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Deion Sanders and Ryan Day are among the college football coaches facing the most pressure to win in the 2024 season

Deion Sanders and Ryan Day are among the college football coaches facing the most pressure to win in the 2024 season


If college football While the country continues to undergo dramatic changes, the pressure on coaches to win has reached unprecedented levels. With the transfer portal and instant eligibility, every fanbase feels like they are just one league away from reaching the top. If you don't win, fans can turn quickly.

Just a year ago, Auburn fired coach Bryan Harsin after 21 games. In Harsin's previous stop, Boise State cut Andy Avalos 10 games into his third season … and the Broncos went on to win the Mountain West title. Perhaps the headliner, Texas A&M, raised more than $75 million to get rid of Jimbo Fisher. Without good seasons, many of the coaches on this list could soon be next.

To be clear, not all of these coaches are in the proverbial hot seat; a handful have zero chance of being fired in 2024, especially when it comes to contract situations. For several unique reasons, these coaches will be uniquely scrutinized this fall with the most pressure to win.

No one else in college football comes close to the pressure Day will face in 2024. After hated rival Michigan won its first national championship of the BCS/College Football Playoff era, Day quickly turned the page to put together his best-ever roster. The Buckeyes landed the No. 1 player in both the transfer portal (safety Caleb Downs) and the secondary (wide receiver Jeremiah Smith), along with senior quarterback Will Howard and a host of other contributors. By every measure, Day's Buckeyes are title or bust. Perhaps more importantly, Ohio State must beat Michigan.

The first two years of the Napier era were a mess. The Gators barely made it to a bowl in Year 1 with a first-round pick (Anthony Richardson) at quarterback and missed the postseason altogether in Year 2. Napier bet hard on the class of 2024, but some late dropouts pushed the Gators from the top. five range to number 14. Napier has also faced intense criticism for refusing to give up his play-calling duties on offense.

All the surrounding chaos means Florida needs to deliver on the field in 2024. Napier is 11-14 overall in Gainesville and now faces one of the toughest schedules in college football, with three non-conference games against domestic power conference opponents. Miami, UCF, Florida State). Finding a path to success will be brutal.

Lincoln Riley, USC

While Riley is in little danger of being fired this year, thanks in large part to his exorbitant contract, which is reportedly worth more than $110 million, the honeymoon period at USC is officially over. Riley is coming off his worst season as a coach as he turned 40 and posted an 8-5 record in 2023, with all five losses coming in his last six Pac-12 games. Riley finally invested in the defense this offseason, stealing UCLA coordinator D'Anton Lynn to take charge of a stacked group of defensive assistants. At the same time, there are no obvious playmakers to back up his offense. Adding to the complication, the Trojans are headed to the Big Ten in 2024. Any softness in the schedule will be exposed when USC plays both LSU and Michigan in the first three weeks.

All DeBoer did in Washington was go 25-3 with a Pac-12 championship and a CFP National Championship appearance. And yet, the first time Alabama loses at home, Alabama will feel the wrath of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Such is life at the premier college football program after replacing the legendary Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide lost several key players from their SEC championship team to the transfer portal, including four of the six top-rated players. Getting back to title caliber could take some time, and Alabama isn't known for its patience.

Mario Cristobal, Miami

According to the report, Miami paid nearly $23 million in the 2022 calendar year to get Cristobal from Oregon to Coral Gables. USA today. That's the most in a single year ever recorded on a tax form for an athletic department employee. Needless to say, Cristobal's first two seasons didn't gross $23 million. The Hurricanes are 12-13 in two seasons under Cristobal, who is currently the only coach since the Carter administration with a losing record at The U. Adding to the frustration, multiple losses can be directly attributed to poor game management , headlined by a mind-blowing, last-minute loss to Georgia Tech. Miami hit the portal hard, adding dynamic quarterback Cameron Ward to the mix. If the 'Canes can't reach ACC contention — especially in a rebuilding league next year — things could unravel quickly.

Dave Aranda, Baylor

Most expected Aranda to leave after a terrible 3-9 season in 2023, Baylor's worst since Matt Rhule's 1-11 debut in 2017. Athletic director Mack Rhoades stuck his neck out to keep Aranda in town, but don't expect much wiggle room. . The Bears have revamped their coaching staff and NIL operation to land a strong transfer class – headlined by Toledo QB DeQuan Finn – but the only results that matter are on the field. Anything short of a return to the postseason and Aranda is likely gone.

The excuse for Penn State has long been that its Nittany Lions' College Football Playoff dreams are lagging behind Michigan and Ohio State. With an expanded field of 12 teams on the way and Michigan rebuilding, there is little excuse for Penn State to miss this year's CFP. To add to the pressure, the Nittany Lions' prized 2022 recruiting class – which ranked sixth in the nation, with top prospects at quarterback (Drew Allar) and running back (Nick Singleton) – is entering its third season . The top contributors, including Singleton and linebacker Abdul Carter, could be gone after 2024. Now is the time to strike.

“Coach Prime” took the Buffaloes mainstream during a 3-0 start to 2023, with two of the top five and five of the top 15 most-watched regular season broadcasts of the year. However, Colorado lost eight of its last nine games and finished in last place in the Pac-12. Sanders hit the transfer portal hard, adding 25 transfers alongside No. 1 overall tackle Jordan Seaton, but the Buffs are working against the clock. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders and cornerback Travis Hunter have been the faces of Sanders' renewal at Colorado, and both could leave after the 2024 season for the N.F.L. If Colorado misses a bowl for the second straight season, the Buffaloes will start all over again in 2025 with no proof of concept to sell.




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