Alabama Football: Beyond Tuscaloosa, coaching hot seats are relevant


Coaching hot seats are real, despite there not being one for Alabama Football. Besides Tuscaloosa, the world of head coach hot seats doesn’t exist in several more college towns for the 2021 season.

Where hot seats do inhabit, they can have a large impact. Even if no athletic director and no college president pay any attention, fans, including boosters do. Coaches claim to ignore any and all hot seat rankings but how can some of them not pay attention?

Numerous media outlets publish an annual hot seat ranking each offseason. My personal favorite is the one Dennis Dodd provides. Disagreeing over the ranking of some coaches, aside, Dodd presents a balanced effort, not inflating the problems of any coach in order to gain more eyeballs for his work.

When I disagree with Dodd’s annual ranking, it is usually because, in my opinion, some coaches are rated too high (secure) on his list.

Dodds rates the coaches on a scale of zero to five. Those getting a zero rating by Dodds are labeled ‘untouchable.’ The other levels are ‘1’ – ‘safe and secure’; ‘2’ – ‘all good … for now’; ‘3’ – ‘pressure is mounting’; ‘4’ – ‘start improving now’ and ‘5’ – ‘win or be fired’.

These ratings don’t apply to Alabama Football

The ratings are always for one season. If Dodd included more years in a rating, Nick Saban could be plugged in a ‘0’ for however many seasons he decides to coach. That situation for Alabama Football is not replicated in any other program. As much as Clemson loves Dabo, he does not have a situation equal to what I have suggested for Saban – a lifetime contract.

In this review of Dodds’ list, the new head coaches or the head coaches at new schools are not considered. Each of those 17 guys would have to totally collapse to not get a second season with their schools.

Among the 113 other head coaches, Dodds has 21 as ‘untouchable’. The only debate from me is whether Hugh Freeze belongs in that group. In the ‘safe and secure’ group, Dodds has a whopping 41 coaches. At ‘all good … for now’ are 28 coaches. Dodds has 14 guys in his ‘pressure is mounting’ category.

Levels 4 and 5, are where the rankings get interesting.

Level 4 – Start Improving Now

  • Herm Edwards – Arizona State
  • Jim Harbaugh – Michigan
  • Walt Bell – Massachusetts
  • Clay Helton – USC
  • Dana Dimel – UTEP
  • Ed Orgeron – LSU

Level 5 – Win or be Fired

  • Scott Frost – Nebraska
  • Randy Edsell – Connecticut
  • Justin Fuente – Virginia Tech

The most interesting names at those two levels are Harbaugh, Orgeron and Frost. For the three, being a legend at their respective schools does not protect them. It has helped Harbaugh in the past, but will not going forward. The love for Frost is gone in Lincoln after three seasons culminating in a 12-20 record. And Coach O cannot count on LSU’s recent National Championship saving his job.

Who are the top coaches not named Saban?. dark. Next

College football is a tough world – everywhere but Tuscaloosa. Once Saban retires, the same will be true at the Capstone.