Hot Seat Ratings: Pinkel in much safer situation with Mizzou at 7-0

Gary Pinkel has cooled his hot seat ranking to a 1.0. (USATSI)
Gary Pinkel has cooled his hot seat ranking to a 1.0. (USATSI)

Gary Pinkel has every right.

Every right to flip someone off. The man is within five wins of becoming Missouri's winningest coach, passing the likes of Dan Devine and Don Faurot. He has Mizzou positioned this week in the BCS top five. His team is also threatening to run away with the SEC East Division.

Hot Seat Rating Key
RatingWhat it means
0-0.5Can't be touched
1-1.5Very safe, change unlikely
2-2.5Safe, but you never know
3-3.5On the bubble, feeling pressure
4-4.5Warm seat, better start winning
5Hot seat! Win or be fired

All this after some dope had him teetering on the brink of unemployment in August. CBSSports.com's annual coaches' Hot Seat Ratings pegged Pinkel at 4.0 on a Hot Seat scale of 5.0. Definition: "Warm seat, better start winning."

Consider that seat cooled considerably in late October. The Tigers are 7-0, one of 10 undefeated teams left going into the ninth week of the season.

"A lot of people think change is the best thing and sometimes it might be," Pinkel said.

Not in this case. That aforementioned dope has decided to reevaluate those August rankings. Three coaches were fired before the halfway point. Some, like Pinkel, have repositioned themselves dramatically. And it never hurts to reevaluate some dopey preseason predictions.

The departed

Lane Kiffin, USC (4.0 in the preseason-to-fired.): AD Pat Haden lost faith after a spanking at Arizona State. The Trojans got an initial burst of energy from the outgoing Ed Orgeron. Meanwhile, Kiffin began his rehab tour on Game Day last week describing USC play: "It's like watching someone else raise your children."

Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut (2.5-to-fired): This move has significant ramifications. UConn is desperately trying to hook on with a BCS league. Letting the football program slide is not the best look. The hiring of this retread made no sense from the beginning. The former Syracuse coach started 0-4 and was 10-18 in two-plus seasons when he was canned. The administration really needs to hit a home run with the next hire to keep UConn football relevant.

Don Treadwell, Miami (Ohio) (3.0-to-fired): The Redhawks were 122nd (second-last) in offense when Treadwell (8-21 at the school) was let go. Miami should never be this bad.

The improved

Gary Pinkel, Missouri (4.0, Now 1.0): The Tigers went 5-7 last season largely because quarterback James Franklin was injured and the offensive line was banged up. Armed with a healthy squad, Pinkel's Tigers are soaring with speed, size and attitude. Franklin is out for two-to-four more weeks. In his first career start, Maty Mauk threw for 295 yards in his first collegiate start against Florida.

Mack Brown, Texas (3.5, Now 2.5): He's gone, right? Change of regimes, right? Can't beat Oklahoma, right? If Mack is leaving Texas it's not going to be an easy change. The Horns are atop the Big 12 (3-0) after beating Oklahoma. If Texas keeps winning, it's going to be hard getting rid of the Big 12 coach of the year.

George O'Leary has UCF on the verge of winning the AAC. (USATSI)
George O'Leary has UCF on the verge of winning the AAC. (USATSI)

George O'Leary, UCF (1.5, Now, 0.0): On O'Leary's watch, there has been an NCAA probation and the death of a player. The 67-year old coach has survived, building a program from scratch. Entry into the American Athletic Conference and a big win at Louisville, means the Knights could snag a BCS bowl. O'Leary isn't done yet.

Pete Lembo, Ball State (0.5, Now: 0.0): Lembo came in as a highly-rated coach from Elon and Lehigh. He has the Cardinals neck-and-neck with Northern Illinois for best-in-the MAC status. Wednesday night showdown with NIU awaits only Nov. 13.

David Cutcliffe, Duke (0.5, now 0.0): The Blue Devils have never been to back-to-back bowls in school history. They need one more win for bowl eligibility. Cutcliffe is threatening his resume littered with the Manning brothers with a bigger accomplishment –- making Duke football matter.

Al Golden, Miami (Fla.) (1.0, Now 0.0): What else do you want out of a coach who has the Hurricanes undefeated midway through his third season while navigating a grease fire of an NCAA investigation? From here, Golden looks like a perfect candidate at either USC or Texas. All that's off the table if Bill O'Brien leaves Penn State. Golden would be going "home." Then again, he might stay for 15 years.

