2024 College Football Head Coach Hot Seat Tiers

Which coaches need to have their LinkedIn's ready to be updated by late September?

2024 College Football Head Coach Hot Seat Tiers

For those reading on e-mail: click 'view in browser' to see the full contents of today's post


Welcome the second annual 2StripesCPD college football head coach hot seat tier rankings! How close is your favorite team's head coach to getting FIRED? Find out below!

2024 College Football Head Coach Hot Seat Tiers

Tier one: Jeff Hafley saw the writing on the wall and got out of dodge, so now you're at the top of this list

Google, "College football hot seat 2024," and I guarantee you almost all the guys listed below will be near the top of each article you find.

  • Billy Napier - Florida

You know the best way to start the season when you're a coach on the hottest seat in the country? Beating an in-state rival whose coach is also under the broiler in week one at home.

You know the worst way to start the season when you're a coach on the hottest seat in the country? Losing to an in-state rival in week one whose coach is also under the broiler in week one at home.

Godspeed, Billy Napier:

  • Sam Pittman - Arkansas

There's saying in hockey that goes, "If you're gonna stink, stink on the road." An Arkansas home schedule that includes Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss and Texas is bad news for Sam Pittman if you believe in that line of thinking:

  • Dave Aranda - Baylor

Aranda was one of those hires that felt like an obvious home run when Baylor made it in 2020, and early returns backed those feelings up. The Bears won 12 games, the Big 12, and the Sugar Bowl in his second season, earning Aranda a contract extension through 2029. Unfortunately, his 9-16 record in the two years since have him in desperate need of a strong 2024.

Aranda made changes at both coordinator spots, if you count him taking over defensive playcalling duties this season. That's usually the last card to play for a coach fighting for his job, so he better hope it works out.

  • Clark Lea - Vanderbilt

What's a Vanderbilt head coach supposed to do in the SEC, especially now that we're in the age of NIL and the transfer portal? The easy answer: not go 2-10 with a loss to UNLV like Lea did last season.

Vandy's in a tough spot, but Lea's 9-27 overall record simply isn't good enough. He has to find ways to improve them on the margins this year, because a significant jump in wins looks impossible with this schedule:

  • Stan Drayton - Temple

Here are Drayton's six wins through two seasons at Temple:

  • 2022
    • 30-14 vs. Lafayette
    • 28-0 vs. UMass
    • 54-28 vs. South Florida
  • 2023
    • 24-21 vs. Akron
    • 41-9 vs. Norfolk State
    • 32-18 vs. Navy

All bad teams, no wins on the road. I'm rooting for Drayton to succeed, but that speaks for itself.

  • Will Hall - Southern Miss

I didn't win 75-straight games and 5 national titles at Southern Miss for this 13-24 in three seasons bullshit:

  • Mike Neu - Ball State

What do you think of Mike Neu's eight seasons at Ball State?

His overall record may look ugly, but most of that is courtesy of his first three seasons. Neu's regularly had the Cardinals in bowl(ish) contention since 2019, plus has a MAC Title and the program's only bowl win, to boot. He's done a fantastic job, all things considered.

On the flipside, Ball State took a dramatic tumble in 2023. Their record was inflated with wins over Kent State (maybe the worst team in FBS last year) and Indiana State. Those were also the only two games they scored more than 24 points in. You never know what can happen in the MAC, so maybe the Cardinals ride a couple close-game wins to near-bowl eligibility and Neu makes it to year ten. I just can't see that happening after 2023's collapse.

Tier 1.5: Guys with no excuses and a couple losses away from a fanbase meltdown on Twitter Spaces

  • Mario Cristobal - Miami (FL)

The Canes handled their QB situation, made other strong adds in the portal, and have a schedule begging for playoff contention. Anything less is probably it for Cristobal.

  • Ryan Day - Ohio State

Self-explanatory.

Tier two: The instant heat up

Did anyone else have one of these electric heating pads growing up? My mom kept that exact model in our house, and let me tell you: It went from, "Takes a second to get warm," to "My ass is on fire," in a heartbeat. That's what 2024 is for this group.

  • Sonny Cumbie - Louisiana Tech

I could've put Cumbie in tier seven with the other year two/three coaches, but his situation feels more dire. Tech's gone 3-9 in each of his two seasons, fading down the stretch in both. They lost six straight to end 2023, capped by allowing 522 yards rushing to Jacksonville State in the season finale. Maybe year three brings a miraculous change of Cumbie's fortunes in Ruston, but we're not far from tier one territory here.

  • Butch Jones - Arkansas State

I spent most of last season making fun of Jones in my hot seat rankings, but I'll give him credit - Arkansas State looked decent down the stretch. The Redwolves won three of their last five, sneaking into a bowl and saving Jones' job. He's still just 11-26 in three seasons, but there's reason to be optimistic that he makes it to 2025. The offense should score plenty, and the schedule sets up nicely if the roster makes it through the Michigan/Iowa State back-to-back intact. You never know what can happen in the Sun Belt, though, and a couple of coinflip losses plus a stumble on the road against a team like Southern Miss will put Jones right back under the microscope.

  • Mike Bloomgren - Rice
  • Thomas Hammock - Northern Illinois
  • Scott Satterfield - Cincinnati

How much do you want to blame Satterfield for his first season at Cincinnati? On one hand: A sizable chunk of the roster hit the portal when Luke Fickell left for Wisconsin, right as the Bearcats moved to the Big 12. It's (somewhat) understandable that they went 1-8 in conference play. On the other: they missed a bowl for the first time since 2017, had their longest losing streak since 1998 (seven), and had a 16-game winning-streak against rival Miami (Ohio) snapped at home. They play Miami again this year, and another loss not only isn't out of the question - it feels likely. I never thought Satterfield was a good fit here, and I wouldn't be surprised if everyone involved feels the same.

  • Mike Houston - East Carolina

Much like Will Hall at Southern Miss, this man has massacred my once-beautiful program:

  • Tony Elliott - Virginia
  • Blake Anderson - Utah State

Tier 2.5: Guys who will be in the NFL next season

Whether they don't want to deal with NIL, just flat out can't recruit, or finally found an NFL GM willing to look past how big of a psychopath they are (Jim Harbaugh), college head coaches leaving for jobs in the pros is about to become a more common occurrence. We saw it this past offseason with Jeff Hafley and Boston College. Hafley knew he was likely getting fired this year, cried about not getting to watch enough film, and bolted for Green Bay. I'm positive we'll see at least one move like that again this December.