College football coaches are changed very frequently, which means that some coaches are already on the hot seat heading into the 2020 college football season. Here are the 5 college football coaches on the hot seat in 2020.
1. Clay Helton, USC Trojans
Over four full seasons with the Trojans and two partial seasons, Helton has posted a 40-22 record. That is good enough at a lot of places, but not at USC. He had back to back good seasons with a win in the Rose Bowl in 2016 and a Cotton Bowl appearance in 2017. Other than those years though, Helton’s Trojans have been pretty average. In 2018 the team went 5-7 and last year they finished 8-5. Helton will need to have a great season in 2020 to keep his job.
New USC AD Mike Bohn kept Helton on, but a good season would vastly help his job security. USC has every opportunity to have a great season with 17 returning starters. Kedon Slovis is back at quarterback after a great freshman season. If he can improve, the team has a chance to win the Pac-12. A Pac-12 title would save Helton’s job and could open up opportunities in the future.
2. Chip Kelly, UCLA Bruins
UCLA has had an abysmal two seasons under Chip Kelly. They have a 7-17 record and the teams hardly resemble the powerhouse teams that Kelly had at Oregon. In his first season with the team, they went 3-9. They improved to 4-8 last year. The small improvement will not keep people in Los Angeles happy. Now that he has had a couple of years to recruit, the results need to start coming in.
Qualifying for a bowl game in 2020 is the necessary step for Kelly to keep his job. It will be hard for Kelly to accomplish, as he has just 10 returning starters on the team. Their defense was one of the worst in the country last season and the offense was below average. When vast improvements are needed this isn’t the best situation to be in. Kelly might be the first coach fired if he doesn’t pick up some early season wins.
3. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt Commodores
Vanderbilt isn’t an easy job and Mason has done solidly given the circumstances. The unfortunate part about that is that the wins have just not added up. He is 27-47 in his six years with the team. They have made two bowl games under Mason’s tenure, in 2016 and 2018. The Commodores lost both contests. The job isn’t getting any easier and another losing season could get Mason fired.
The Commodores do have 15 starters back this season, but it will be hard to pick up wins in the SEC. Making a bowl game should save Mason’s job. They will have some opportunities for wins when they play Mercer, Missouri, Colorado State and Louisiana Tech, but they’ll need to have some upsets to get to six wins.
4. Kevin Sumlin, Arizona Wildcats
There were some high expectations for Arizona the last few seasons with Khalil Tate at quarterback. He struggled with injuries and fitting into Kevin Sumlin’s offense. Sumlin’s record with Arizona has faltered as a result. He has gone 9-15, which is well below expectations with Tate on the roster. Sumlin needs a good season or he could be searching for a new job this offseason.
He’ll have 14 returning starters at Arizona, but with how poorly they played last year they’ll need new talent to step up. Their offense was below average and brings back six starters, while their defense was one of the worst in the country and brings back eight starters. Sumlin has his work cut out for him as he tries to get the Wildcats back to a bowl game.
5. Tom Herman, Texas Longhorns
Herman has had some success at Texas, including his 10 wins in 2018, which included a victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. But the team came back down to earth last season with an 8-5 record. At Texas, Herman has a 25-15 record. The fans and boosters are ready for a big season and if he doesn’t deliver, he could be on his way out.
The good news for Herman is that he’ll have all the tools to win this year in Austin. He has 14 returning starters, including starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Herman also has a good recruiting class coming in to help fill some voids on the team. With Texas’ schedule, nine wins should be the bare minimum expected of them. If everything falls into place, Texas has a chance to win the Big 12 and possibly make the CFP. Having a season that good will guarantee that Herman isn’t fired following the season.
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