In the latest Weekend Read, we examine the early college football coaching hot seat contenders, revisit Cal Ripken Jr.'s streak and reveal our favorite stories of the week.

By SI.com Staff
August 31, 2018

WHICH COACHES ARE ALREADY ON THE HOT SEAT ENTERING WEEK 1?

By Ross Dellenger

Questions to college football players during fall camp can range widely. What’s the new offense like? How are the freshmen looking? Is your role changing?

But LSU safety John Battle two weeks ago received an unusual one: Are there similarities in the rumblings about Ed Orgeron’s job security and those surrounding Les Miles, before his firing, in 2016?

The Tigers haven’t even kicked off Orgeron’s second full season as head coach but the hot seat talk in Baton Rouge is already brewing. It is worth noting that it's been decades since a Power 5 program fired a head coach after just two years for on-field performance (the closest example is Arkansas parting with Jack Crowe in 1992 after the Razorbacks lost to The Citadel in the opener of Crowe’s third season).

That’s why Orgeron is not included in our list below of major college coaches who enter the 2018 season under pressure. (The LSU coach, however, is one of five coaches in a less serious category regarding 2019.)

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But you’re probably wondering how that LSU football player answered that question, aren’t you?

“We didn’t go into the season like, ‘Ah man, Coach Miles might get fired,’” Battle told the LSU student newspaper, The Daily Reveille. “You know we’re not going into the season thinking, ‘Ah man, Coach O could get fired.’ We’re not paying attention to that. We’re worried about playing football.”

Let us worry about the hot seat, John. There were 14 coaching changes in all of FBS last year, a paltry number compared to previous years: 26 (2016), 28 ('15), 15 ('14), 20 ('13), 31 ('12), 28 ('11), 24 ('10).

Let’s take a look at the four Power 5 coaches we believe enter the year on the hottest seats.

Lovie Smith, Illinois

Record: 5-19 (third year)

Key game: vs. Kent State, Sept. 1—If you can’t beat the Golden Flashes, 2-10 last year, you can’t make a bowl.

Hot seat meter: Sweltering

Larry Fedora, North Carolina

Record: 43-34 (seventh year)

Key game: vs. UCF, Sept. 15—A win in the home opener against the defending national champions (kidding!) would be nice after last year’s 3-9 mark.

Hot seat meter: Sizzling

Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

Record: 30-33 (sixth year)

Key game: vs. Ole Miss, Sept. 1—A loss in your home state at a neutral field (Houston) could spell early doom for the Red Raiders and their coach.

Hot seat meter: Blazing

Dave Beaty, Kansas

Record: 3-33 (fourth year)

Key game: Central Michigan, Sept. 8—Nobody expects you to win at Central Michigan, but at least keep it respectable, OK?

Hot seat meter: Scorching

2019 could be hot: Ed Orgeron (LSU, second year), Mark Stoops (Kentucky, sixth year), Chris Ash (Rutgers, third year), Steve Addazio (Boston College, sixth year), Mike MacIntyre (Colorado, sixth year)

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These are the 10 people, places and things that will define the upcoming NFL season. (By Conor Orr)

Fellow sneakerheads examine the current state of NBA sneaker culture. (By Jarrel Harris)

PIGSKIN PIG OUT: OUR FAVORITE MEALS AND EATERIES AROUND COLLEGE FOOTBALL

By Jamie Lisanti

Whether it's sailgating in Husky Harbor in Washington or huddling in tents at the Grove in Mississippi, a tailgate is a tough place to beat for chowing down before a college football game. But what if you don't have an in at a tailgate? Or what if you just don't feel like grilling? Fear not. There are plenty of great game-day spots around the country where you can load up on eats before—or after—the big game.

Clemson: Sampler Platter at The Smokin' Pig

Head south from Clemson to Pendleton for an overflowing plate of pork, brisket and ribs, plus two sides. You might leave feeling like you've got Howard's Rock sitting in your stomach, but it's well worth it.

West Virginia: Pepperoni roll at Country Club Bakery

The unofficial state sandwich of pepperoni sticks baked inside soft Italian bread started as a lunch for coal miners in 1927.

Oklahoma: Wonderboy at Diamond Dawgs

This famous doawg (locals stretch it to two syllables) is battered in Cap'n Crunch and deep fried.

Alabama: BBQ nachos at Big Bad Wolves BBQ

Even Auburn fans can get behind the slow-cooked pulled pork in a mustard-vinegar barbecue sauce.

Wisconsin: The White Brat at State Street Brats

An all-pork bratwurst is the ultimate game-day food. You're obligated (by law, we're pretty sure) to add a side of cheese curds.

Tennessee: The Original Petro at Petro's Chili and Chips

Even on a stifling-hot day you'll see fans chowing down on a bowl of Frito's corn chips topped with chili, cheddar and jack cheeses, tomatoes, green onions and sour cream.

USC: Victory dogs outside L.A. Memorial Coliseum

Served up on street carts outside the stadium, these franks are wrapped in bacon and loaded with grilled onions, peppers and jalapeños.

Virginia Tech: Smoked turkey leg at Lane Stadium

The mascot might take offense, but when a bird's this tasty, we can't resist.

VAULT PHOTO OF THE WEEK: CAL RIPKEN JR. OFFICIALLY BECOMES BASEBALL'S IRON MAN

On a list of records that likely will never be broken, Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,632 consecutive games played has to be at or near the top. The Hall of Famer finally chased down Lou Gehrig's mark of 2,130 consecutive games on Sept. 6, 1995. In one of the more memorable celebrations in baseball history, Ripken took a lap around Camden Yards to high-five Orioles fans once the game (and record) became official after the fifth inning. This upcoming Thursday will mark 23 years since Ripken completed his run at history—and he went on to play more than 500 consecutive games after.

Photograph taken by Walter Iooss Jr.

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BEST OF THE REST

Editor's note: Below are some of our favorite stories from this month not published by SI. Ross Dellenger curated this week's list.

Chip Kelly is back, and he doesn't care what you think. Via ESPN's Ryan McGee.

Ivy League football is only getting better. Bill Connelly of SB Nation on why those brainy teams might be ready to compete in the playoffs.

He's replacing Baker Mayfield. He's trying to lead a playoff push. He's got a future in pro baseball. Kyle Murray is trying to balance it all, as ESPN's Joel Anderson writes.

Inside the upbringing of Clemson's prized quarterback recruit, Trevor Lawrence. Via Grace Raynor of The Post and Courier.

Editor's note: What kind of stories and content would you like to see in the Weekend Read? Let's chat at SIWeekendRead@gmail.com.

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