This coaching carousel is getting out of hand. Rumors are everywhere and it's very clear that nobody is off-limits and no rules exist anymore. So let's get weird.
1. Les Miles, HC LSU: 7-3. Last time: NR
With a 137-53 overall record as a head coach including a 28-21 stint at Oklahoma State with only one losing season and two appearances in the national title game with one win, how does the 62-year-old Miles not top out this list? Miles has put countless players in the NFL and LSU continues to pull in top-tier talent. He would lend instant credibility to any Power 5 program, even if LSU is willing to buy him out for $15 million.
Likely destination: I'm not sure if he even coaches next year, but he could virtually name his destination. I would in no way object to Miles at Illinois, even after Ron Zook.
2. Chip Kelly, HC Philadelphia Eagles: 4-6. Last time: NR
With only 7 losses in 4 years as a college football head coach, Chip Kelly barely loses the top spot to Miles. His Eagles just gave up five touchdown passes to Jameis Winston, but he has a playoff appearance on his resume. Like Miles, he took over a college program that was already humming, but unlike Miles he took it to new heights (in fairness to Les, you can't do better than a national championship). Kelly is a great coach and a great offensive mind, but he might not be a very good general manager, which may be his undoing in Philly.
Likely destination: This will be a big money hire. I could see USC pulling the trigger more than anyone else.
3. Dan Mullen, HC Missisippi State: 8-3. Last time: NR
Even more from the rumor mill, Dan Mullen is supposedly very unhappy with Mississippi State as well as the local media. He had Mississippi State at #1 last year and is 54-34 at Mississippi State despite playing in the same division as the Saban Tide, the Miles Tigers and flashes of A&M, Arkansas and Ole Miss being top-10 teams. The 43-year-old Mullen coached under Urban Meyer at BGSU, Utah and Florida before being hired at Mississippi State.
Likely destination: Could go anywhere. Rumor has it Virginia Tech is closing in.
4. Mark Richt, HC Georgia: 8-3. Last time: NR
Rumor has it Richt is on the hot seat in year 14 at Georgia. He hasn't won the SEC since 2005 and hasn't won a weak SEC East since 2012. Nevertheless, he's never missed a bowl, has gone 114-51 (83-37 in conference), and continues to win despite having a knack for losing his most talented players due to injury (Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, etc). At 55, I don't believe he'd be done just yet.
Likely destination: Mostly has ties to the South, so I could see an SEC or ACC job becoming his. Or he may be exiled to Arkansas State for a couple years, who knows?
5. Tom Herman, HC #21 Houston: 10-1. Last time: 1 (-4)
Ouch, you lost 20-17 at Connecticut. I'll still give Herman the #5 ranking here because Houston was playing with a backup QB for much of that game, and the Ohio State loss and locker room interviews made clear how much Herman meant to OSU's offense last year. Rumor has it Houston is desperate to keep him.
Likely destination: Principally has ties to Texas and Ohio. If Houston is really ponying up what's rumored, he may stick around. Remember, he is only in his first year there. I doubt Iowa State can get him back.
6. Matt Campbell, HC #24 Toledo: 9-1, 2-0 against P5 teams. Last time: 5 (-1)
Toledo held BGSU to their lowest output all year and also put up 14 more points than the Falcons. Despite the #24 ranking, my report last week that Toledo was in the driver's seat for the MAC championship was inaccurate, as their loss to Northern Illinois keeps them in second via the head-to-head tiebreaker (NIU also has 1 MAC loss). At this point it's clear that Campbell, 35-14 (24-7) in his fourth year, was much more instrumental to Toledo's turnaround than Tim Beckman.
Likely destination: May be hell-bent on winning the MAC, but may also move on to a B1Gger stage after this year. Illinois will not go to the Toledo well again, but weren't Iowa and Northwestern looking at who might be the next coach around this time last year?
7. Matt Rhule, HC #25 Temple: 9-2. Last time: 6 (-1)
The Owls rebounded from a 21-point loss at South Florida to dominate Justin Fuente's Memphis Tigers 31-12 to take control of the American East. If they can hold off a pesky Connecticut team, they will play the winner of Houston-Navy in the American Title Game, not to be confused with the National Title Game. The Penn State alum has worked for Temple, Western Carolina, Buffalo, UCLA and the New York Giants and has coached QBs, OLs, TEs, DLs, LBs, special teams and offense. This is a very well-rounded candidate. At age 40, he is in his third year as the head coach of a Temple program led into prominence by Al Golden from 2006-10 (during which time he was an assistant under Golden), but he inherited a 4-7 Temple team from Steve Addazio (also making the transition to the then-Big East. In the American, he went 2-10 before improving to 6-6 and missing a bowl last year.
