The Hot Seat: Tedford makes Rivals’ ranking of at-risk coaches

Although the college football season is still months away, has already released its ranking of the hottest coaching seats in the country. Cal’s own Jeff Tedford, rightfully or wrongfully, kicks in at No. 10 on the 15-man list:

This isn’t an indictment on the job he has done. Rather, perhaps Tedford and Cal each would benefit from a fresh start. Tedford is 72-42 in nine seasons in Berkeley. He also shared the Pac-10 title in 2006 and has gone to seven bowls. Plus, Tedford has been the spark for ongoing stadium and facility improvements. But has he run his course and maxed out his potential? The Golden Bears are coming off a 5-7 season, Tedford’s first losing mark. And the past three seasons have seen decreasing victory totals each year. In addition, the meteoric rise of Stanford has to make Cal fans feel some angst: “It took Jim Harbaugh only four years to get the Cardinal to a BCS bowl; why hasn’t Tedford done it?” Do Cal official want to christen a redone stadium with a new coach in 2012?

The news isn’t entirely surprising given how little success Tedford has had with quarterbacks lately, despite his old reputation as a position guru. Also not surprising is the high level of Pac-10 (and soon Pac-12) representation here, with three coaches in the top five.

Washington State’s Paul Wulff is No. 5, and would likely be higher if the Cougars fans had the slightest optimism for their team. Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson gets the No. 3 spot, and here’s an early projection for his Sun Devils being this season’s version of Washington. (Why exactly are people so high on them? Quarterback Brock Osweiler isn’t exactly a proven quantity, and having Vontaze Burfict as your defensive anchor is just playing with fire.)

Finally, Rick Neuheisel wins the top prize after leading UCLA to an 0-3 record against USC, with a 28-84 margin in those three losses. Slick Rick, if you remember, entered Westwood with a marketing campaign that said, “The Football Monopoly in L.A. Is Officially Over.” Oops.

Image source: kevindooley under Creative Commons