The 2023 college football season is one week in and it’s already time to talk about the hot seat. After Clemson’s performance on Monday night and a number of other questionable efforts, we might see some coaches get the pink slip sooner than later.
Taking a quick BetUs review of the sportsbook’s odds, there are already lines on which head coach will be fired first. Here are a few that should be worried.
Tom Allen, Indiana
The Indiana Hoosiers had a very good season in 2020 under Tom Allen, but that 2020 season was the shortened pandemic season, a campaign in which coaches and players couldn’t prepare normally. COVID-19 restrictions limited the development of a lot of players.
No one in the college football industry regards that season as remotely typical in any way. Therefore, the fact that Indiana succeeded in that season is more of an aberration than anything else.
The Hoosiers needed to prove that 2020 was a true indicator of where the program stood, at least to some small extent, but it is clear that 2020 bore no resemblance whatsoever to the normal long-term identity of Hoosier football. This is why Indiana’s current status – constantly adrift after a few aimless years – should rightly be seen as a source of concern.
It doesn’t help that this team was smoked 23-3 in their opener. Sure, it was against No. 3 Ohio State but a few more efforts like that and Allen will be looking for work again.
Neal Brown, West Virginia
The West Virginia Mountaineers had a lot of success under previous coaches Rich Rodriguez and Dana Holgorsen. They have not had any success at all under Brown, who seemed to be a rising star in the coaching ranks when he did such great work at Troy (a school in Alabama which beat LSU under Brown and was one of the better Group of Five programs). That includes in Week 1 where the Mountaineers were pummeled 38-15 by the Penn State Nittany Lions.
At West Virginia, Brown has simply not been able to create the results he or anyone else in the state were hoping for. He has to move West Virginia forward this season. If the Mountaineers cannot at least make a bowl game this year, Brown will be fired. That seems abundantly clear right now.
Tony Elliott, Virginia
It is not normal for coaches to be fired after two seasons on the job at a school, but Tony Elliott could be fired if this 2023 season at Virginia is as bad (or very close to being as bad) as the 2022 season. It hasn’t started well as the Cavs were blown up by the Tennessee Volunteers in their opener. They lost 49-13.
Elliott was offensive coordinator at Clemson. He helped coach Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence, two elite college quarterbacks. When he took over the Virginia program last year and gained his first big college head coaching job, he had Brennan Armstrong, a proven veteran, as his quarterback.
The fact that Virginia’s offense could rarely if ever function well was a huge surprise which caught a lot of people in the ACC off guard. Elliott at least should have been able to create a fun and entertaining team which could score a lot, but he didn’t.
Virginia wasn’t just a bad team; it was a boring team. Virginia can’t be bad and boring for a second straight season, or Elliott will get canned.
Jeff Hafley, Boston College
It is true that Hafley’s Boston College teams have been hit hard by injuries, but Hafley has to make some progress and develop players in order for the school’s administration to think that Hafley should be retained. It didn’t look like that in the opener when Boston College lost to Northern Illinois.
The Eagles used to be a solid but unspectacular team. Now they’re in the ACC basement. The Eagles have been stuck for the past several years. They need to get unstuck in 2023 to save Hafley’s job.