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Hot Seat Week 9: What are Auburn, West Virginia waiting for?

Some prominent college football programs seem ripe for change.

Auburn v Ole Miss
Head coach Bryan Harsin of the Auburn Tigers during the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Oxford, Mississippi.
Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Update: Auburn has moved on from Bryan Harsin as the head coach. The new AD is not messing around and the search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

We’re entering the College Football Playoff portion of the 2022 college football season and the race for the top four seems as tight as ever. There’s also plenty of discussions on the other side of this spectrum with regards to a change of leadership. And the only question left to ask now is, what are these programs waiting for?

Bryan Harsin, Auburn

The Tigers can’t hire another coach in the middle of the season, but they can prevent further damage to the foundation of the program by letting Harsin go. It’s clear he’s not the answer and each loss provides evidence of that. Auburn has to get the next hire right and it can start that process by letting Harsin go. The fan base is already on board, so now the administration needs to act.

Neal Brown, West Virginia

The tenor of this season could easily be different in Morgantown if the Backyard Brawl ends differently. Brown has been to bowl games in back-to-back seasons but this was the year the spike was supposed to happen. It hasn’t, and now the Mountaineers are once again in a fight to simply get back to a bowl. West Virginia won’t have to compete with the powerhouse programs for a coach like it would have had to do last offseason. It’s time to make a switch.

Justin Wilcox, California

The Notre Dame loss appeared to swing everything for Wilcox. He could’ve been 3-0 heading into the Arizona game and even though Cal won, the Bears would’ve been riding some serious momentum at that point. It’s unlikely they lose to Washington State and Colorado, who has moved on from its coach Karl Dorrell. Wilcox is now in the midst of a four-game losing streak heading into the USC game, which could be his last as Cal’s head coach.

Honorable mentions

  • It seems like Stanford takes a step forward only to take two steps back in recent seasons under David Shaw. He appeared to get some additional runway with wins over Arizona State and Notre Dame but the UCLA blowout is a reminder of his shortcomings. Bowl eligibility might save him.
  • For the last decade, Mike Gundy has delivered tremendous success on paper at Oklahoma State. He also seems to always have one letdown game which dashes the Cowboys’ CFP hopes. On five occasions, Kansas State has been that thorn in Gundy’s side. The Cowboys won’t fire him because he’s a Oklahoma State lifer, but this is starting to enter the Kirk Ferentz and Jimbo Fisher realm of head coaching gigs.