As surprising as it might sound, ESPN college football analyst Phil Steele believes Michigan State’s head coach will be on the hot seat this season.
Steele says the Spartans’ 3-9 record from last season and all of the offseason turmoil that resulted in criminal sexual charges being brought against three key players – defensive end Josh King, cornerback/receiver Donnie Corley and safety Demetric Vance – have conspired to crank up the pressure on Mark Dantonio.
A fourth MSU player, defensive end Auston Robertson, also is facing criminal sexual charges in a separate case.
Steele says Dantonio is one of 13 FBS coaches on the hot season: “Coming off a playoff berth and five double-digit-win seasons the previous six years, Dantonio rated about a zero on my hot seat list last season. Michigan State stumbled to 3-9 last year, and this offseason, multiple Spartans players have been charged with sexual assault. His inclusion on this list will surprise many, but keep an eye on what happens during 2017, and don't be surprised if there's a change at the end of the year.”
MSU athletic director Mark Hollis voiced his support for Dantonio after charges were announced against King, Corley and Vance; those players were kicked off the team. In addition, Dantonio was absolved of any wrongdoing in the cases in a report compiled by external law firm Jones Day.
The other 12 coaches on Steele’s hot-seat list are, in alphabetical order, Boston College’s Steve Addazio, Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, Ole Miss’ High Freeze, Arizona State’s Todd Graham, Kent State’s Paul Haynes, Tennessee’s Butch Jones, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, UCLA’s Jim Mora, Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.
Here is Steele’s complete report (pay site).