Les Miles became the first major coach to get fired this year, as a loss to Auburn on Saturday put him over the top of Gus Malzahn in the proverbial hot seat power rankings.
With Miles gone, that leaves one major question for the rest of college football: which big program is going to be the next school to fire their head coach? We came up with three options, ranked by which dismissal will come the quickest.
One notable name missing from the list: the aforementioned Malzahn. The win over LSU probably bought him some time, as Auburn faces Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi State before a BYE week. It might not be much, but Malzahn should be able to make it through that BYE week, and the coaches below might not have that much time remaining.
1. Clay Helton, USC
If USC loses to Arizona State on Saturday, then Helton may need to make arrangements to be picked up from the airport. The Trojans have played a tough schedule so far, but starting 1-4 on the season after opening at No. 20 in the AP Poll would likely be the final straw with those in the USC athletic department.
To be fair, this isn’t really Helton’s fault. He probably should have never been hired in the first place after Steve Sarkisian was fired. Chip Kelly was reportedly interested in the job, but he was never offered. Because of that, it leaves USC in a position where they may have to fire another coach just one year in.
2. James Franklin, Penn State
Convenient timing: Penn State AD saying that James Franklin isn’t on the hot seat.
A “dreaded” vote of confidence? Could be. Franklin hasn’t been able to replicate his success from Vanderbilt at Penn State, which is really saying something. Now in a critical Year 3, Franklin needs to start showing results, but things look bleak after a 2-2 start and a 49-10 loss to Michigan.
Penn State has two real gut-check games coming up in Minnesota and Maryland at home. The Nittany Lion are pretty beat up as it is, and two losses in these games would not be a great look for Franklin, who is making $4.4 million annually from Penn State.
3. Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Stoops is in a similar situation to Franklin. He is in a critical year of producing results, and so far, things have still been bad for Kentucky.
Stoops has actually done decent on the recruiting trail in his time with the Wildcats, but the results still aren’t there. They lost their season-opener to Southern Miss, and then got blown out by Florida the very next week. They have actually recovered a bit with two straight wins, but with a game against Alabama looming… it might not be pretty.
Would a firing after a 50-0 loss to Alabama be fair? Not really, but it would show that Kentucky has made no progress under Stoops in four seasons, and could result in his firing.