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Pac-12 coaching hot seat ratings: South

With a 6-18 record over the past two seasons, Colorado's Mike MacIntyre has the hottest seat in the Pac-12 South division. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

There were no head-coaching firings in the the Pac-10 after the 2009 season, though Pete Carroll did bolt USC for the Seattle Seahawks. That is pretty darn rare. Heading into the 2015 season, only one conference coach remains with the same team from 2010 (and the team wasn't even in the Pac-10 at the time): Utah's Kyle Whittingham.

The biggest years of conference coaching carnage? 2011 and 2012, when over the course of two years seven teams changed head coaches, though not all because of firings.

Who's on the hot seat this fall? Though it's a distasteful preseason task, taking the temperature of coaching thrones is also a necessary ritual. The good news, at least if you are no fan of watching someone experience professional failure and get fired, is no Pac-12 seat is truly toasty and only a couple rate as warm.

It's probably fair to say that if California's Sonny Dykes, Colorado's Mike MacIntyre or Washington State's Mike Leach goes 1-11 this fall, he'll be in trouble. They probably wouldn't be completely comfortable at 4-8, either. But all three lead teams that should win more games this season than they did last, so that expected improvement suggests a degree of safety.

Though, of course, you never know.

Here's how we view the seat temperatures of the Pac-12 coaches, starting with the South Division. The rating system goes from 1-5 -- one being cool (safe) and five being scorching (win or else!).

Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

Hot seat rating: 1

Rodriguez won the South last year and has overachieved based on the talent he inherited in Tucson. The general consensus is the program is on a decided uptick. On the downside, the Fiesta Bowl was a bummer, and Todd Graham's success at Arizona State means fans will be on edge annually comparing the relative success of the rival programs. Still, for most Wildcats fans, the chief worry is Rodriguez leaving for another job, not him failing to win.

Todd Graham, Arizona State

Hot seat rating: 1

After consecutive 10-win seasons and the 2013 South title, Graham might even be more secure than his good buddy Rich Rod, particularly with a stadium renovation going on, one that might keep Graham from having a wandering eye. That said, Rodriguez's success at Arizona means fans will be on edge annually comparing the relative success of the rival programs. (We repeated that line verbatim so you bias obsessives would be stumped.)

Mike MacIntyre, Colorado

Hot seat rating: 3

The Buffaloes regressed from 4-8 to 2-10 in MacIntyre's second season and that is never a good thing. But with 15 returning starters, including QB Sefo Liufau as a third-year starter, and a big-time upgrade at defensive coordinator with the hiring of Jim Leavitt, there is reason for optimism in Boulder. The Buffs' biggest problem is the Pac-12 itself, particularly the South, which presents five ranked teams, not to mention games with Oregon and Stanford from the North. Most folks realize that the program is in a much better place than it was in 2012, but another bottom-of-the-conference finish would provoke plenty of grumbling.

Jim Mora, UCLA

Hot seat rating: 1

Mora has won 29 games in three seasons, including a pair of 10-win seasons his last two. The Bruins finished ranked 10th last year, their highest ranking since 1998. UCLA looks like a Pac-12 and national contender again this fall. Mora is well on his way toward establishing himself as one of the Bruins' all-time great coaches -- if he sticks around Westwood. If Mora is still the Bruins' coach in 2020, I'd put $5 on him earning a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Steve Sarkisian, USC

Hot seat rating: 2

While it was far from perfect, Sarkisian's first season at USC was pretty strong, particularly when you factor in recruiting. Still, 9-4 won't ever thrill USC fans, and you're really not secure as a USC coach until you win a Pac-12 and, yes, a national title. If Sarkisian wins the conference this year, as more than a few folks are projecting, his rating will fall to a "1" in 2016. If he posts another nine-win season, it might perk up to a "3." That's just how it is at USC.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Hot seat rating: 2

With his track record and the Utes' 9-4 finish last year, Whittingham should rate a "1" here. But he is downgraded to a "2" based on his offseason, public squabble with athletic director Chris Hill, as well as the departure of both coordinators. Note that volatility goes both ways, unlike a lot of hot seat situations. While an implosion would obviously hurt Whittingham's standing, it's also possible that if the Utes assert themselves and win the South -- or just win 10 games -- that Whittingham might bolt for another job, either in college or the NFL.