Could we have asked for more from the first two weeks of the college football season? After a great opening weekend, we had a bevy of excellent games in the second week with some big losses along the way. Some coaches saw their seats heat up this weekend and, one in particular, could be in the beginning of the end of a long tenure with his school.
Some new faces grace the hot seat this week while old faces remain on hot seat watch. Here is the hot seat after week two of the college football season.
Caution: Highly Flammable
Mark Richt (Georgia) — After last week’s disappointing loss to Boise State in the Georgia Dome, Mark Richt and his Bulldogs had a chance for a huge win at home against South Carolina. To his credit, Georgia played much better this week than last, but they still came up short, losing 45-42 to the Gamecocks and starting the season 0-2. It’s still early in the season, but if there was ever a must-win for a head coach, this was it.
Although it was just week two, this game meant a lot in the SEC East race, with the winner taking early control of the division. I don’t expect Richt to get fired during the season, but it seems like only an Eastern division title could save his job at this point. Richt’s 10-year tenure in Athens could be in its last days…
Houston Nutt (Ole Miss) — Ole Miss’ 42-24 win over Southern Illinois in Oxford did little to ease the pressure off of him. He could have taken himself squarely off of the hot seat if they would have been able to hang on and beat BYU last week. Instead, the Rebels sit at 1-1 after the first two weeks with their win coming against an FCS opponent. Colonel Reb faces a pretty tough test next week when they go to Nashville to play an undefeated Vanderbilt. It’s going to be a tough sled for Ole Miss if they want to get bowl eligible, and that might be the only thing that could buy him one more year.
Rick Neuheisel (UCLA) — So, the highly flammable section remains the same after week one. UCLA evened their record with a 27-17 win over San Jose State in Los Angeles on Saturday night, but that kind of win doesn’t raise the optimism for the 2011 Bruins. They struggled to finally put away San Jose State, and they have a tough remaining schedule to show improvement. They’ll host Texas on Saturday in a huge game for Neuheisel. I think a bowl berth would give Neuheisel one more shot with UCLA, but if this team doesn’t start showing improvement and fast, he will be looking for a new job after this season.
Mike Riley (Oregon State) — Oregon State has looked flat out bad so far this season, and if they don’t show signs of improvement, then Riley could move up to the next level of the hot seat. I still don’t think he will lose his job this season barring an inexplicable collapse, but would that be a surprise by the way the Beavers have played so far? After being upset by Sacramento State last week, Oregon State was shutout in Madison by Wisconsin. Nobody expected Oregon State to beat Wisconsin on Saturday, but there were hopes for improvement after last week’s embarrassing defeat by an FCS school. Instead, the Beavers looked every bit as inept against the Badgers. Oregon State’s schedule offers no breaks with the next four games coming against UCLA, @Arizona State, Arizona, and BYU.
Neil Callaway (UAB) — Jim Grobe was in this spot last week, but got himself off with Wake Forest’s huge victory over NC State in their ACC opener this week. Replacing Grobe is Neil Callaway, whose Blazers got off to a rough start to 201 with a 39-point shutout loss in Gainesville against Florida. There weren’t realistic expectations that UAB could pull of the upset, but there was hopes for a better performance. A loss to Tulane next week in Birmingham could easily lead to UAB starting the season 0-7 with games against @East Carolina, @Troy, Mississippi State, @Tulsa, and Central Florida.
Mike Locksley (New Mexico) — New Mexico got off to an 0-2 to the 2011 season with a blowout defeat at the hands of Arkansas. After losing to Colorado State to open the season, the Lobos look to be well on their way to another rough campaign this season. They’ll head to Lubbock next week to take on Texas Tech, and that will likely signal an 0-3 start. With just two wins in two years, Locksley’s seat continues to heat up. It’s going to probably take 3-4 wins this season as a clear sign of improvement for him to get a fourth season, unless they decide to keep him simply based on the way he’s recruited.
Paul Wulff (Washington State) — It’s been an excellent start to the 2011 season for the Cougars after they got off to a 2-0 start with a 59-7 blowout win over UNLV this weekend. In the first two games of the season, Washington State leads the nation in points per game at 61.5. They are showing clear signs of improvement so far in 2011 and a couple more wins could take Wulff off of the hot seat. We’ll see what Washington State is made of the next few weeks with three straight road games against San Diego State, Colorado, and UCLA. If they could win two out of those three somehow, they would be looking at a 4-1 start, needing only two wins to get bowl eligible.
Greg Schiano (Rutgers) — It’s hard to say Greg Schiano is on the hot seat after all he’s done for the Scarlet Knight program, but like I’ve said before, college football is all about what you’ve done for me lately, and lately Rutgers has regressed. Rutgers went 4-8 last season, and are off to a 1-1 start in 2011. The Knights eased past NC Central in the opener, and then suffered a heart breaking loss to North Carolina this weekend. Schiano is another guy that isn’t likely to lose his job this season, but another year of missing a bowl game could put the heat squarely on him heading into 2012.