Derek Dooley – Tennessee
After an embarrassing display on Saturday against Vanderbilt, Dooley sits firmly on the hottest seat in all of college football as the head coach of the Volunteers. In almost three full seasons with the Volunteers, Dooley has compiled a record of just 15-21 and has won just four SEC conference games in total (zero this season).
Saturday’s horrendous loss at the hands of in-state rival Vanderbilt was the Volunteers first since 1982. As embarrassed as Dooley should be and likely is, it would be even more embarrassing for Tennessee’s athletic department to keep him around for the 2013 season.
Gene Chizik – Auburn
When you coach in the SEC the pressure is ten-fold of that compared to most conferences. Auburn coach Gene Chizik is finding this pressure out the hard way. Just two years removed from a national title in 2010, the Tigers head coach is destined to be shown the door after an all-time forgettable season thus far.
Chizik’s Tigers currently sit at 2-8 and are dead last in the SEC, despite a cupboard full of talented players. Chizik has also never won more than eight games in a season as a head coach outside of Auburn’s national championship season of 2010 and it could be argued that quarterback Cam Newton could’ve led the Tigers to the title without Chizik there anyway. In his only other stop as a head coach, Chizik went 5-19 in two seasons with the Iowa State Cyclones.
Jeff Tedford – Cal
You would think that a coach whose career includes two Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards and a Pac-10 Co-Championship in another year couldn’t possibly be on the hot seat, right? Wrong. Cal’s Jeff Tedford is known as a quarterback guru and his first five years at the helm were remarkable as he helped build a name for the Golden Bears football program. However, since 2007 the Bears have just a 39-36 record overall and have been out-shined by other (now Pac-12) up-and-comers like Stanford, Arizona and Washington.
The unfortunate part for Tedford is that his own performance early on at Cal may have set the bar too high for his current coaching self.
John L. Smith – Arkansas
It seems pretty cruel to include Smith on this list. He was basically forced into taking over a Razorbacks program which had begun to perform exceptionally well under former coach Bobby Petrino’s watch before his abrupt firing this past summer. From 2009-2011 Arkansas went 29-10 and looked poised to become perennial SEC favorites. However, we must remember that Smith had so much talent to work with that it should’ve been virtually impossible to screw it up and yet somehow the Razorbacks have managed to win just four games all season. And no, one of those wins was not against Sun Belt member Louisiana-Monroe in the second week of the season.
With the amount of talent and experience that was inherited by him and with his history of coaching, Smith should have been able to come up with much more this year. On the contrary, this year’s team seems lethargic and un-motivated.
Danny Hope – Purdue
Last season’s Purdue team looked to be making a lot of strides in the right direction after a Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl victory over Western Michigan pushed them to a winning record. It was Hope’s third season at the helm of the Boilermaker program which made the steadily improvement seem very logical, indeed. Naturally it seemed as though 2012 would be the perfect opportunity for an improving Boilermakers team to take control of the Leaders Division of the Big Ten and have a legitimate shot at the Big Ten title; seeing as how Wisconsin was losing a top quarterback and both Ohio State and Penn State would be ineligible for bowl games or a conference title.
Things haven’t quite gone as planned for Hope and his boys, though. Purdue has struggled to win in a very easy division in a struggling conference and barely scraped by conference bottom-feeders Illinois on Saturday. Purdue now sits at 5-6 on the season and must beat in-state rival Indiana next week to have any hope at making a bowl game. It all seems fairly inexcusable for a team which returned so many starters coming into 2012.
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