College Football Coaches Who Won't Be at the Same School in 2015
In some ways, even though it may appear differently, every coach on this list has been included as a compliment.
Four of the seven are coaches I think will be upgraded. They are currently coaching at one "tier" of FBS programs, but after a good season in 2014, I project they might be in store for a promotion.
The other three are coaches who will be fired. However, unlike the other coaches who will no doubt get fired during or after this season—here's looking at you, Tim Beckman—I think they have done enough in their careers to land on their feet and get another FBS gig.
That belief is based on a few things. It's not just how they've fared at their current job—although that is certainly a big factor—but how they fared in the previous job, whom they have mentored under in the past, what sort of circumstances they've dealt with, etc.
Sound off below and let me know who I missed.
Won't Happen but Had to Be Mentioned
The following three coaches won't, in actuality, be moving somewhere else next season. At least that is not my belief.
But because of their pasts (or the past of their position), it would be impossible not to mention them—for jest more than anything else.
Blake Anderson, Arkansas State
Arkansas State's last three head coaches have all left after one successful season and gone onto bigger, better things. Will Blake Anderson follow in the footsteps of Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss), Gus Malzahn (Auburn) and Bryan Harsin (Boise State)?
Todd Graham, Arizona State
Todd Graham is a great football coach. Fact. But fans of Arizona State shouldn't trust him as far as his kicker can throw him. He left Rice for Tulsa days after signing a contract extension—see: "Todd Graham's Inferno"—and pulled a similar rope-a-dope on Pittsburgh to get the ASU job in the first place. Whom will he abandon next?
Bobby Petrino, Louisville
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, how the heck did Bobby Petrino get rehired at Louisville! Just kidding. I actually wrote about loving the move when it happened and stick by what I said in January. And with a buyout of $10 million, per Nick Bromberg of Yahoo Sports, it does not appear Petrino will be going anywhere anytime soon. But let's not forget who we're talking about...
Matt Campbell, Toledo
Matt Campbell is already accomplished for a 34-year-old.
He is the coach of an FBS football team and has won 17 of his first 26 games including the Military Bowl as an interim head coach in 2011.
The Rockets were a bit of a disappointment in 2013, finishing 7-5 and not being invited to a bowl on the heels of a 9-4 season. However, they bring back a whole mess of talent—especially along the offensive line—in 2014, and I am on the record picking them to win the MAC.
Even though the conference was down last season and shouldn't be great in 2014, the MAC continues pumping its top coaches to major-conference programs. Dave Clawson won the league with Bowling Green and now coaches at Wake Forest; in 2012 Dave Doeren led North Illinois to the Fiesta Bowl and quickly left for NC State.
Campbell might be the next in line.
Randy Edsall, Maryland
I don't necessarily think this is fair, but if Randy Edsall does not lead Maryland back to the postseason in 2014, he'll probably lose his job.
And making a bowl will be difficult, given UMD's schedule.
The Terrapins had the bad fortune of being placed in the Big Ten East, which includes Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan. They also drew a home game against Iowa and road trip to play Wisconsin in Madison as two of their cross-division games.
Considering the historic barrage of injuries, Edsall had this team playing well the past couple of seasons. But with (former UMD assistant) James Franklin at Penn State making good on his pledge to "dominate the region" in recruiting, per Audrey Snyder of PennLive.com, the Terps might need a fresh new start.
If he hits the market, though, Edsall would not be out of work for long.
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
Dana Holgorsen was one of the hottest young minds in college football when he accepted the West Virginia gig in 2011.
His stops at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State allowed him to work under some of the best offensive coaches in the sport—Mike Leach, Kevin Sumlin and Mike Gundy, respectively—and alongside another one in Texas Tech co-offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes.
Things haven't quite worked out in Morgantown, and even though the 2014 season has not yet begun, it does not appear like they ever will. Sometimes, as Rich Rodriguez would attest, the fit just is not right.
But that doesn't mean Holgorsen will be damaged goods if and when he hits the market. Plenty of teams would still love to have him coach.
The potential remains for him to turn a program around with his brilliant offensive mind. Again, just as Rodriguez would attest.
Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette
Enjoy him while you can, Ragin' Cajuns.
Mark Hudspeth has gone 9-4 and won the New Orleans Bowl in each of his three seasons since taking over as head coach.
Before that, he helped build a Division II powerhouse at North Alabama, winning 10-plus games in each of his final four seasons and 13 games two years prior.
With Hudspeth and quarterback Terrance Broadway, Louisiana-Lafayette is the presumed favorite to win the Sun Belt in 2014.
However, once Broadway graduates, there will be less tying Hudspeth to the program. And if he's coming off back-to-back conference titles—ULL split the Sun Belt crown with Arkansas State in 2013—there's a good chance he'll draw some national interest.
And from there, he might be lickety-split.
Tony Levine, Houston
In 2011 the Houston Cougars went 13-1 and nearly crashed the BCS.
That team was coached by Kevin Sumlin, who is now the head coach of a power-conference school at Texas A&M.
One co-offensive coordinator was Kliff Kingsbury, who is now the head coach of a power-conference school at Texas Tech. And the defensive coordinator was Brian Stewart, who now holds the same position at a power-conference school in Maryland.
The only relevant member of that coaching staff who hung back was Tony Levine, who has done an impressive job keeping Houston afloat in the wake of losing so much coaching talent. After a 5-7 season in 2012, he led the Cougars to an 8-5 season in 2013 that was even better than the final record seemed to indicate.
Now UH is a bona fide favorite to win the AAC and one of the most likely candidates to make a College Football Playoff-sanctioned bowl as the highest-ranked non-power-conference team in America.
If that happens, expect someone to snatch Levine up.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska
The lovefest is on between Bo Pelini and Lincoln—nay, the entire country!
I do not enjoy having to be the buzzkill in this regard, especially since I quite like Pelini and think he has done an OK job at Nebraska these past six seasons. The 'Huskers have won nine or 10 games each year of his tenure, which is something most schools would kill for.
But Nebraska is not one of those schools.
Nebraska is a program that needs, at some point during a seven-year span, at least one 11-win season. And if Pelini ends up in the nine-win range again in 2014—which is about where I think he will—it might be time for a change. Why keep running in place?
Pelini has done enough good (and recently earned enough goodwill) to get another job if he's canned. And although I suppose this will be an unpopular inclusion on this list, that is what I expect to happen.
Matt Wells, Utah State
What Matt Wells did last year was remarkable—for any coach.
That he did it in his first season was insane.
Utah State had just lost head coach Gary Andersen, who helped build the program into what it is today. Star quarterback Chuckie Keeton, whom Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer called the "most exciting talent" in the country, tore his ACL and MCL against BYU October 4.
But Wells didn't just keep the team afloat; he kept it one of the most underrated in America. He helped drag the Aggies to the MWC Championship Game and led them to a win over Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl, Jordan Lynch's final collegiate game.
With Keeton back in 2014, Utah State once again has a chance to impress. And even though Wells is an alumnus, two straight years of impressing in the Mountain West might be enough to draw the interest of a team that is big enough to lure him away.