Heat check: Which college football coaches are on the hot seat entering the 2021 season?

Even the COVID-19 pandemic failed to cool off some hot seats in the college football world in 2020. All told, there were eight coaches fired either during or after last season among the 65 Power 5 schools.

Who enters 2021 under pressure?

USC’s Clay Helton, Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente and Texas Tech’s Matt Wells are among those who will have to win in order to keep their jobs. But not all leaders are being judged solely on their team’s performance. 

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards and Nebraska head coach Scott Frost are under fire due to NCAA investigations into their program, threatening their status regardless of how many games they win. Others are facing buyout pressure, like Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, and may not have a chance to survive unless they significantly exceed expectations. 

Ahead of the start of the season, Sporting News compiled a list of Power 5 coaches whose jobs might be in jeopardy, based on on-the-field and off-the-field issues and who could be fired after this season. Here are our rankings below, ranked from most likely to be fired to least. 

On-the-field issues 

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1. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan 

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2. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech 

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3. Matt Wells, Texas Tech 

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4. Clay Helton, USC 

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5. Dino Babers, Syracuse 

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6. Chip Kelly, UCLA 

Off-the-field issues 

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1. Scott Frost, Nebraska 

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2. Herm Edwards, Arizona State 

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3. Ed Oregeron, LSU 

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