The ultimate college football coaching hot seat guide: Coronavirus impact, names to watch and more

  • College football reporter.
  • Joined ESPN.com in 2008.
  • Graduate of Northwestern University.

What follows is not a traditional hot seat list. College football will have a coaching carousel this year. Jay Hopson’s departure from Southern Miss four days after a season-opening loss ensures there will be at least one change this cycle. Other resignations, retirements, job-hops or firings will surely follow.

But the carousel will be limited, perhaps dramatically, by the coronavirus pandemic. College athletic departments are facing eight- and possibly nine-figure budget deficits. Some conferences with coaches on thin ice (hello, Pac-12) might not kick off their seasons until after the typical firing/hiring period in December. Schedules have been modified and reduced, changing the normal criteria for evaluating embattled coaches.

Coaching agents are using terms like “hall pass” and “mulligan” to describe the 2020-21 coaching cycle. Does it mean coaches should relax? Probably not. I spoke to industry insiders about how the pandemic will affect the carousel, the trends to watch and how the job market could unfold.

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