In the first installment of what will be a weekly update, I’ll rank the top coaching prospects around the country, the possible jobs they might go to, the football jobs that are open—as well as the rumored candidates—and my pick for the each job.
So, with only four jobs open so far and possibly 10 more on the way, and the top 20 coaching prospects available, let’s take a look and how this college football coaching offseason could shake out.
* = BCS conference jobs or Elite non-BCS jobs
|*||.||Jim Harbaugh||Head Coach, Stanford||Michigan|
|*||.||Carl Pederson||Head Coach, Boise State|
|*||.||Dan Mullen||Head Coach, Mississippi State||Miami (FL)|
|*||.||Gary Patterson||Head Coach, TCU|
|*||.||Randy Edsall||Head Coach, Uconn||Michigan, Vanderbilt|
|1||.||Kyle Whittingham||Head Coach, Utah||Miami (FL)|
|2||.||Kevin Sumlin||Head Coach, Houston|
|3||.||Gus Malzahn||Offensive Coordinator, Auburn|
|4||.||Mike Leach||Former Texas Tech Head Coach||Minnesota, Miami (FL)|
|5||.||Troy Calhoun||Head Coach, Air Force|
|6||.||Phillip Fulmer||Former Tennessee Head Coach|
|7||.||Brady Hoke||Head Coach, San Diego State||Minnesota, Michigan|
|8||.||Al Golden||Head Coach, Temple|
|9||.||Dana Hologorsen||Offensive Coordinator, Oklahoma St.|
|10||.||Jim McElwain||Offensive Coordinator, Alabama|
|11||.||Jerry Kill||Head Coach, Northern Illinois|
|12||.||Todd Graham||Head Coach, Tulsa|
|13||.||Kirby Smart||Defensive Coordinator, Alabama|
|14||.||Mike Haywood||Head Coach, Miami (OH)|
|15||.||Bryan Harsin||Offensive Coordinator, Boise State|
|16||.||Ken Niumatolo||Head Coach, Navy||Vanderbilt, Minnesota|
|17||.||Randy Shannon||Former Head Coach, Miami (FL)||Minnesota|
|18||.||Kevin Wilson||Offensive Coordinator, Oklahoma||INDIANA|
|19||.||Dan Sharp||Defensive Coordinator, TCU|
|20||.||Bud Foster||Defensive Coordinator, Virginia Tech|
-Kevin Sumlin is good enough for a top-notch BCS job, but may not get a chance because outside of Colorado, which already has its finalists picked, there aren’t any Big 12 or Pac-10 jobs open.
-Gus Malzahn has a lot to do with Auburn’s success this year, and he is head and shoulders the top offensive coordinator head coaching prospect available. He may hold out, even past this year, for a top job.
-Mike Leach would make sense for just about every job, but especially jobs that just need to install a winning record-type team, as his system is good enough to win 7-8 games anywhere in the country. So Minnesota as of now, and maybe Washington State or Mississippi State, if they open up (Mississippi State would be if Dan Mullen leaves for Miami (FL))
-Al Golden and Jerry Kill have been ultra-impressive in the MAC. For the open Big Ten and maybe Big East jobs, they may have the inside track.
-Sleeper coaches to watch are Brady Hoke at San Diego State—he has a 7-4 record and lost his games to four teams that were ranked in the Top 25 either now or at some point by a total of 14 points—and Dana Hologorsen at Oklahoma State. As an offensive coordinator, he has lead a deadly offense with less talent than in year’s past and has this team surprisingly in the Top 10.
* = Jobs not open as of now, but are suspected to become open
X = Jobs filled
|Pre./Current Coach||Possible Coaches?||My Vote|
|1||.||Miami (FL)||Randy Shannon||Dan Mullen, Mike Leach||Dan Mullen|
|2||.||Colorado||Dan Hawkins||John Embree, Eric Bielema||John Embree|
|3||.||Minnesota||Tim Brewster||Al Golden, Randy Shannon, Ken Niumatolo||Al Golden|
|4||.||Vanderbilt||Robbie Caldwell||Randy Edsall, Ken Niumatolo||Randy Edsall|
|*||.||Michigan||Rich Rodriguez||Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, Brady Hoke||Jim Harbaugh|
|*||.||Pittsburgh||Dave Wannstedt||Gus Malzahn, Todd Graham||Gus Malzahn|
|*||.||Clemson||Dabo Sweeney||Gus Malzahn, Kirby Smart||Kirby Smart|
|*||.||West Virginia||Bill Stewart|
|*||.||Arizona State||Dennis Erickson|
|*||.||Washington St||Paul Wulff||Dana Hologorsen, Bryan Harsin||Bryan Harsin|
|*||.||Kent St.||Doug Martin|
|*||.||Eastern Michigan||Ron English|
|X||.||Indiana||Bill Lynch||Kevin Wilson, OC, Oklahoma||Kevin Wilson|
|X||.||North Texas||Todd Dodge||Dan McCarney, DL Coach, Florida||Dan McCarney|
|X||.||UL Lafayette||Rickey Bustle||Mark Hudspeath, OC, Miss St.||Mark Hudspeath|
-Miami (FL) needs to get a coach that will run a system that can win now, is well-respected, and can develop the recruits they’ll get for the next level. That’s why former Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen makes the most sense, but guys like Kyle Whittingham, Gary Patterson and Gus Malzahn are all right behind him in my opinion.
-Kevin Wilson at Indiana was a bit of a surprise, and the first coach to be named at a BCS school. I would have thought they’d stick with someone closer to the area and could have an instant impact in recruiting, but he has been a contender for many jobs in the past, so I can’t be too surprised.
-Minnesota could be a wild-card team to get a big-name coach. In basketball, they went after and got Tubby Smith from Kentucky and paid a lot for him, so they could reach. Mike Leach makes the most sense because he can win quickly.
-The Michigan job may likely be decided on if Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles wants the job. If they don’t, they’ll likely give Rich Rod another year.
-Pittsburgh may have to fire Dave Wannstedt, and if they do, they could go the same route Syracuse did and look to the NFL as well as a coach that has Pittsburgh ties. Usually, if team’s miss on a big-name head coach, they go after a coach with ties to the program (Such as Colorado, and maybe Michigan).
-Bryan Harsin may be a highly sought-after coach on the West Coast. He has done a great job in helping Boise State recruit BCS-level talent, has lead a tremendously impressive offense, and could be next in-line to run the Boise State dynasty if Pederson left. Keep in mind that Dan Hawkins and Chris Pederson were coordinators before they were promoted to head coaches.