The PAC-12 is arguably one of the more stable conferences currently for head coaches so there are less obvious hot seat candidates heading into 2016. USC usually have sky high expectations but have only recently hired Clay Helton so he should at least be given more than just this season in charge. Most of the teams in the conference have had a strong season in the past two years which has taken much of the pressure off but there are still a few PAC-12 head coaches who need a good season in 2016:
PAC-12 Head Coaches on the Hot Seat
Mike MacIntyre (Colorado)
The Buffaloes have made the right moves in recent years during this big rebuild under Mike MacIntyre. They’ve gone from losing by big margins in conference play to running many teams close but the next step is to finally beat one of the stronger PAC-12 teams. Last year saws close wins over Oregon State and big rivals Colorado State but they lost close games with USC, UCLA, Arizona and Utah.
It’s not inconceivable to see Colorado only winning two or three games this year though with a tough schedule. They are only favoured in three of their games and two of those are marginal. So an improvement in the win total is going to require a big win over a PAC-12 opponent they’re not expected to beat.
Mark Helfrich (Oregon)
Another coach isn’t under huge pressure at Oregon but there is a section of fans who aren’t convinced with Helfrich in charge. The collapse of the defense last year and the inability to recruit then develop a replacement at quarterback from Marcus Mariota have cast doubts in the minds of the fans.
It would have to be a pretty dismal 2016 campaign for the Mark Helfrich to be fired from Oregon. But if the Ducks struggle to six wins this year and just scrape bowl eligibility it wouldn’t be shocking for the team to move on to another head coach for 2017. The expectations at Oregon are higher than they used to be.
Todd Graham (Arizona State)
Todd Graham falls into a similar category as Mark Helfrich above. Its unlikely that Arizona State will fire Graham after the 2016 season unless they end up having another disappointing six win season or worse.
The main advantage this year is the schedule sets up much better for the Sun Devils. Texas Tech at home is their toughest out of conference game whilst in PAC-12 play they get Cal, Washington State and Utah at home which are very winnable at this stage.
PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 01: Oregon Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich reacts to a play during the College Football Playoff Semifinal against the Florida State Seminoles at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)