Tis the Season: NCAAF Coaches on the Chopping Block Heading Down the Stretch

Chris Andrews

Friday, November 27, 2015 2:59 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 2:59 PM UTC

Lots of college coaching jobs are open now and a lot are still to come. There are some really good jobs and some not so good jobs. There will be some good hires and a lot more bad ones.

I don’t think anyone actually charts these things in a purely factual manner, but I don’t think there have ever been so many college football head coaching jobs open at this point in the season.

And we haven’t even come close to the meaty part of the hiring/firing season yet. A lot more is set to happen.

There are a couple peach jobs out there. Some better than others, depending on your perspective.

Here are the ones we know for sure, in order (mine) of how good they are.

USC- Great tradition with a lot of the pieces right there. The best candidate available should get this job, whoever that might be (CoughChipKelly).

Miami- Great football tradition. Plus, it’s Miami. Some people would love it, some won’t. Some great things about the situation, some not so great. The fan base isn’t very loyal, except for a lot of pros who want to go back to the glory days. They rarely fill the far off campus stadium.

Virginia Tech- There wasn’t much here before Frank Beamer arrived. Now it’s very strong in a winnable league with some good recruiting advantages. With the right guy, they could immediately challenge for the ACC title, and who knows what else.

Missouri- Gary Pinkel put them in the SEC championship a couple times in their brief tenure in the SEC. You can promise a lot of kids from your region of the country what others can’t: a chance to play in the SEC and stay close to home. In the weaker half of the conference, they are very viable as a contender.

Illinois- Okay, the Red Grange days are long gone. The Illini would take a re-emergence of the Jack Trudeau era. Another winnable league and a very good, big public institution. I wouldn’t call them a ‘sleeping giant,’ but maybe ‘a pretty big dude who nodded off watching TV.

South Carolina- Here is a situation that could go either way. Not much of a tradition before Spurrier showed up. But here they are in the weakest division of the toughest league. The right guy could make them a serious player for years to come. The wrong guy would make them Kentucky.

Maryland- Kevin Plank, CEO and founder of Under Armour wants to do for Maryland what Nike did for Oregon. Easier said than done, but it sure is a step in the right direction, and makes this job a nice one.

Syracuse- This once was a top program, though kids today might not realize it. Syracuse is the home of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little and Donavan McNab. Most of you have heard of Brown and McNab, but trust me, the others were damn good, too. It’s a good school in a winnable league, but they definitely need the right guy. They haven’t had the right guy since Ben Schwartzwalder. That was a long time ago.

Central Florida- Well, it’s in Florida. Good recruiting, good weather. Football has been up and down. Probably a stepping stone job for whoever takes it.

Iowa State- It seems like their football program is doomed. One step above Kansas, but a whole bunch of steps below Texas, Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State. You never know. Baylor almost didn’t get invited to be in this league, now it is one of the best programs in the country. They definitely need the right guy, and that won’t be easy.

North Texas- A couple years ago this was an up and coming program. This year it scored the lowest GPS (my own scoring system) score in my 30 years of handicapping college football when they got crushed by Portland State 66-7. At home no less. And homecoming on top of that. Coach Dan McCarney got fired before the ink was dry on the scorebook.

Hawaii- If athletes took scholarships according to weather and pretty girls, Hawaii would be in the national hunt every year and Ohio State would be part of the MAC. There is a lot more to it than that, and here is exhibit A. I’m not sure about the long term possibilities here. Not very good, I’m afraid. But not the worst place in the world to pay your dues as a coach before moving on.

Louisiana, Monroe- The bottom of the barrel of the current open positions, though some worse might come up. Chip Kelly won’t be landing here. They’ll either grab some up-and-comer with promise of some retread.

Stay tuned. There will be a lot more openings coming in the next few weeks or even days. I would tell some of these athletic directors and university presidents to be careful. Lloyd Carr was forced out at Michigan and it took the Wolverines three coaching hires to find the right one. Nebraska did the same to Frank Solich and still hasn’t found anyone as good. Now LSU is thinking of giving Les Miles his walking papers. They gotta be nuts.

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