Michael Penix Jr. unanimous Heisman leader; college football coaches on the hot seat

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The coaching carousel is beginning to gather dust. Today, we’ll take a look at the head coaches who may just get it spinning again.

Here’s what’s happening in college football Until Saturday …

Who’s On The Hot Seat?

Fisher of Course; but Who Else?

We’ve made it through another week without the season’s first head coach firing (at least in terms of on-field results). Currently, only Northwestern and Michigan State have vacancies, but both of those schools dismissed their previous coaches for cause.

Today, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic checks the temperature of the hot seats for college football coaches who may be on thin ice. Among them:

  • Tom Allen’s seat at Indiana is “pretty warm and getting warmer,” according to Bruce. Allen has a record of 32-44 (17-38 in the Big Ten) at IU since 2016. The Hoosiers have only had two winning seasons under Allen (2019, 2020). Allen’s buyout of $20,400,000 (if fired before Dec. 1) ranks among the top 30 most expensive buyouts for all coaches.
  • Dino Babers’ seat at Syracuse is “kind of hot.” He holds an overall record of 40-52 with the Orange, but has struggled against ACC opponents with a 18-42 record. According to Bruce, the pressure has been mounting for Babers heading into this season.
  • Dave Aranda of Baylor is a new addition to the hot seat list. It seems that the team’s 12-2 season two years ago was an anomaly. Aranda has a record of 22-20 (14-16 in the Big 12) since 2020. At the beginning of the season, Aranda was ranked in Tier 5 of The Athletic‘s coaching tiers with the potential to “move up tiers quickly.” However, he is now trending in the wrong direction.
  • Neal Brown at West Virginia is trending in the opposite direction. A 4-2 start, including wins against Texas Tech and TCU, has cooled down his hot seat.
  • The hottest seat to watch belongs to Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M. Since taking over the Aggies in 2018, Fisher has a record of 43-24 (25-20 in the SEC). Most notably, his buyout of $77,562,500 ranks second only to Kirby Smart’s among all college coaches.

The complete list, which includes insights from inside sources, is definitely worth a read.

Tom Allen Allen has a 32-44 record at Indiana since 2016. (Rick Osentoski / USA Today)

Unanimous Heisman Leader

Penix Clear Choice in Straw Poll

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. has taken the lead in The Athletic‘s latest Heisman straw poll, receiving a No. 1 vote from all 34 voters.

The rest of the top five are as follows:

2. Dillon Gabriel, QB, Oklahoma

3. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

4. Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

5. Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Four wide receivers (Marvin Harrison Jr. from Ohio State, Rome Odunze from Washington, Malik Nabers from LSU, and Keon Coleman from Florida State) also received votes. Additionally, Georgia tight end Brock Bowers continues to garner the most points among non-quarterbacks (more on Bowers later).

This week’s Outcast Vote of the Week goes to Florida State QB Jordan Travis. Travis has slowly fallen from fourth place in the inaugural straw poll to 11th this week, receiving only one vote.

Here is the case from the sole Travis voter, Grace Raynor: “When was the last time Florida State was ranked No. 4 in the country with a 6-0 record and a legitimate chance to compete for the College Football Playoff? I put Travis third on my ballot because none of those things would be possible without him.

“The senior quarterback has partnered with Coleman to completely change the trajectory of a Florida State program that, just two seasons ago, was a laughingstock with a 5-7 record. The Seminoles would be an entirely different team without Travis, and if FSU makes the Playoff, it will be because he led them there.

“Travis had a shining moment at Clemson last month when he led the Seminoles to an overtime victory, throwing for 289 yards and the game-winning touchdown despite not being at full strength. FSU currently has the nation’s No. 7 scoring offense, averaging 42.2 points per game, and Travis is currently on a streak of 169 passes without an interception.”

Georgia Star TE Injured

When Could Bowers Return?

Bowers sustained a high ankle sprain during the game against Vanderbilt. Yesterday, the team announced that the All-American will undergo surgery to “stabilize” the injury. No timeline has been provided for Bowers’ return. The Bulldogs have a bye this week before entering the toughest stretch of their season, facing Florida, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech.

Our Georgia writer Seth Emerson suggests that the most optimistic scenario would be for Bowers to miss only the Florida game and potentially return for the Missouri game. Here are some of the things that the team will miss in Bowers:

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