CFB Coaches on the Hot Seat

Story posted October 19, 2017 in

As we sit a little past the halfway point of the regular season, we are now seeing a clearer picture of which coaches have perhaps saved their jobs or thrown their fate up for grabs among their boards of trustees. The following coaches are either sleeping very little at night or probably shouldn’t be if not the case.

First up: Jim McElwain, Florida.

Though many seem to think McElwain and his $12.5 million buyout clause aren’t leaving Gainesville anytime soon, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he were out sometime in the near future.

McElwain has brought his Gators to two SEC Championship games since being hired in 2015, though only to be outclassed by Alabama on national television. Though this may look good on paper, the SEC East is an utter joke and McElwain’s coaching shouldn’t deserve any of the credit for it.

In his time at Florida, many electric players have graced the field on both sides of the ball, but their quarterback quality has been horrendous, aside from the brief pre-suspension/transfer Will Grier period. To tell the truth, the Gators haven’t been able to find a competent long-term quarterback since Tim Tebow and have thus been boring to watch since.

I believe the lack of success, as well as a fan base disinterested by the boring on-field displays may lead to a McElwain firing sooner than most envision.

Keeping it in the SEC, next up is have Kevin Sumlin.

Sumlin is another coach whose buyout clause would cause his university to wince while making the decision to fire him, but it feels like this question is going to hang around until it finally happens.

Sumlin is a very likeable guy by all accounts and is actually a pretty good coach as well. Unfortunately for him, the people above him seem to have it out for him for reasons level-headed people probably wouldn’t empathize with.

Sumlin’s A&M teams have all been quite successful and seem to always at least have that one household name player that sells tickets. This year that would be Wide Receiver Christian Kirk. However, Sumlin’s firing has already been threatened by his AD and at least one board of trustees member this year.

I think Sumlin will survive this year because he has been forced to start Kellen Mond at quarterback. Mond clearly wasn’t in the plans for Sumlin before the season began, but his solid play and the team’s 5-2 record may land them in the top 25 at some point and save Sumlin for now.

Next up, another high roller in danger of collecting a large sum of money from a public university to not coach their football team, Jim Mora of UCLA.

We all know who Josh Rosen is and if we stay up late enough on Saturday nights it looks quite obvious that he deserves the lofty projections given by the NFL Mock draft analysts. Unfortunately, if Rosen goes to the league and becomes a star quarterback, there will probably be a large number of casual UCLA fans unaware that he played for them.

This has been a forgettable era in UCLA football and could end with a losing season as the 3-3 Bruins still have Oregon, Washington, Utah and USC left on the schedule. If the powers that be can stomach the $11 million buyout, Mora ought to be gone.

After the bizarre incident prior to the season opener in which Mora cancelled practice due to concerns over espionage, I’d be inclined to think that things have been anything but smooth behind the scenes at UCLA. I’m sure the fans are already scouring the market looking for possible replacements.

Last but not least and anything but safe is Butch Jones of Tennessee.

Jones’ Tennessee squad were thought to be top 25 worthy before the season started, but head into their seventh game as 36 point underdogs against Alabama. I think that ought to say enough about where Butch Jones stands.

Outside of Jauan Jennings’ stellar Hail Mary catch to beat Georgia last year, Butch Jones has never seemed able to get the Volunteers to win a meaningful game.

Tennessee has played three straight home games: escaping UMass, getting shutout by Georgia and snuffed out by South Carolina.

This has been a horrible run and Butch Jones body language seems to indicate that he has known he was running on borrowed time for a while now. He may be the only coach on this list in serious danger of being fired before the season is through.


Patrick Murphy is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email