I like to put out a couple of Pac-12 coaches hot seat rankings each year, not to start fires, but to just take stock in where Pac-12 coaches stand. Even if someone is higher up the chain towards the warmest seat, it doesn't necessarily mean it is warm.
Let's start with the coldest seat and work down...
12. Clay Helton USC - Helton is the only new hire in the Pac-12 and might be the only one of the year so he gets a clean slate. Expectations are going to be sky high, but his slate is still clean until USC starts playing games next year.
11. David Shaw Stanford - Things are just about perfect for Stanford and Shaw unless he eventually decides to take the NFL plunge.
10. Mike Leach Washington State - Leach had a roller coaster season where he probably started on the hottest seat in the conference after losing to a Big Sky team in the season opener, but pushed himself back to the top by leading the Cougars to their best season in more than a decade.
9. Chris Petersen Washington - 6-6 might not seem like much, but it was a success for Petersen in a year where he had to almost completely rebuild on the fly. Plus, winning with one of the youngest teams in the nation has bout him a lot of future credit.
8. Kyle Whittingham Utah - Another guy who had an really up and down season. Whittingham ultimately shook out with a nice, but disappointing season that keeps him very cool in Utah, but not as cool as he could have been had he won the South. There is also chatter about Whittingham not getting along with Utah brass though, especially after losing both of his coordinators last year, so there is a chance he could be motivated to move.
7. Jim Mora UCLA - UCLA had a slight down year compared to what they have done previously with the Bruins, but I think UCLA's camp understands that he was replacing Brett Hundley with a true freshman and dealt with a lot of major injuries. Non-UCLA fans seem to not like Mora so people tend to always want to push him closer the hot seat, but I think he is more than fine. He has led UCLA to the most-consistent large-scale success they have had in 30 years and had his team one win away from a South title with a true freshman QB and a lot of injuries.
6. Mark Helfrich Oregon - Helfrich is the hardest coach to gauge in my opinion. He is 33-7 as Oregon's head coach, but his team has been on the very edge of collapse each of his seasons and I just don't feel like the Oregon camp sees him as the long-term guy. He is fine for now, but next year is going to be a major test as he will likely have to actually replace Marcus Mariota, unless he can bring in another grad transfer.
5. Todd Graham Arizona State - The Sun Devils had a really disappointing season, but I don't think Graham is anywhere near the hot seat yet. They are still a lot better than they were before he was their coach and it is unlikely they would bring in someone better on the open market. Still, next year will be very important him and Arizona State has to be very wary of slipping back into the mediocrity that plagued the program for most of the years between Bruce Snyder and Graham.
4. Sonny Dykes Cal - Dykes had his best year at Cal and led the Bears to arguably their best season this decade, but neither he nor Cal seem happy. It looks like his flirtation with other jobs is over, but I don't know just yet and I don't know if Cal wants to or should extend his contraction. He isn't on the hot seat, more of a strange, confusing, uncomfortable seat.
3. Rich Rodriguez Arizona - Rodriguez has been a lot like Dykes in the past few weeks as he has seemed to be rumored in every job opening in college football. It looks like he will be in Tucson for at least another year, but it sure does seem like there is a disconnect here. Just uniformed speculation on my part, but I have to think that Rodriguez and Arizona might know that he can win 6-8 games each year at Arizona, but that might be his ceiling at this point and both of them might want to make a move.
2. Gary Andersen Oregon State - I want to reiterate here, this doesn't mean Andersen is on the hot seat, it just means his stock is at the bottom of the Pac-12. Obviously Andersen is in no danger of getting fired, but the hard truth is his first season in Corvallis couldn't have gone much worse. He will need to have the Beavers show improvement conceptually and in the win column next season or he will be on the hot seat as soon as 2016.
1. Mike MacIntyre Colorado - MacIntyre and Colorado are in a weird place going into 2016. The Buffs have legitimately seemed to get better every year under MacIntyre and they are in a lot better place than they were before he came to Boulder, but he hasn't won enough games to create job stability and prove that he can take the Buffs to the next level. He might need to get to a bowl game in 2016 to keep his job.