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5 College Football Coaches on the Hot Seat Heading Into New College Football Season

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 24:  Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers reacts against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Auburn v Alabama | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The college football season is a little over a month away, and there are plenty of programs with lofty expectations. With those expectations comes consequences if they are not met. Who gets punished for failing to meet those goals? The head coach.

Here are six college football coaches who are on the hot seat entering the 2019 season.

5. Chris Ash, Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 10: Head coach Chris Ash of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights looks on against the Michigan Wolverines during the fourth quarter at HighPoint.com Stadium on November 10, 2018 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Michigan won 42-7. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Michigan v Rutgers | Corey Perrine/Getty Images

The hiring of former Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash brought high hopes to Rutgers. However, Ash has failed to live up to his impressive resume. Last season, Rutgers won their season opener, and proceeded to lose the remaining 11 games of the season. To make matters worse, Rutgers paid Buffalo $1 million to play them in 2018, only for the Bulls to curb-stomp the Scarlet Knights 42-13. If Rutgers doesn't emerge from the basement of the Big Ten in 2019, Ash will be shown the door.

4. Lovie Smith, Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 17:  Head coach Lovie Smith of the Illinois Fighting Illini looks up at the scoreboard during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Memorial Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Iowa v Illinois | Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Illinois hired ex-NFL head coach Lovie Smith in order to take the program to new heights. In his first two seasons, Smith went 3-9 and 2-10, respectively. Last year, Smith improved...to a 4-8 record. Even with the school giving Smith a contract extension this past December, if he doesn't improve the team in 2019, they could very well be willing to eat the hefty $4 million buyout charge.

3. Willie Taggart, Florida State

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 03: Head coach Willie Taggart of the Florida State Seminoles looks on in the first quarter of the game against Virginia Tech Hokies at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 3, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Virginia Tech v Florida State | Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Florida State used to be the powerhouse of the ACC, and now, have entered an uncharacteristic downward spiral. After Jimbo Fisher bolted for Texas A&M, Florida State hired ex-Oregon coach Willie Taggart. In his lone season with the Seminoles, the team finished 5-7. As a result, the program's 36-year bowl streak was snapped. The Seminoles are a program that's prided on winning. If Taggart doesn't improve things in 2019, his job could be on the line before he knows it.

2. Clay Helton, USC

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans walks his team down the tunnel at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Notre Dame v USC | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Clay Helton coached the USC Trojans to their epic Rose Bowl victory over Penn State in 2017. Two years later, Helton was put on blast by athletic director Lynn Swann after finishing 5-7 last season, which included a loss to UCLA. Even ex-Trojan greats were calling for Helton's firing in favor of Urban Meyer. Simply put, Clay Helton is coaching for his job in 2019, and will be the scapegoat if the team fails to succeed.

1. Gus Malzahn, Auburn

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 24:  Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers runs through warmups prior to facing the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Auburn v Alabama | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Despite winning the Music Bowl last season, Malzahn was dangerously close to being fired after going 8-5. ESPN college football analyst Paul Finnebaum believes that if Malzahn fails to lead the Auburn Tigers to a "significant season," he will "likely be gone." After leading the Tigers to the BCS National Championship Game in 2013, Malzahn has only coached one 10-win season. While he does have a costly buyout price, Auburn could opt to bite the bullet and move on from Malzahn.