The Big 12 is in a very unusual spot this season. The conference is returning all ten head coaches from 2017. Meantime, the SEC is introducing six new head coaches to the mix this fall. But despite the return of all ten in the Big 12, that doesn’t mean there isn’t pressure to win in 2018. There is. So let’s get into the hot seat rankings for the Big 12 coaches as we enter the 2018 season, which is just 34 days away!
Red Hot Seats
1. David Beaty, Kansas: 10/10
Beaty has a new athletic director in Jeff Long, who has been hired to specifically turn around the football program. Can Beaty be the guy who ultimately gets the Jayhawks trending in the right direction? He’s 3-33 over three seasons and while the program was in absolute shambles when he took it over, there needs to begin to be signs of progress in Year 4. The amount of 40+ point losses in Year 3 was incredibly concerning. Beaty probably needs 3 wins, more like 4, to justify even having the conversation to keep his job in 2019.
2. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech: 7/10
The reason I don’t think this number is an 8 or a 9 is because the Texas Tech administration, boosters and fans all desperately want Kingsbury to succeed. He’s a hometown kid, who loves Lubbock and the Red Raiders. This university has been burned too many times by coaches who just don’t view the program like they do. Kingsbury isn’t one of those. So his leash is naturally longer. It can be debated ad nauseam as to whether or not Kingsbury is currently the head coach if he doesn’t beat Texas at the end of last season. But that’s old news, even he knows that it’s imperative he wins… and wins in 2018.
3. Tom Herman, Texas: 5/10
Don’t kid yourselves, Texas fans will start grumbling if this team goes 6-6 again this season. Herman is expected to have a nice jump in Year 2 and apparently Las Vegas agrees, giving UT the second-best odds to make the College Football Playoff in the Big 12. The Longhorns just finished with a top 5 recruiting class in 2018, but is the quarterback position officially figured out? That will be a huge piece to figure out for this program. Plus, all this noise around the program, most recently involving DeShon Elliott, will only get louder if the wins don’t pile up.
4. Matt Rhule, Baylor: 5/10
Baylor won one game last season. Even the biggest Baylor pessimists didn’t expect it to be that bad. But a lack of depth combined with awful injury luck allowed that to happen. Rhule remains very optimistic and is recruiting incredibly well, all things considered. But if Baylor has another season with anywhere from 2-4 wins, there will be a loud chorus of fans who are going to begin questioning whether or not Rhule can turn around this program.
A little toasty seat
5. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia: 4/10
The Mountaineers enter the season with a a Heisman-contending quarterback in Will Grier, and possibly the most explosive offense in the country. WVU fans are dying to see Holgorsen take that next jump with this program and consistently compete for Big 12 Championships. If not this year with this offense, then when? I think some fans have unrealistic expectations for this program, who believe it should duplicate it’s Big East success year in, year out. That’s not fair in the Big 12. But it is very reasonable to expect a 10-win season this fall.
6. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: 2/10
This is not a “hot seat” by any stretch, but it’s more of an, “is it time for this guy to just retire” seat? K-State should be pretty darn good this fall and even better in 2019. If those expectations aren’t met, will the percentage of fans who want to see Snyder hang ’em up continue to increase? It’s possible. But is he on a hot seat? No. Not when the stadium is named after you.
7. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: 2/10
The more interesting side of this story is the relationship between Gundy and Mike Holder and T. Boone Pickens and the entire administration. Gundy continues to have his little off-season flirtations with other programs, most recently it was the Tennessee Vols. If this season is an even bigger rebuild than it’s expected to be, say 5-6 wins, who knows if that strains the relationship even further. The guy has won 10 games in each of the past three seasons and still no one seems to get along. A disappointing 2018 might be more salt into the wounds.
8. Matt Campbell, Iowa State: 1/10
Campbell is trying to build off of what was the best Iowa State football season in a decade and a half. It won’t be easy in a Big 12 Conference that has an enormous amount of depth. Fans will now be expecting a bowl game in Ames, and with Campbell armed with a big-time extension, he’s being paid to produce those kind of results. Can he do it? The fans love him, but it will be interesting to see the reaction if Iowa State goes back to the 3-5 win territory.
Ice Cold Seats
9. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma: 0/10
The guy was Bob Stoops’ hand-picked successor and then reached the College Football Playoff in Year 1, while having a Heisman winner at quarterback. Sure, he botched some play calling down the stretch of the Playoff game against Georgia, but Lincoln Riley earned himself a big extension and the OU football program is arguably as healthy as it’s ever been.
10. Gary Patterson, TCU: 0/10
From the Mountain West to a Power 5 Conference and competing for conference championships. TCU struck gold with Gary Patterson and should be grateful every second of every day that this man is the leader of this program. Not only that, he’s happy at TCU, isn’t going anywhere, and wants to take this program to the next level, which is a College Football Playoff. Does it get any better for a small, private school like TCU? Nope.
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