Monday, December 1, 2014

As the College Football Coaching Carousel Turns: 12/2/14

The Carousel is turning at top speed, even if the projected firings have fallen short as of this posting. There have not been nearly as many firings as most projected in the field, especially with coaches like Kevin Wilson at Indiana and Tim Beckman at Illinois living to fight another season in 2015. Here are the openings, and what we have heard in regards to who may be coming in to fill them...

There only seems to be two candidates to replace the ousted Will Muschamp, and one may be staying where he is. Hugh Freeze apparently has an offer in hand from the Gators, which of course is being denied by Jeremy Foley. Freeze also has a fat extension in hand from Ole Miss to retain him, so he may indeed be sticking around Oxford, where he could be a God for years in the Grove.
If Freeze falls through, expect Colorado State coach Jim McElwain to get a call and an offer in short order.

I don't know if I'd be in a hurry to grab at this job. The money should be great, and the facilities are loaded, but that fan base and administration are anchored to Tom Osborne's legacy, and that just isn't fair. The game has changed, but the expectations remain.
Oregon OC Scott Frost is a leading candidate, but look for Wyoming coach Craig Bohl to be heavily in play here as well. Jim Tressel's name has been floated, and Jim McElwain could be targeted if he doesn't go to Florida. Memphis coach Justin Fuente could be a dark horse way in back of the pack.

Clint Bowen is a candidate in name only according to several sources, and will likely stay onboard as DC next fall. Memphis Coach Justin Fuente and Georgia Southern's Willie Fritz are the popular names here. I would favor Fritz here, as his connections here run deep. DOn't count out dark horse candidate Ed Orgeron.

SMU made a Thanksgiving night splash by hiring Clemson OC Chad Morris. There is no doubt that his Texas connections were a huge sell for the Mustangs, and this is a splashy hire for a big price, as Morris is likely to be paid between 2.5 and 3 million per season.

With Blankenship officially out, names are starting to emerge. Look for Oklahoma assistant Josh Heupel and TCU assistant Doug Meacham to both get good long looks here. Texas A&M assistant Jake Spavital could also be in the mix, as could Oklahoma DC and former Arizona Coach Mike Stoops.

The Trojans certainly had their pick of candidates. This is a good job, and Troy made a solid move by nabbing Kentucky OC Neal Brown, a former Troy assistant under Blakeney. Look for the Trojans to rebound fairly quickly.

There may be no shortage of local candidates to put in for the job. Hell, I've considered putting my name in, and no, I'm not kidding. This could be a really good job, but the right candidate has to show interest and drive. Bobby Hauck is a good guy and a solid coach, but he was never dynamic enough. Look for Bishop Gorman coach Tony Sanchez to get a good long look here. He comes with local backing, and lots of cash in donor power. If he falls through, look for UCLA OC Noel Mazzone o get a call, or even Colorado Mines coach Bob Stitt.

Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Lance Liepold is the new coach at Buffalo. This was an out of the box hire for the Bulls, and Liepold has been a big time winner, challenging D3 power house Mount Union annually for the national title. I like this kind of thinking.

The Hoke firing is happening within hours, so we can look at some candidates early on. Certainly consider Les Miles as a serious candidate, but not Jim Harbaugh. Miles may be ready to move on from LSU at this point. Harbaugh will either be coaching the Raiders or Dolphins in 2015. Also expect Greg Schiano to get a call. I would expect Pat Narduzzi to reject this position without seriously considering as a sign of loyalty to Mark Dantonio.

With their coach retiring, it would not at all surprise me to see Bobby Hauck return to the Grizzlies after being let go at UNLV. This move would be as smart as they come, as Hauck enjoyed solid success here before bolting. Paul Wulff could also get a call.

That's all for now, more news from the Carousel will be delivered tomorrow (Tuesday) night!

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