bush said. “What makes you think we won’t be recruiters? Nothing is off the table.”
Talk of Urban Meyer-to-USC is heating up as the season approaches, with Yahoo! Sports outlining the possibility in a big feature earlier in the week.
“I just don’t see how he sits out the rest of his life,” a former colleague of Meyer’s told Yahoo! Sports. “That’s who he is, that’s what he does.”
2. Florida State head coach Willie Taggart
Taggart is only entering his second season in Tallahassee, Fla., but Year 1 was a big enough disaster that he’s firmly on the hot seat in Year 2. The Seminoles are coming off a 5-7 season.
Florida State, one of college football’s 10 or 15 greatest programs ever, likely won’t be too patient if FSU has another disappointing season in 2019.
The Seminoles aren’t recruiting at a truly elite level, either, bringing in the the No. 19 class for 2019. Things need to change in a hurry in Tallahassee.
3. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn
Malzahn is basically always on the hot seat at Auburn and you never know what the Tigers’ boosters are going to push for. Rumors suggested many boosters wanted him out following the disappointing 2018 season (some rumors even suggested former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was in play).
It would probably be surprising if Malzahn was officially “fired,” but don’t be surprised if he’s not with the program in 2020.
4. Illinois head coach Lovie Smith
Smith was a surprising hire for the Illini a couple of years ago and it hasn’t worked out – yet, anyway.
Illinois is 9-27 in three seasons under the former NFL head coach. The Illini have gotten some big transfers and are starting to look more talented, so improvement will need to be shown in 2019.
There’s still a lot of money on his contract, too, which could make a change difficult, though if the Illini post something like a 3-9 season, that might not matter.
5. Rutgers head coach Chris Ash
Ash, the former Ohio State assistant coach, was almost fired at the end of the 2018 season, though he’s gotten another year.
The Scarlet Knights have been basement dwellers in the Big Ten, though they have a promising young quarterback and could improve in 2019.
Ash is 7-29 as Rutgers’ head coach.
Rutgers opens the year on Aug. 30 against UMass.
Who’s your pick to be fired in 2019?