The Big 12 football coaches under the most pressure to win in 2024

These Big 12 football head coaches should be feeling the heat because they have a lot on the line in 2024.
Colorado Spring Football Game
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The Big 12 football coaches are meeting the media today in Las Vegas as part of the annual Big 12 Football Media Days. Thus, it's a ntural time to think about where each head coach stands with his program.

What's interesting is that the Big 12 has a mix of coaching resumes and tenures. For instance, Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and Utah's Kyle Whittingham have been at their current schools since 2005.

On the other hand, the conference is welcoming in two new head coaches in Arizona's Brent Brennan and Houston's Willie Fritz. What's more, four more coaches, Texas Tech's Joey McGuire, Cincinnati's Scott Satterfield, TCU's Sonny Dykes, and Arizona State's Kenny Dillingham have been with their current program for three seasons or fewer.

Thus, the vibe each coach faces varies from school to school across the conference. Still, there are five men who need to win big in 2024 in order to silence the critics or change the trajectory of their program. Here are the five Big 12 football head coaches under the most pressure this season.

Sonny Dykes. 5. Big 12 Coaches. . player. Sonny Dykes. 466. . .

Sports are all about what you've done lately. That's not good for TCU head coach Sonny Dykes who guided his team to just 5-7 overall and 3-6 in Big 12 play last fall.

It was a massively disappointing result for a program that reached the National Championship Game in Dykes first season in Fort Worth. Now, it is fair to wonder which season was the anomaly.

Did Dykes have such massive success in 2023 because of the experienced talent-rich roster he inherited from Gary Patterson? Or is he a good coach and last year just a fluke because of injuries at the QB position?

Either way, Dykes has to be feeling the pressure to some degree. Don't forget that his school's cross-town rival, SMU, is now in one of the four major conferences (the ACC) and the Mustangs are making big moves to try to capitalize on their opportunity to sit at the big kids' table.

Dykes must reestablish TCU as the dominant program in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and keep the buzz about his team and not allow SUM to become the biggest story in the Metroplex. That's a threat that no TCU coach has had to deal with since the 1980s. Is he up for the task? That's yet to be seen.

4. . . . Big 12 coaches. Kalani Sitake. player. Kalani Sitake. 540.

At first glance, one might think that BYU's Kalani Sitake is entrenched in Provo. After all, he's been with the Cougars for eight years and had only one losing season (2017).

However, the reality is that Sitake's program was unimpressive in 2023, their debut season in the Big 12. If 2024 isn't a rebound for the Cougars, then Sitake's seat will grow extremely warm.

Last season, BYU struggled in Big 12 play. Going just 2-7 in league action, it is fair to wonder if the jump to the Big 12 is going to prove to be more daunting than the folks in Provo thought it might be.

This year, BYU checked in at No. 13 in the Big 12 preseason poll. Part of the reason why might be that the Cougars have to play each of the top five teams in that poll.

If the Cougars don't reach a bowl game this year, it will be a disastrous start to life in the Big 12. In that scenario, Sitake will certainly be feeling the heat.

Scott Satterfield. Scott Satterfield. 3. . player. . . 449. Big 12 coaches.

Though he's only been on the job for one year at Cincinnati, Scott Satterfield needs a bounce-back season in 2024. Last year, the Bearcats were just 3-9 overall and that was not how they wanted to introduce themselves to the Big 12.

Satterfield has a big task ahead of him, though, when it comes to making his program competitive again. Last year, five of their conference losses were by double digits. So there's plenty of ground to be made up.

The question is whether or not that much improvement can come in the span of one offseason. On defense, the Bearcats will have a new coordinator and they will return only four starters. On offense, the program will be breaking in a new QB, though who that will be is still up in the air.

The reality that Cincinnati must face is that their program only got an invite to the Big 12 because of one season, (2021) when they rode a weak schedule in the American Athletic Conference to a College Football Playoff appearance. Since then, they are 12-13 overall. If Satterfield can't stop that slide, then he could be on the hot seat in just his second season.

Dave Aranda. 460. . . . Big 12 coaches. Dave Aranda. 2. player.

By year five of a coach's tenure most should know what that coach is capable of. Now, in 2024, many in Waco are fearful that Dave Aranda might not be the answer they are looking for.

Overall, he's just 23-25 in his first-ever head coaching gig at the college level. What's more, outside of his 12-2 Big 12 Championship season in 2021, he's just 11-23 with the Bears.

Aranda also isn't necessarily uniting the Baylor fan base. Stoic and nearly robotic with his public persona, he isn't inspiring many people in Waco to emotionally invest in Baylor football.

This year, Aranda enters the season on the hot seat. He's taken over the defensive play-calling duties and he's hired a new offensive coordinator. Those are signs of a coach who is trying desperately to stem the tide.

This year, Baylor has to play at Utah, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and West Virginia while hosting Kansas. That is a tough row to hoe in the Big 12 and it could spell the end of the Aranda era.

Big 12 coaches. . . player. . Deion Sanders. Deion Sanders. 514. . 1

Perhaps no coach in the country has more pressure on him than Deion Sanders at Colorado. Sure, this will only be his second season in Boulder but after a 4-8 debut season, he has to show signs of life in year two.

Now, it would seem unlikely that Sanders would get the ax after just two years. However, his reputation as a coach is on the line and that's a huge component of his overall coaching ability.

If people begin to see Sanders as a failed head coaching experiment, then the bravado that he uses as his best weapon will carry far less weight. In fact, he could begin to start looking more like a cartoon character and less like a legitimate program builder.

Will a new offensive coordinator and an army of transfers fix all that ailed the Buffs last season? Or, with this chemistry experiment fizzle out?

Either way, the country will be watching. That means that Coach Prime has more to lose than just football games. He has his reputation and persona at stake as well.