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Hot Seat Week 1: Neal Brown, Dave Aranda, Billy Napier feeling the pressure after losses

These are the coaches that should be worried about their employment after one week of college football.

TCU v West Virginia
Head coach Neal Brown of the West Virginia Mountaineers argues a call during the first half against the TCU Horn Frogs at Milan Puskar Stadium on October 29, 2022 in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

While nobody’s getting fired after a Week 1 loss, there are a few coaches who have suddenly found themselves 0-1 after Labor Day weekend who may find themselves on the chopping block as the season progresses. We take a look at coaches on the hot seat after Week 1 of the 2023 college football season.

Neal Brown, West Virginia

Brown went 5-7 with the Mountaineers last season and failed to cover a 21-point spread in their opener against Penn State. Yes, Penn State will likely be one of the top teams in the Big Ten this year, but WVU cannot simply lie back and accept mediocrity year in and year out, especially with the growth of the Big 12 in 2023 and 2024. If Brown loses another Backyard Brawl, he’ll head into conference play 1-2 at best. His time in Morgantown may be reaching its end.

Butch Jones, Arkansas State

Jones’ Arkansas State team got shut out 73-0 against Oklahoma. Jones went 2-10 in his first season with the Red Wolves and 3-9 last year. This third year is likely his last chance to turn things around. ASU might not be competing for the CFP, but they were generally a Sun Belt powerhouse throughout the 2010’s, and should be looking to return to that status.

Billy Napier, Florida

Florida pulled it off against Utah in 2022, but the Gators are not off to the right start in 2023 after failing to make much of a splash against the Utes whatsoever. Utah was playing with a backup quarterback, and Florida went into the third quarter down 24-3. They ended up grabbing eight in the fourth, but it was essentially garbage time points. Napier’s Florida team fell to Kentucky, Florida State, and Vanderbilt, along with the more expected losses to LSU, Tennessee, and Georgia. Napier will need to get things going if he wants the Gator faithful to stick with him.

Honorable mentions

  • Dave Aranda, Baylor

Baylor fell to Texas State at home in their season opener — and frankly, it was never close. The Bears went 6-6 in the 2022 regular season, and this start to 2023 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence for improvement. The Bears face Kansas State, Utah, Texas, and TCU this season, and if they can’t win home gimmes like Saturday’s game, they may just end up sitting at the bottom of the Big 12 standings come November. Aranda needs to get some big wins to convince Baylor to keep him for a fifth season after this disaster.

  • Jeff Hafley, Boston College

Boston College won three games last season, and just two in conference play. Starting the 2023 season with a loss to Northern Illinois is not a great signal for what is in store for the Eagles this year as Hafley enters his fourth season.

  • Brian Kelly, LSU

So this might be a bit premature, but if BK can’t get the Tigers through a tough SEC West with at least 8-9 wins, he could be in some trouble. Losing to FSU two years in a row to open the campaign doesn’t help. But getting absolutely blown off the field in the second half on Sunday, where the offense was held scoreless until garbage time, is the real indictment. LSU feels like they shouldn’t get wrecked by anyone that’s not in-conference, and that’s certainly what happened in Orlando.