Many coaches in the Big 12 are entering crucial seasons during which, if expectations aren’t met, they will likely be fired by New Year’s. With the turmoil at Baylor during the off-season affecting one of the strongest teams in the conference, the long term might be better for these programs hoping to be at or near the top again. The Big 12 head coaches on the hot seat:
Charlie Strong (Texas)
The Longhorns are one of the premier teams in college football and the fan base won’t accept another season like they experienced in 2014 (6-6) and 2015 (5-7). Texas continues to recruit at an elite level, and the team is showing signs of improvement on the field, but if Charlie Strong can’t get this team to around seven or eight wins he will be fired.
With Notre Dame and California on the non-conference schedule, the Longhorns will need to show drastic improvement, especially on offense. The rumours about Tom Herman taking over at Texas will only disappear with a strong season in 2016.
Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech)
The Red Raiders took a significant step forward in 2015 as Kingsbury started the year on the hot seat. The offense blossomed under quarterback Patrick Mahomes which made up for weak defense and resulted in them winning some shootouts.
The pressure remains on Kingsbury to at least replicate the success they had in 2015. He cannot afford for the Red Raiders to drop back down to five wins and no bowl game, or he’ll be out of a job by the end of the year.
David Beaty (Kansas)
David Beaty is only moving into his second year at Kansas, but any coach who survives going winless through an entire season has an element of pressure the year after. If the Jayhawks lose their home opener against Rhode Island, it’s entirely possibly that they could go 0-12 again. No coach can survive back to back winless seasons. On a positive note, the Jayhawks did show signs of improvement late in 2015.
Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia)
Many insiders believed that Dana Holgorson would be fired after last season, but he was given one more year in Morgantown to get this team to reach its potential. Since joining the Big 12, the Mountaineers have struggled to replicate their earlier success and have become a consistently mediocre program winning around seven games per season. If Holgorson can’t push them into the upper echelon of the Big 12 alongside Oklahoma and TCU, his days at West Virginia could be numbered.