With the way things have gone for some of college football's biggest programs in recent years, it seems like unless your name is Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney that no head coaching job is truly safe. And sometimes it only takes one or two down seasons before a head coach gets the boot.
With that in mind, here are six college football coaches that could find themselves out of their current head coaching jobs by this time next season.
6. Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Gus Malzahn's job security with the Auburn Tigers is seemingly one of the most volatile narratives in all of college football. Malzahn led Auburn to a 12-2 record and a spot in the 2013 BCS title game in his first year at the helm. However, the Tigers have floundered in mediocrity behind in-state rival Alabama and Nick Saban's dynasty ever since. Malzahn's Tigers have recorded just one other 10-win season and a 2-3 bowl record in the five years following their 2013 title game appearance. Making it to the College Football Playoff would go a long way for Malzahn, but anything less than a nine-win season could see him out the door. And whenever your program has to play the likes of Georgia, LSU, Alabama and the rest of the SEC West every season, even stringing together nine wins is a tough task.
5. Ryan Day, Ohio State
Replacing legendary college football coach Urban Meyer in Columbus would likely prove a tough follow-up act for just about any coach in the country. While Ryan Day inherits a host of talent and a blue-chip program in the Ohio State Buckeyes, he also takes on enormous expectations of success in the wake of Meyer's 82-9 head coaching record with at OSU. And, unfortunately for Day, Ohio State's most recent former assistant appointed as OSU's head coach (Luke Fickell) in the wake of another Buckeye coaching legend's temporary suspension (Jim Tressel in 2011) only lasted a single season, after finishing with a 6-7 record before ultimately being replaced by Meyer.
4. Mike Locksley, Maryland
Months after the tragic death of Terrapins' sophomore offensive lineman Jordan McNair last August, Maryland finally pulled the trigger and replaced former head coach D.J. Durkin with Mike Locksley mid-season. Attempting to right the ship by succeeding a head coach that's left a college football program rocked by scandal has proven a tough task recently. However, these opportunities have also often led to quick, decisive measures in either direction when it comes to a coach's job security. Unfortunately for Locksley and his 3-31 career record as a college head coach, combined with his 1-5 finish with the Terps last season, he might not have a leg to stand on if Maryland doesn't turn it around in 2019.
3. Willie Taggart, Florida State
When Willie Taggart left his comfortable job as the head coach of Oregon to return home to Florida State, expectations were through the roof for him and his new staff. Known as an All-Star recruiter, Taggart hasn't exactly had the same luck he did in Eugene. With countless Florida State fans and alumni hoping he'd bring a quick fix to the declining success of the program, Taggart's first year as the head coach of the the Seminoles was an absolute circus. The Seminoles posted a 5-7 record, finished 3-5 in the ACC and snapped the program's streak of 36 straight bowl games, missing their first postseason game since 1982.
2. Chris Ash, Rutgers
Chris Ash is, perhaps, the least surprising name on this least, considering the failure engrained in his three-year tenure at the helm of the Rutgers' football program. When you take an in-depth look at his head coaching record with the Scarlett Knights (3-24 Big Ten, 7-24 overall), it's hard to understand how he still has an office in Piscataway. While Rutgers may not have the same kind of football aspirations, nor expectations, as the Big Ten's Ohio State or Michigan, finishing two of your first three full seasons winless (0-9) in conference play and convincing the athletic department to keep you around beyond a fourth year would be nothing short of unprecedented.
1. Lovie Smith, Illinois
Lovie Smith's days of leading the Chicago Bears to multiple NFC North titles and even a Super Bowl appearance are long gone. The former Bears' head coach has been nothing short of abysmal at the college level with Illinois. Since joining the Fighting Illini in 2016, Smith has gone 3-9, 2-10 and 4-8, respectively. Smith has also led Illinois to just a 4-23 Big Ten conference record, which is only one win better than Rutgers' conference-worst 3-24 record over that span. If Lovie doesn't pull a complete 180, he'll likely be looking for a new job come this time next year.
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David Hayes is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David Hayes also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username DavidWHayes. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.