Dennis Dodd released 2012 Coaches Hot Seat Rankings today and if you're Tennessee's Derek Dooley or New Mexico's DeWayne Walker, you probably want to go ahead and 12-0 this season just to make sure there's a next one.
As for our Syracuse Orange master and commander, Doug Marrone received a score of 3.5, which is on the high side of the "On the bubble, feeling pressure" category. The category just below that one is "Safe, but you never know."
What I think is great about these rankings is that they perfectly illustrate why you (and I) shouldn't put so much faith in what national columnists have to say. Because really, they don't know.
I get why Dodd puts Marrone in that category, just shy of being on a "warm seat." He's 17-20 in three seasons and he's coming off a disappointing 5-7 finish. All Dodd's really doing is looking at big picture and applying the same criteria to every school, including Syracuse.
What Dodd isn't doing is really digging in to the state of Syracuse football, the minutia of where the program is coming from and what the program is looking at this season. We do that and you and I know that, record-aside, Marrone should be firmly planted in the "Safe, but you never know" category.
What these rankings don't account for is that Marrone took over the program at the worst point in the history of the school. That he literally had to rebuild recruiting inroads within his own state, let alone around the country. That 17 wins in three seasons is almost double what his predecessor had in four. That Marrone is staring down the barrel of one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation. That his own AD has already publicly admitted this is going to be a tough season to navigate.
Doug Marrone doesn't get a free pass, but a 4-8 record this season isn't the death knell that it might be at another program. Short of losing double-digit games, which won't happen, Marrone will not enter the 2013 season on any kind of hot seat.
Ultimately this just reminds me of basketball season we (myself very much included) took such offense at what the national folks' expectations and thoughts about us were. It's a good reminder that they don't view the team through the same lens we do, because they can't. They can't focus in on the little things that the numbers don't show.
Hopefully, the Orange put it together this season and go to a bowl game and then stuff like this can go away (for at least a season). If not, unfortunately, get ready to hear someone say Marrone is on the hot seat heading into next year, even if they haven't watched one game he's coached in four years.