Tony Levine, Houston (2.0, Now 0.5): In his second full season, Levine has the Cougars at 5-1 after a one-point loss to BYU. You need to understand how hard it is to win consistently at Houston.

Mark Helfrich, Oregon (1.5, Now 0.0): There were legitimate questions about Helfrich. He had never been a head coach if you don't count for a few hours in January 2012 when Chip Kelly was flirting with the NFL for the first time. Forget all that. Helfrich now may be overseeing the best Oregon team ever.

Bobby Hauck, UNLV (4.5. Now 4.0): The former Montana coach was done, kaput. In his first three seasons with the Rebels he was 6-32. Somehow UNLV has rebounded in Year 4. The Rebels are 4-3 and a game out of the Mountain West West Division following a loss to Fresno State. Maybe this is going to work out.

Jeff Quinn, Buffalo (3.0. Now 1.5): After being outscored 110-30 by Ohio State and Baylor to start the season, the Bulls have won their last five and are 3-0 in the MAC. Quinn, a longtime Brian Kelly assistant at Grand Valley State and Central Michigan, is proving someone else besides Turner Gill can win at Buffalo.

The even

James Franklin, Vanderbilt (0.5, Now 1.5): Here's how ridiculous this game is: Franklin has gone from heir apparent at USC to winless in the SEC to the biggest win of his career. All in the space of two months. He needed the Georgia win bad to continue the momentum from 2012's nine-win season. Will USC still call?

Chris Petersen, Boise State (0.0, Now 0.0). Petersen is still untouchable despite a second consecutive down year for the Broncos. But there are rumblings that CP would be willing to look elsewhere. While it's hard to picture the reclusive Petersen at Texas or USC, it may be time to consider him at another outpost west of the Mississippi.

The fallen

Mike London, Virginia (4.0, Now 4.5): 2-5 this season, 6-13 since 2011, 18-26 overall with the Cavaliers, London just received a vote of confidence from AD Craig Littlepage. That's either the kiss of death or a warning that London better win next season. Too bad for a guy who deserves better. But in an improving ACC it's time to win now.

Charlie Weis, Kansas (3.0, now 3.5): It's still a long shot that KU AD Sheahon Zenger cans Weis after only two seasons. It cost the school millions to pay off the last two coaches, Mark Mangino and Turner Gill. Weis is only in his second year with three years remaining. Still, he is 3-15 at Kansas in a program that's gone more than 1,000 days since last winning a Big 12 game. That's 24 in a row. (Weis is actually 3-19 in his last 22 games as a head coach counting Notre Dame.) The idea to load up on jucos this season has had middling results. Most troubling is an offense that is torture to watch (118th nationally, sixth-worst). And Weis is an offensive coach.

Todd Monken is still searching for his first win at Southern Miss. (USATSI)
Todd Monken is still searching for his first win at Southern Miss. (USATSI)

Todd Monken, Southern Miss (2.5, now 3.5): The school has no hesitation about canning a coach after one year. Ask Ellis Johnson. The Eagles are tied for the nation's longest losing streak (18 games) in Monken's first season.

Mark Richt, Georgia (1.0, now 2.5): Here we go again: Georgia loses a few games it shouldn't and the unrealistic Dawg fans hit the message boards. Georgia's three-loss season to date is directly attributable to massive injuries. Richt probably isn't going anywhere but the heat has been turned up slightly after losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt.

Will Muschamp, Florida (1.0, now 2.0): Another franchise where injuries have cut the heart out of the team. That still doesn't explain an offense that is torture to watch. Could be wrong, but this smells like a change in offensive coordinators after the season. "[Muschamp's] not going anywhere," AD Jeremy Foley told the Gainesville Sun following Saturday's loss to Missouri, "and I'm not going anywhere."

Jerry Kill, Minnesota (1.5, Now 3.0): Kill is taking an indefinite leave to work on treating his seizures. There's a faction who want him gone because of his health issues. It's too early to make a determination on his future, especially after the staff he left behind just upset Northwestern.

Larry Fedora, North Carolina (1.0, Now 2.5): The good: North Carolina is the best 1-5 team in the country. The bad: They're still 1-5 in an improved ACC coming off an 8-4 debut season at Carolina.

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