Which program leaders will be coaching for their jobs this fall in the Southeastern Conference?

That may be an annual question we all discuss every offseason but the answer this season is likely going to be more complicated than in any other year considering the COVID pandemic has forced athletic programs from across the country to suffer massive losses which have led to cuts and furloughs that many didn’t see coming.

Will SEC schools really pay out buyouts for a losing coach?

The answer is likely yes, depending on how poorly some teams perform on the field this season, but don’t rule out the finances when it comes to a coach or two keeping their job for another season in the SEC.

Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated recently rated the hot seats of several college football coaches on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the hottest seat and 5 being the coolest seat.

Four coaches from the SEC made Forde’s list. Predictably, Derek Mason and Will Muschamp made the list while Gus Malzahn and Jimbo Fisher were also listed.

Here are the hot seat rankings for each of them, including some of the logic used for putting Malzahn and Fisher on his list:

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt – 1

Will Muschamp, South Carolina – 2

Gus Malzahn, Auburn – 3

“He has two important things going for him: a big buyout, and two wins in the last three seasons over Nick Saban (and three overall). But the Tigers could take a step back in the cutthroat SEC West, and every step back at Auburn is viewed with alarm.”

Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M – 4

“A&M has become a More Money Than Sense program—it has agreed to consecutive contracts that were ridiculously tilted in favor of the coach. The previous one made firing Kevin Sumlin massively expensive, and then the school followed up by giving Fisher a fully guaranteed, 10-year, $75 million deal in which Fisher has to pay zero dollars and zero cents if he walks away… But he’s 1–6 in true road games thus far and failed to threaten the top dogs in the SEC West.”

Thoughts on the list?