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Pac-12 football coaches hot seat, 2014 off-season: Dykes, Riley and Whittingham in the red

A few Pac-12 coaches are near the hot seat heading into the 2014 season.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The off-season is the perfect time to address just how toasty the seat that college football coaches are perched upon really are. Now that the dust has completely settled on the 2013 season and the 2014 recruiting season, let's take a look at how comfortable each Pac-12 coach will be heading into the 2014 season.

Ice Cold

David Shaw Stanford - A perfect fit for Stanford with two-straight Pac-12 championships in his pocket and three-straight BCS bowl appearances, the only pressure being put on Shaw to leave Palo Alto is coming from the NFL.


Mark Helfrich Oregon - Despite what some people with unrealistically high expectations might think, I believe that Helfrich is just fine in Eugene after his first season as he actually lost fewer games in his first run than Chip Kelly did. Helfrich also earned himself some serious points and momentum for 2014, by getting Marcus Mariota, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Hroniss Grasu to come back, making them the odds on favorite to win the conference next season.

Jim Mora UCLA - Mora has taken UCLA football to the next level and two-straight wins over USC, including domination in The Coliseum last season, have him sitting pretty in Westwood right now. Like Helfrich, Mora got some extra points for getting Brett Hundley to come back and the Bruins are now the clear cut favorites to win the South in 2014.

Todd Graham Arizona State - Graham is fresh off leading the Sun Devils to a South division championship and appears to have rejuvenated the program in just two years. He lost some stock at the end of the season though as he lost the Pac-12 Championship at home and then his team didn't show up in the Holiday Bowl. 2014 will be a crucial year for Graham though, as he will have to keep up the standards he set in his first two seasons even though he just lost as much talent as any coach in the entire nation.


Rich Rodriguez Arizona - Rodriguez has done a fine job at Arizona in his first two years in Tucson, but hasn't achieved anything more than the average expectations. They have went 8-5 in both of his season and been competitive in the South, but they have lost to Arizona State both seasons and he might drift towards warmer waters if he can't break the eight-win barrier soon.

Chris Peterson Washington - Obviously a brand new coach comes in with a comfortable buffer, but the bar is set very high for Peterson with how consistently he excelled at Boise State, the base set by Steve Sarkisian and a fan base that has long waited to return to their glory days. The Huskies have a ton of experience and talent coming back in 2014, so Peterson will need to win 10 games plus in his first season, or he might start to face some scrutiny.

Steve Sarkisian USC - Sarkisian might be the only guy in the history of college football to leave a hot seat for another, more elite, job within a conference and because of that, I think he is going to have a very short leash in LA if his teams don't perform to USC-acceptable levels. Still, like every new coach, he comes in with a clean slate, and a cool seat.

Mike Leach Washington State - Leach obviously drew some serious ire from the Cougars' epic meltdown in the New Mexico Bowl, but the fact is that he took the program, that was as moribund as any in recent conference history and took them to a bowl game in just his second season.

Somewhere in between

Mike MacIntyre Colorado - MacIntyre jumped into a very tough position and did a fine job in improving the Buffaloes in his first season, getting them to four wins, but they still finished last in the Pac-12 South, so he isn't in the comfort zone yet, but he also can't be considered to be even on a warm seat with how much Colorado improved in his first season.


Kyle Whittingham Utah - Whittingham is Utah football, but after two-straight losing seasons, it's beginning to look like he might not be the guy who can make the Utes competitive in the Pac-12. He is fine right now, but he needs to have a winning season in 2014 or he will firmly be in the hot seat.

Mike Riley Oregon State - Riley is an institution in Corvallis and the Beavers have made it to two-straight bowl games after a rough patch for a couple of years, but questions of stagnation have started to arise and Riley's teams have stumbled horribly down the stretch the past two seasons. I have a hard time seeing Riley getting fired at Oregon State as long as he can keep producing winning seasons, but he really needs to get them to 10 wins and finally beat Oregon again to get away from the burner.


Sonny Dykes Cal - It is hard for a coach to get on the hot seat as fast as Dykes did, but the Bears were absolutely dismal in 2013 and just lost a ton of underclass talent that they really needed to the NFL Draft. If Dykes has another season as abysmal as his first, he could end up in Jon Embree territory.