Likely destination: Could really go anywhere, but is most likely to land in the Northeast, at, say, a Rutgers or a Syracuse.
8. Justin Fuente, HC Memphis: 8-3. Last time: 3 (-5)
Memphis was soundly defeated by Temple for their third straight loss. Still, all that means is that Memphis is 1-3 against teams currently in the top 25. Fuente took over a program that had won 3 of its previous 24 games and led them not only through the transition from CUSA to the AAC but to 10 wins and a conference title by year 3.
Likely destination: Rumored to be the hot choice to replace Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, though so is Dan Mullen
9. Bud Foster, DC Virginia Tech: 5-6. Last time: NR
Seen as the head-coach-in-waiting at Virginia Tech, Bud Foster immediately becomes a hot commodity if they pull the trigger on Fuente. He's been with Frank Beamer forever, serving as a recruiting coordinator and linebacker coach at Murray State before moving to Virginia Tech, where he took over defensive coordinator duties in 1995. Since 1999, the worst defensive ranking for the Hokies is #52 (by yards), and they have been in the top 10 of that statistic nine times.
Likely destination: Good question. Could go to South Carolina, though he has ties to East Central Illinois.
10. Dino Babers, HC BGSU: 8-3, 2-0 against the B1G. Last time: 2 (-8)
Dino's offensive attack was neutralized (relatively) by Toledo in a 44-28 loss last week. Nevertheless, Babers has the Falcons locked into their second MAC championship game in his second season. BGSU's worst point output in conference play would be Illinois' second-best. Recruiting chops still a bit of an unknown, as he inherited much of a MAC-winning team under Dave Clawson in 2013.
Likely destination: Illinois won't hire him. They should, but they won't. Iowa State may be inclined to take a look, but I really don't know. Has ties to Texas, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, California, Indiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania...He's been a lot of places.
11. Rod Carey, HC Northern Illinois: 8-3. Last time: 9 (-2)
The Huskies stopped the boat from being rowed in DeKalb last week, defeating Western Michigan for their sixth straight win in conference play. Tonight's matchup with Ohio is all that stands between them and a date with BGSU for the MAC championship. Like Babers, Carey inherited a very healthy program, but NIU remains an elite MAC team.
Likely destination: Carey is the fourth straight NIU coach to win the MAC West during his tenure. In fact, every coach NIU has had since joining the MAC has won the division at least once. Perhaps Illinois should look at their athletic director as well as Carey.
12. DJ Durkin, DC #12 Michigan: 9-2, 6-1 in conference play. Last time: 7 (-5)
Durkin may have his biggest test ahead of him, but he sure does have a lot going his way. Michigan has exceeded all expectations in year one of the Harbaugh regime. With Durkin's experience as a recruiter, he may not stay on Harbaugh's staff much longer.
Likely destination: If one of the mid-majors loses a bidding war to a P5 team, he may end up there. No HC experience, but he's succeeded at every job he's had.
13. Ken Niumatalolo, HC #16 Navy: 9-1. Last time: 4 (-9)
Beat Tulsa to move to 9-1 and gain the highest ranking of any mid-major. So why did he drop to 12? Candidates added above and I just don't know if anyone will hire him. With his option-based offense, he seems uniquely suited for Navy. Would certainly be an intriguing fit at, say, Iowa State of Purdue.
Likely destination: Does Georgia Tech fire Niumatalolo's successor to hire him? If not, I think he stays at Navy.
14. Willie Fritz, HC Georgia Southern: 7-3. Last time: 11 (-3)
I'd love to see Georgia Southern play Navy. Took Georgia to overtime this past weekend, but results show him as the second-best option coach.
Likely destination: Georgia!
15. Jeff Brohm, HC WKU: 9-2, 0-1 against the B1G. Last time: 8(-7)
Nothing Brohm can do about his schedule. Losses at Indiana and LSU are perfectly respectable, but Vanderbilt and Louisiana Tech are the best wins. Obliterated FIU 63-7 this past weekend. The 44-year-old Brohm is in his second year at WKU after taking over for Bobby Petrino.
