Big Ten hot seat rankings: CBS Sports evaluates head coaches’ futures in the conference

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There’s already been plenty of Big Ten offseason fodder out there. On3 recently released its Big Ten power rankings, CBS Sports ranked every Big Ten head coach, and ESPN updated its Football Power Index rankings of every team in the conference.

Iowa was ranked No. 37 nationally according to ESPN’s FPI and the computer simulations projected the Hawkeyes’ complete 2022 season game-by-game results as well. According to ESPN’s game-by-game FPI simulations, Hawkeye fans can expect Iowa to finish 7-5 in the 2022 season.

ESPN’s Bill Connelly penned up a full Big Ten West breakdown and there’s now odds out for the 2022 season as well. According to Tipico Sportsbook, Iowa is tied for the sixth-best odds to win the 2022 Big Ten championship. Tipico set the Hawkeyes’ win total at 7.5 entering this upcoming season as well.

Needless to say, there’s plenty out there to consume and dissect before the season kicks off in earnest for Iowa against South Dakota State on Sept. 3 at 11 a.m. from inside Kinnick Stadium.

CBS Sports just released one of its most fascinating pieces entering each college football season, though. Dennis Dodd revealed the 2022 college football hot seat rankings.

CBS assigns ratings of 0 to 5 to describe a current head coach’s current situation. The number ratings work out like this:

  • 5 – “Win or be fired”

  • 4 – “Start improving now”

  • 3 – “Pressure is mounting”

  • 2 – “All good…for now”

  • 1 – “Safe and secure”

  • 0 – “Untouchable”

Let’s take a look at where each Big Ten head coach finds themselves according to CBS Sports entering 2022.

Scott Frost, Nebraska

Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 5

Record at Nebraska: 15-29

The lowdown: Scott Frost was one of two head coaches nationally that CBS Sports assigned a 5 rating to. It truly is “win or be fired” for Frost with the Cornhuskers entering 2022. Nebraska fans and administration won’t wait any longer past 2022 for this hire to be right.

Bret Bielema, Illinois

Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 2

Record at Illinois: 5-7

The lowdown: All things considered, a 5-7 start at Illinois wasn’t all bad by any stretch of the imagination for Bret Bielema. The Fighting Illini finished just 2-6 in the COVID-impacted 2020 season, so there was improvement in the program in year one. Can Bielema engineer a bowl appearance with a group that On3 placed No. 13 in the Big Ten power rankings?

Chase Brown is a returning 1,000-yard running back for the Illini, so that’s a nice place to start. So much of Illinois’ future depends on whether or not Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito or returning quarterback Artur Sitkowski can be good.

Tom Allen, Indiana

Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

2022 hot seat rating: 2

Record at Indiana: 26-32

The lowdown: What looked so promising in 2020 came crashing down last season to the tune of a 2-10 finish. The Hoosiers were arguably the most disappointing team nationally. Tom Allen seemingly has his work cut out for himself with this roster entering 2022. Can Allen figure out how to get the best out of transfer quarterback Connor Bazelak?

Mike Locksley, Maryland

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 2

Record at Maryland: 13-23

The lowdown: This is an important year for Mike Locksley and Maryland. With Taulia Tagovailoa back under center after a 54-10 rout of Virginia Tech, Maryland should be thinking about another bowl appearance.

Greg Schiano, Rutgers

Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 2

Record at Rutgers (second stint): 8-14

The lowdown: This is a slight uptick in the wrong direction after Rutgers finished the 2021 season with a 5-8 record. Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights appear headed for a rough 2022, though. Noah Vedral and Gavin Wimsatt will battle it out for starting quarterback duties.

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

2022 hot seat rating: 1

Record at Iowa: 178-110

The lowdown: Mr. Consistent. Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes won the Big Ten West last season and enter 2022 as one of the popular picks to repeat as the division champion. There’s no pressure in terms of job security because Ferentz just keeps winning.

