Graphic by Mike Meredith

It's been a rough year for college football coaches … if you consider a lot of new responsibilities been added to their plates. One-time transfers, COVID-19, likeness rights, enhanced roster management and player empowerment are just a few of the items now on the dry erase board alongside the Cover 2.

As if that weren't enough, the coaches' yearly reckoning is at hand.

CBS Sports' annual Hot Seat Rankings have arrived ahead of the conference media days, the semi-official kickoff to the upcoming season. And don't get it twisted, they serve a purpose beyond talking points as a means of setting expectation levels for coaches entering the season … or else.

The job security meter is now a tradition, going for more than 15 years during the dog days of the offseason. It starts deep into summer because the coaches' carousel is spinning longer than ever. When Buffalo hired Mo Lindquist on May 7, it had been eight months since Southern Miss' Jay Hopson resigned. Yes, this year's silly season lasted longer than the 2020 regular season.

You shouldn't have to be told job security in college football is as rare as a three-hour game. Only two coaches qualify for "win or else" status this year with a rating of 5. Sixteen coaches on this year's list got a 0 (untouchable). That's Nick Saban/Dabo Swinney territory, and it's way down from 24 in 2020.

The Hot Seat has long been an accurate predictor in terms of job security. Over the last six years, 20 of the 38 coaches rated 4 or worse (53%) eventually lost their jobs with a number of repeat candidates atop this season's list.

Last year, four coaches on the 11-man shortlist were fired (Derek Mason, Will Muschamp, Tom Herman, Kevin Sumlin) while four remain on the hot seat (Nebraska's Scott Frost, USC's Clay Helton, UConn's Randy Edsall, UTEP's Dana Dimel) and three luckily found their way off (UCLA's Chip Kelly, Tulsa's Philip Montgomery, Miami's Manny Diaz). Of those still on the list, two coaches in danger actually improved their job security (Helton, Dimel).

Nevertheless, the Hot Seat Rankings can be fickle: Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente jumped from 2 to 5, while LSU's Ed Orgeron jumped from 0 to 4. Such is the coaching life when the average head man brings home $2.7 million. They are far from alone, however, as there's always room on the Hot Seat.

Below is our ratings key. Here's how the 130 FBS coaches sort out. There are nine on the proverbial Hot Seat entering the season with another 14 starting to feel the heat.

Rating What it means Coaches


Win or be fired



Start improving now



Pressure is mounting



All good ... for now



Safe and secure





That leads us to the annual Hot Seat Rankings and the nine Power Five coaches that need to figure out a way to cool things down before 2021 comes to a close. Check out our complete set of 2021 Hot Seat Rankings for ratings of all 130 FBS coaches entering the season.

Check out the full set of 2021 Hot Seat Rankings for all 130 FBS coaches.