The first domino has fallen with Nebraska firing Scott Frost as the head coach after a 1-2 start. The final straw for the former Nebraska quarterback was Saturday’s 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern. Combined with a loss to Northwestern in the season opener, Frost’s time to turn things around came to an end after returning to his alma mater in 2018.
He posted a 16-31 record with the Huskers and a 10-26 mark in Big Ten play.
Frost was at the top of the list as the Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches were most likely to get fired. With Nebraska making that move, the attention now turns to other coaches who could be living on borrowed time.
Here is a look at the coaches from the Power-5 conferences who might be getting to the “now or never” stage in their current coaching gigs.
Despite an 0-2 start and a stunning loss to Marshall that has Notre Dame’s odds to win the national championship at an un-Notre Dame level, the Fighting Irish’s first-year head coach, Marcus Freeman, is not on this list. The college football odds are at +800 for Freeman to be gone before the end of his first season and -2000 to survive the year.
Neal Brown (West Virginia)
Getting off to an 0-2 start is not going to lower the temperature on Brown’s hot seat.
Falling in the opener to defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Pittsburgh isn’t worthy of discontent among the Mountaineers fan base. However, allowing 55 points in a loss to perennial Big 12 doormat Kansas when listed by the college football betting lines as a 14-point favorite is not great for Brown’s job security.
I thought Neal Brown was gonna work at West Virginia but if they lose this game he will fall to 17-20 https://t.co/zoc06Ee3wb
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) September 11, 2022
West Virginia did reach a bowl a season ago and, with the exception of a 25-point loss to Baylor, the Mountaineers were in most of the games a season ago.
This is Brown’s fourth season at West Virginia and he has had a chance to show what he can do on the field and on the recruiting trail.
A 17-20 overall record and 11-17 mark in the Big 12 means he could be coaching for his job for the rest of this season.
Geoff Collins (Georgia Tech)
It can’t be easy sharing a home recruiting base with the reigning national champion Georgia Bulldogs. Still, Georgia Tech has lost seven of its last 24 games by at least 28 points.
The Yellow Jackets have some work to do to move up in the Atlantic Coast Conference. However, if Georgia Tech can’t be competitive during the upcoming conference season, it is only fair to wonder how much more time Geoff Collins will be given to try to make this program at least respectable.
Herm Edwards (Arizona State)
Arizona State is 26-19 since Edwards took over in 2018 so some might be surprised to see his name on this list.
The Wildcats are 1-7 against ranked teams under Edwards. The Sun Devils were in most of those games, but the former NFL head coach wasn’t hired to almost pick up wins against top competition. Add in the rumblings over an NCAA investigation and there are concerns both on and off the field.
The bar has been raised in the Pac-12 with Southern California hiring Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma and former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning taking over in Oregon. For those who bet online, the Sun Devils are favored by 19½ points against visiting Eastern Michigan before things get interesting with the first two games in conference play against nationally ranked Utah and USC.
Chip Kelly (UCLA)
The day that USC announced the hiring of Riley, the pressure on Kelly went up significantly.
Kelly’s first trip through the Pac-12 was rather impressive with a 46-7 record from 2009-2012 at Oregon, and that included a 33-3 record in conference play.
He had a 10-21 record in his first three seasons at UCLA. The Bruins went 8-4 in 2021 and are 2-0 this season. However, the wins over Bowling Green and Alabama State aren’t going to create much buzz on the national scene. The college football picks had the Bruins favored by 24 and 48½ points in the first two games of 2022.
USC is already being mentioned as a potential national championship contender. The Bruins winning some games and finishing in the middle of the pack in the Pac-12 isn’t going to make the UCLA faithful happy if USC begins piling up the wins and moving up the national rankings.
This will be a key year to see if the Bruins are a contender or a pretender. The fact that UCLA hasn’t had a recruiting class ranked in the top four in the Pac-12 over the last four seasons isn’t a winning formula.
Dino Babers (Syracuse)
A 2-0 start could be just what Babers needs to take some of the pressure off.
Syracuse lost seven of the last nine games a season ago and, since posting a 10-3 record in his third season at the helm of the Syracuse program, Dino Babers went 11-24 during the next three seasons and that included a 5-21 mark in the ACC.
Syracuse is 4-18 in the months of October and November during the previous three seasons. Another tailspin like that and it might be hard for Babers to get more time to get this program going in the right direction.
Mike Locksley (Maryland)
Locksley seems like the longest shot to be let go. He walked into a tough spot at Maryland and the Terrapins went 5-12 in his first two seasons.
Maryland is 9-6 over the last 15 games and that is a good sign.
Wins over Buffalo and Charlotte are nice but time will tell how much those games help when it comes time to face Big Ten teams.
One concern from a season ago was that Maryland was outscored 216-70 in four games against ranked teams in 2021 and that is not going to get it done.
Jonathan Smith (Oregon State)
Oregon State is 18-28 since Smith took over. He led the Beavers to just seven conference wins over his first three seasons. A 7-6 overall record and a 5-4 record in conference play was a step in the right direction.
Wins over Boise State and Fresno State were a good way to start the season and the Beavers did have a win over eventual Pac-12 champion Utah in 2021
Oregon State has allowed at least 30 points in 19 of the last 34 games and that is not a winning formula.