There is just one head coaching job open currently at a Power 5 Conference school and that's at California. Of course the Bears play in the Pac-12, and there's a certain former highly successful Pac-12 coach who needs a job: Chip Kelly. You can bet on whom the next Cal coach will be.
Over the weekend, Cal fired Sonny Dykes. It was considered a surprising move mostly for its timing and the fact that the Cal athletic department reportedly has run up a $22 million deficit so the last thing the school needs is to pay Dykes millions of dollars not to coach the football program. He makes $3 million a season with a contract that runs through 2019.
Dykes, 47, completed his fourth season at the helm of the Golden Bears on Nov. 26 with records of 19-30 overall and 10-26 in Pac-12 play. Cal was pretty good in 2015 with future NFL No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff at quarterback, but slid to 5-7 this past season without Goff and missed a bowl game. Dykes pretty clearly was looking to go elsewhere as he reportedly interviewed for the head-coaching position at Missouri last offseason and the job at Baylor this offseason. Dykes is from Texas.
As soon as Cal fired Dykes, the rumor mill shifted to Chip Kelly, who built a powerhouse at Oregon and had a 46-7 record in four seasons at the school, including a 33-3 mark in the Pac-12. Kelly has been fired the past two seasons at his NFL jobs, from the Philadelphia Eagles late in the 2015 season and the San Francisco 49ers following this past NFL regular season. Plenty of college coaches have gone to the NFL, failed and then gone back to college and succeeded. A guy by the name of Nick Saban comes to mind.
Bovada offers a prop on the next Cal coach and Kelly is the +300 third-favorite on college football odds. There's no question the fan base wants him. This surely would be his only shot at a Power 5 job for the 2017 season, and he knows the territory. Kelly has said he would be willing to remain in the NFL even if it meant accepting an offensive coordinator position. He's not ever getting another NFL head coaching job, though.
The favorite is Justin Wilcox at +200. The Wisconsin defensive coordinator played at Oregon and was a linebackers coach at Cal from 2003-05.
Next is current Cal interim coach Jake Spavital at +250 on college football picks. He just joined Dykes' staff as offensive coordinator before last season. Before that he was the OC at Texas A&M. Spavital will get the first official interview.
The other betting options are Tee Martin (+400) and Les Miles (+600). Martin, a former Tennessee national championship-winning QB, is the offensive coordinator at USC and his star is on the rise. Miles of course was fired at LSU this past season. He interviewed for the Minnesota job recently but that went to Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck.