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Hot Seat Week 5: ACC continues to be the conference ripe for change after 2021 season

The Norvell-Frost-Diaz tracker continues in Week 5, with the ACC under the microscope.

Georgia v Georgia Tech
Head coach Geoff Collins of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets looks on during the second half of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Bobby Dodd Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Week 5 of the college football season delivered big results to shake up the College Football Playoff picture. Cincinnati handled Notre Dame on the road and Oregon stumbled against Stanford, creating more chaos in an already chaotic season. And then there was the ACC, which continued to take two steps back after appearing to take a step forward. Here’s a look at which coaches are feeling the heat heading into Week 6 and beyond.

Mike Norvell, Florida State

Norvell is going to be at the top of this list until he gets fired. The Seminoles actually did get a win this week, a 33-30 victory over Syracuse. It’s Norvell’s first win at Florida State since December 12, 2020. The budget situation is all that’s keeping this administration from cutting its losses.

Scott Frost, Nebraska

Even with a massive win over Northwestern, Frost’s days in Lincoln are numbered. He was considered a home-run hire at the time but it clearly hasn’t worked out. There have been a number of close losses and while you can argue Frost’s guys are competing for him, they have largely given away these contests rather than their opponents winning them. The buyout is big, which keeps Frost alive for this season.

Manny Diaz, Miami (FL)

Diaz couldn’t bear the thought of his name not being mentioned alongside Norvell and Frost in this tracker, so he decided to make a permanent residence here after a 30-28 loss to Virginia. The Hurricanes are going nowhere this season, especially with D’Eriq King sidelined. Diaz has compiled a 16-13 record at Miami, which is not good enough for that program. In a wide-open ACC this year, the Hurricanes are largely out of the picture. He’ll see out the season based on numerous reports but expect a move in 2022.

Dino Babers, Syracuse

Babers returns here after a couple weeks away. When you’re the last team to lose to Florida State, you automatically attract eyeballs in a bad away. Babers has been on shaky ground at Syracuse for a while and losing to a program in disarray is not the way to steady the ship. Expect the Orange to look elsewhere at the end of the season.

Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech

Collins did spring a big victory over North Carolina in Week 4, and promptly gave away that momentum with a blowout loss to Pitt. The Yellow Jackets aren’t going to reach the heights of the Paul Johnson era any time soon but this is looking like a third straight season without a bowl game for Collins. He may end up keeping the gig, only because there likely won’t be many enticing candidates available in this cycle.

Honorable mentions

  • Mike Tyson once said “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. That’s what happened to Eli Drinkwitz at Missouri Saturday. He’s had tremendous recruiting success and is constantly promoting the school, but ultimately this job comes down to progress and wins. Neither happened in a 62-24 loss to Tennessee. The Tigers were embarrassed across the board and that falls on Drinkwitz at some level. It’s only Year 2, but the pressure is on to turn the potential into production.
  • It has not been fun for Paul Chryst in Madison this year. The Badgers aren’t going to make a move at the head coaching position due to Chryst’s success overall but this is going to be his worst season. The Badgers fell to Penn State, Notre Dame and Michigan with a ranked Iowa squad still to come and aren’t typically winning in the areas they excelled at under previous coaches. There’s going to be some pressure for Chryst to at least return this Wisconsin team to form in 2022.
  • Justin Wilcox is having an interesting tenure at Cal. After an eight-win season in 2019, things looked to be headed in the right direction for the Bears. Wilcox has Cal 1-4 this season with losses to Washington and Washington State. A bad loss to Oregon next week could have the Bears thinking of going in a different direction.