The Zooker and nine other hot seats 

May, 26, 2010

With Michigan making national news this week, it certainly hasn't helped Rich Rodriguez's job stability with the Wolverines. This week's top 10 list: the coaches on the hottest seats this year.

1. Ron Zook, Illinois Fighting Illini:
The Zooker has had one big year, when he led the Illini to the Rose Bowl and they lost to the USC Trojans. But after that it's been frustration. In five years, the Illini have been to only that one bowl game. He wouldn't be cheap to dump, but can the program afford to keep him around if he doesn't somehow respond with a strong season? Last summer, there was lots of enthusiasm for the 2009 season, but the Illini proved to be one of the biggest duds of the year, going 3-9. This offseason, Zook (21-39 at Illinois) had to clean house on his staff -- never a good sign of coaching stability. He's now breaking in a new QB and needs some receivers to emerge and four of their first six games are going to be very rough. Uh-oh.

2. Dan Hawkins, Colorado Buffaloes:
Hawk is very fortunate to have received one more shot to get the Buffs turned around. Last offseason, he made some bold talk. His team certainly did not back it up, going 3-9, which is less than one-third of the wins we were hearing about. In fact, their national TV loss to Toledo may have been the most embarrassing loss in the program's history, a CU source told me recently. On paper, Hawkins has recruited pretty well, but most of his highest-rated recruits have fizzled at CU. His record is 16-33.