Likely destination: Your guess is as good as mine.
16. Gus Malzahn, HC Auburn: 6-5. Last time: NR
Continuing along with this perfectly ridiculous coaching carousel, rumor has it that Gus is on the hot seat. At some point last year, teams started to figure out his offense, and it seems that without a disgraced transfer from another SEC school at QB (Cam Newton, Nick Marshall) he can't run it effectively.
Likely destination: The 50-year-old Malzahn, if fired, may go into exile as an offensive coordinator.
17. Brock Spack, HC FCS#4 Illinois State: 9-2. Last time: 12 (-5)
Blew away South Dakota 46-0 to clinch a share of the MVFC title and the #2 overall seed in the FCS championship tournament. Joe Tiller's defensive coordinator for 12 years, he has built Illinois State into one of the best programs in FCS. Admittedly, having Tre Roberson has helped, but the Redbirds will be looking to go to their second consecutive FCS championship game.
Likely destination: Mustache jokes aside, this guy bleeds Purdue. He was a three year starter for the Boilermakers at linebacker, a graduate assistant in the 80's, a position coach for 4 years and a defensive coordinator for 12. Purdue should get this guy back before he gets more attention.
18. PJ Fleck, HC Western Michigan: 6-5 Last time: 10(-8)
Lost 27-19 against Rod Carey's NIU Huskies to pick up a second straight loss. Still have a shot at an impressive win at Toledo on Friday. The 34-year-old Fleck was a graduate assistant under Jim Tressel at OSU in 2006. He was hired as a WR coach at NIU in 2007 and was retained by Jerry Kill, becoming the recruiting coordinator as well. Greg Schiano hired him at Rutgers in the same capacity in 2010. In 2012, Dave Doeren hired him back as NIU's offensive coordinator. One day later, he quit to become the WR coach of Schiano's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If you want to row the boat and have a stadium DJ replace your marching band, PJ Fleck is the man for you.
Likely destination: Illinois.
19. Kirby Smart, DC #2 Alabama: 10-1. Last week: NR
The 39-year-old Smart has been a hot name for years, having coached under Mark Richt, Bobby Bowden and Nick Saban, both in college and the NFL. Smart has been the defensive coordinator for the Tide since 2008 and has won two different national awards for being the best assistant coach (2009, 2012). Smart is the highest-paid defensive coordinator in college football.
Likely destination: An SEC team will back up several trucks of money to him. Considering Les Miles is going to be fired for not being Nick Saban, the whole South is obsessed with stealing Saban's mojo and many have theorized Smart is one way to do it.
20. Brent Venables, DC #1 Clemson: 11-0. Last week: NR
The 44-year-old Venables makes his debut on this list in an attempt to make it a little more comprehensive in its final iteration. Started in coaching under Bill Snyder at KSU, then served as an assistant under Bob Stoops for 13 seasons. Was the defensive coordinator from 2004 until the ill-fated 2011 season when he became known on Sooner message boards as Brent Vulnerables after Trollin' Tommy Tuberville's Texas Tech Team (T6) hung 41 points on Oklahoma for their first home loss since 2005. Hired immediately by Dabo Swinney at Clemson, where he ironically held Oklahoma to six garbage-time points in last year's Russel Athletic Bowl.
Likely destination: Could very well go to Kansas State if Bill Snyder
21. Willie Taggart, HC South Florida: 7-4. Last time: NR
After beating East Carolina, Temple and Cincinnati, South Florida caught my attention. Taggart is in his third year after three years at Western Kentucky. At WKU, he led the Hilltoppers from a 2-10 season in 2010 to back-to-back 7-5 seasons and produced NFL runningbacks Bobby Rainey and Antonio Andrews, who each recorded over 2000 yards from scrimmage in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Taggart was hired by USF just as the Big East morphed into the American and tasked with rebuilding a program that suffered mightily under the mismanagement of Skip Holtz. After 6 wins in 2 years, this appears to be the year Taggart breaks through to winning at South Florida. The 39-year-old Taggart had his jersey retired at Western Kentucky. He was recruited by JIM HARBAUGH at WKU. True story. Jack Harbaugh was the coach. He was the runningback coach at Stanford during Toby Gerhart's Doak Walker Award winning season. Taggart was also a recruiting coordinator under Harbaugh at Stanford.
Likely destination: I feel like he'll stay at USF for now, but maybe not much longer.
