Unlike Alabama Football With Nick Saban at the helm, being the head coach of college football is a difficult one. There was a time when newly hired coaches had extended honeymoons of three or four or even five seasons to build a successful team.
Those days are gone forever. In today’s college football world, some coaches feel hot in a new job before the end of their freshman year. One example is Mel Tucker in Michigan. Even in a season when COVID made measuring success difficult, some fans doubt Tucker after the Spartans went 2-5. As far as Tucker’s honeymoon is in East Lansing, it’s about beating Michigan.
Alabama football hasn’t always been stable
For some newly hired head coaches, the honeymoon only lasts until the start of the season. Either their careers got off to a good start or the programs they inherit so flawed that they have to win quickly. Josh Heupel in Tennessee could find himself in such a situation. As stable as Alabama Football was under Nick Saban, none of the Tide head coaches between Gene Stallings was ever on solid ground.
The instability of head coaches contributes to the fact that there are programs that will not sustain profit under any coach. Doug Martin is said to be sitting in a hot seat in New Mexico state, but the Aggies are going to stay awful no matter who follows Martin. Aside from the James Franklin seasons, this also applies to Vanderbilt. The Dores are passionate about Clark Lea and his honeymoon will last longer than most. But Vandy coaches have little chance of winning in the SEC.
College soccer fans love to discuss hot seat rankings. Opinions vary as to which seats will be hottest in 2021. Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Clay Helton (USC), Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech), Scott Frost (Nebraska) and Jeff Brohm (Purdue) make up most of the lists. Barrett Sallee, who writes for CBS, suggests Kirby Smart and Lincoln Riley must deliver in 2021.
Sallee is not arguing that Smart or Riley are in danger of losing their jobs. He makes a more reasonable argument that no one lived up to expectations. Expectations won’t change. So the question for both coaches is how many seasons they have if they fail to make the CFB playoff or fail to win a national championship, which is considered a failure. A mistake that they cannot then correct. Some Georgia fans are already admitting that Kirby’s record isn’t much better than Mark Richter’s.
The bar to defeat Saban is too high
Win big and do it now is so often the mandate. Even winning a national championship does not guarantee job security. Ed Orgeron killed the Alabama Football dragon (and the rest of college football) in 2019, but a grumble can already be heard in Baton Rouge.
LSU should bounce back next season, but a third or fourth place in SEC West will put Coach O on every hot seat list from 2022.