In fact, Iowa has won 19 conference games over the past three seasons, the most successful three-year stretch since winning 20 league games from 2002-04. Iowa has won at least six conference games in three straight seasons for the first time under Ferentz.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

AP Photo/AJ Mast, File

2022 hot seat rating: 1

Record at Michigan: 61-24

The lowdown: What a difference a win over archrival Ohio State and capturing the Big Ten championship makes. Jim Harbaugh had a rating of 4 this time last year. Now, many of those past failures at Michigan have at least temporarily been forgotten.

P.J. Fleck, Minnesota

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 1

Record at Minnesota: 35-23

The lowdown: It’s hard not to appreciate what P.J. Fleck has done at Minnesota. A 35-23 record over five seasons, including an 11-2 mark in 2019. With quarterback Tanner Morgan returning once more, the Golden Gophers are on the short list of teams expected to contend in the Big Ten West.

James Franklin, Penn State

Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 1

Record at Penn State: 67-34

The lowdown: Recruiting continues to be great for James Franklin and Penn State. The Nittany Lions reeled in the nation’s No. 6 class according to the 247Sports composite rankings in 2022 and Franklin and his staff are trending in that direction once again in the 2023 class.

This hot seat rating is a number to monitor, though. Those in State College aren’t going to be thrilled with consecutive fourth-place finishes in the Big Ten East. Sean Clifford is back and ready to try and close ground on Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Jeff Brohm, Purdue

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 1

Record at Purdue: 28-29

The lowdown: Like Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, here’s another coach in Jeff Brohm that really helped cool off any rising flames of frustration from the Boilermakers’ fanbase. Now, after a 9-4 finish that was highlighted by a 48-45 overtime Music City Bowl win over Tennessee, there’s some expectations for Brohm and company. He has one of the Big Ten’s best quarterbacks in Aidan O’Connell, and the realization is that Purdue should be in the mix all season long in the West.

Mel Tucker, Michigan State

Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

2022 hot seat rating: 0

Record at Michigan State: 13-7

The lowdown: A win over Michigan last season, a 7-2 league mark and recent steam on the recruiting trail have Spartans fans thinking that Mel Tucker can lead them to the top of the Big Ten. Kiss that 2 on the hot seat rating goodbye entering 2022.

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 0

Record at Northwestern: 109-90

The lowdown: Pat Fitzgerald is Northwestern football. Even a 3-9 finish in 2021 and the impending doom that’s likely in 2022 can’t fan the flames against him. Who is Northwestern going to hire that could do any better?

Ryan Day, Ohio State

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 0

Record at Ohio State: 34-4

The lowdown: Yes, there was finally a loss to Michigan. Still, that can’t dampen the excitement for C.J. Stroud, TreVeyon Henderson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and the rest of the star-laden Buckeyes heading into 2022.

It’s a team with national championship aspirations, and the program is now far enough removed from Urban Meyer where you have to assign credit there to Ryan Day and his staff for continuing to feed the monster that is Ohio State football.

Paul Chryst, Wisconsin

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

2022 hot seat rating: 0

Record at Wisconsin: 65-23

The lowdown: Paul Chryst has Wisconsin continuing to do what its done for the better part of the last quarter century, and that’s winning a lot of games in the Big Ten conference. If he can find the best of quarterback Graham Mertz to pair with star running back Braelon Allen, then this is the likely team to beat in the West.

The takeaway

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Thank goodness for the built-in rollercoaster ride that Scott Frost has in store for Big Ten fans entering 2022. It’s no shocker, but Frost is squarely on the hot seat. Outside of his struggles in Lincoln, Neb., there’s no other head coach even sniffing the hot seat according to CBS.

The other coaches nationally that earned 4 or 5 hot seat ratings looked like this: Bryan Harsin at Auburn (4), Geoff Collins at Georgia Tech (4), Willie Taggart at FAU (4), Dino Babers at Syracuse (4), Jake Spavital at Texas State (4), Marcus Arroyo at UNLV and Herm Edwards at Arizona State (5).

Other notable coaches with the 3 rating of “pressure is mounting” included Colorado‘s Karl Dorrell and Florida State’s Mike Norvell.

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