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College Football Coaches On The Hot Seat In 2024

As we enter the conference championship week of the college football season, let's shift our focus to the head coaches who are experiencing heightened pressure regarding their job security. College football is an intensely competitive arena with lofty expectations, placing coaches squarely in the spotlight. If they've been on a prolonged streak of underachievement, their job could be in jeopardy.

Dino Babers, Dana Holgorsen, Tom Allen, and Jimbo Fisher found themselves on the list throughout the season, and they were all let go following the conclusion of the regular season. Dave Aranda will officially get at least one more season, along with Sam Pittman, despite very turbulent seasons.

Now, let's delve into the NCAA College Football Hot Seat Rankings for Power Five Coaches for 2024, with the 2023 regular season behind us.

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5. Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh Panthers

Record at School: 65-50 / (3-9 in 2023)

Pat Narduzzi is the only coach on this list with an above .500 record at his school and is just two seasons removed from being ACC champions in 2021. Pitt regressed once Kenny Pickett declared, but they still won nine games in 2022. However, they faced significant challenges in 2023, finishing just 3-9, including a 2-6 record in ACC play, both program lows under Narduzzi.

One down year isn't a sufficient reason to let a coach go, but Narduzzi must guide the Panthers to at least a bowl game in 2024 to ensure his safety. Before this season, skeptics had concerns about Narduzzi's ability to win bowl games and non-conference games. Pitt's only two bowl wins since he took over came in the Sun Bowl in 2022 over a 9-4 UCLA team and the Quick Lane Bowl in 2019, where they defeated a 6-6 Eastern Michigan team.

Having concerns about winning outside the conference, coupled with a season of just 2-6 in ACC play, is a brutal combination. With new teams joining the ACC next year, the schedule is only going to get more challenging. Narduzzi almost certainly gets the entire 2024 season but will need to return to at least six wins to stay beyond that.

 

4. Scott Satterfield, Cincinnati Bearcats

Record at School: 3-9 / (3-9 in 2023)

Scott Satterfield finished his first season with Cincinnati in a year they moved to the Big 12, and it went just as you would expect. After losing Luke Fickell following his strong tenure, the Bearcats chose to transition from the AAC to the Big 12 but needed to find a new coach for their inaugural season. Satterfield stepped in after resigning from Louisville, but 2023 went horribly for them.

The Bearcats were spoiled under Fickell, winning nine games in five straight years and achieving at least 11 wins three times. They famously made the College Football Playoff as a Group of Five team in 2022, with their only loss of the season coming against Alabama. However, everything flipped in 2023 with Satterfield's arrival and the move to the Big 12, as they finished with just one conference win.

Houston was the only Big 12 team they managed to beat, and the Cougars, who also moved from the AAC, finished 2-7 in conference play before firing their coach. Cincinnati even suffered a loss to in-state MAC rival Miami for the first time since 2005, signaling the challenging season ahead. While any sort of improvement in 2024 likely means Satterfield gets another year, another year at the bottom of the conference could put his job in jeopardy.

 

3. Billy Napier, Florida Gators

Record At School: 11-14 / (5-7 in 2023)

UF football has not been the powerhouse it once was in recent years, set to finish under .500 for the third consecutive season for the first time since 1945-1947. In the first year of the Napier tenure, the Gators started 6-4 with losses to tough teams but stumbled with a loss at Vanderbilt and then dropped the two remaining games, including the Vegas Bowl against Oregon State, ending with a disappointing 30-3 score.

In 2023, Florida finished with a 5-7 record and a 3-5 SEC record, marking the first time they will miss a bowl game since 2017. Their most notable win all year came in Week 3 at home against Tennessee, but they suffered losses to every other ranked SEC opponent and even fell at home to Arkansas, which finished SEC play with a 1-7 record.

Given the incredibly high standards of Florida football, the pressure to win is immense. Historically, coaches at Florida don't have the luxury of enduring two losing seasons and remaining in their position. However, Napier seems to be safe for 2024. If the Gators fail to secure eight wins and show substantial improvement under Napier in the upcoming season, it will almost certainly mark his last with the program.

 

2. Sam Pittman, Arkansas Razorbacks

Record at School: 23-25 / (4-8 in 2023)

Sam Pittman spent most of the regular season on this list, and he will remain on the hot seat heading into 2024. While a near .500 record in the brutal SEC conference might not look bad at first glance, the Razorbacks have failed to finish above .500 in SEC play under Pittman. They concluded the 2023 season with their worst mark in conference play, going just 1-7 against SEC teams, with the lone win coming in overtime against Florida.

Arkansas boasts a 2-0 record in bowl games under Pittman, but they have achieved nine wins only once and are trending back toward the record in his first year. Aside from the Florida victory, the Razorbacks' wins came against 7-4 FCS West Carolina, 1-11 MAC Kent State, and 4-8 FIU. Their early home loss to 5-7 BYU, a 7-3 home loss to Mississippi State, and a 48-10 blowout loss at home to Auburn reflect poorly in the grand scheme of things.

The level of play in the SEC is only getting tougher, and Arkansas is in danger of falling more toward the Vanderbilt tier in this conference. If Pittman cannot lead them to at least a bowl game in 2024, his chances of returning are slim. A slow start to the 2024 season could even mean Arkansas is looking for a new coach in September.

 

1. Dave Aranda, Baylor Bears

Record at School: 23-25 / (3-9 in 2023)

The Baylor Bears were riding high in 2021 under Dave Aranda, finishing 12-2 as Big 12 Champions and winning the Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss to end the season ranked #5 in the AP poll. However, 2022 marked a significant step back, with the Bears ending the regular season at 6-6 and losing in the Armed Forces Bowl 30-15 to Air Force.

Consistency through the first two years was lacking, and 2023 brought another unique outcome. Baylor finished the season with a dismal 3-9 record, including just a 2-7 mark in Big 12 play. Their wins this season came against Long Island, AAC newcomers UCF, and Houston, but by a combined four points. They finished below UCF in the Big 12 standings and were near the bottom with Cincinnati, BYU, and Houston.

The 2-7 record in Aranda's first season was excused from judgment due to it being his inaugural year and the challenges of dealing with COVID. While the highs with Aranda include a near-playoff finish, there has been zero consistency, and the program's status fluctuates under his leadership. Baylor needs to start winning in 2024, and securing at least a bowl game is imperative to keep their coach around.

 



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