22. Lance Leipold, HC Buffalo: 5-6 Last time: 13 (-9)
The first year of Leipold's transition from D3 football to the MAC has gone well enough to justify his hiring. Despite a 42-21 loss at Akron, Leipold just needs a home win against UMass to go bowling in his very first year.
Likely destination: Probably Buffalo.
23. Bob Stitt, HC Montana: 7-4. Last time: 14 (-9)
The Griz have rebounded nicely from a 1-2 start to break into the FCS playoffs with a win at rival Montana State. An impressive 6-2 conference mark puts them behind only Southern Utah and Portland State in the Big Sky. Bearing in mind that Portland State has a win at #20 Washington State, this is nothing to sneeze at. Montana will host South Dakota State in the first round of the FCS playoffs. The 51-year-old Stitt is in his first year at Montana after fifteen seasons at D2 Colorado School of Mines, where he gained some recognition after Dana Holgorsen credited his offense as an inspiration to his own Mountaineers offense that hung 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Likely destination: Realistically, he'll stay at Montana this year.
24. Bo Pellllllini, HC Youngstown State: 5-6. Last time: 15 (-9)
Well, Nebraska fans, it finally happened. Bo Pellllllini picked up a fifth loss, and then a sixth. His season ends, and he now has the same record as Mike Rilllllley. But if you think it wouldn't have been quite as heartbreaking this year...Youngstown State lost on a field goal as time expired.
Likely destination: Iowa State?
25. Trollin' Tommy Tuberville, HC Cincinnati: 6-5
The 61-year-old expert troll is 6-5 at Cincinnati while dealing with some major offensive injuries. The only coach in Auburn history to beat Alabama six times in a row, Tuberville is in his third year at Cincinnati after abruptly leaving Texas Tech. He apologized to Cincinnati fans for a "disaster" 65-27 loss at USF this week.
Likely destination: Cincinnati. You never know though.
26. Greg Schiano, former Rutgers head coach
The man who built Rutgers into a somewhat relevant Big East program and in all likelihood is responsible for it being relevant enough to join the Big Ten remains unemployed after being fired from the Buccaneers after the team fell apart in 2013. His NFL tenure was a disaster where he lost the locker room, but he is a legend at Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers, and at just 49, he is probably itching to get back in the game.
Likely destination: Rutgers or bust
27. Dave Aranda, DC Wisconsin: 8-3
Aranda has been a terrific defensive coordinator for Wisconsin after following Gary Andersen there from Utah State. He stuck around for the Paul Chryst era and has coached in California, Texas, Mississippi, Utah and Hawaii. I don't know a whole lot about him, but Wisconsin fans want me not to list him on here, so I'll list him on here.
Likely destination: Hawai'i needs a coach badly.
28. Lincoln Riley, OC #4 Oklahoma: 10-1
The 32-year-old Riley has been a hot name for a couple years. He coached under Mike Leach at Texas Tech before becoming the OC at East Carolina. Bob Stoops snatched him up for 2015 to be the OC and QB coach at Oklahoma. His high-powered offenses at ECU attracted plenty of attention, but I'd like to see head coaching experience or some recruiting cred first. This is definitely going to be a name to watch though.
Likely destination: Probably stays at Oklahoma.
29. Al Golden, former Miami coach.
Fired in year five at Miami after a 58-0 loss to Clemson, the impeccably-dressed Golden is looking to rebound. He led Temple out of the wilderness to a MAC East title in 2009 before being hired at Miami. Unfortunately, his best season with the Canes was a 9-4 mark in 2013. Was not quite ready for the big time, but was a very successful defensive coordinator at Virginia and may very well make it back to the Power 5.
Likely destination: A mid-major may be a good route.
30. Bill Cubit, Illinois interim HC: 5-6, 2-5 against the Big Ten.
Saturday proved once and for all that Tim Beckman's coaching staff was not going to be competent enough to reach the upper echelon of the Big Ten. The 62-year-old Cubit was 51-47 in seven years at Western Michigan, going 0-3 in bowl games and never winning the division. Cubit's coaching cost Illinois the game on Saturday, and even a win against Northwestern won't get him the permanent gig.
Likely destination: Ohio State offensive coordinator
31. Jim Leavitt, DC Colorado: 4-8
The man who built South Florida football from nonexistent to FCS to FBS independent all the way to #2 in the AP poll in the Big East. Finished with a 95-57 record in 13 years at South Florida.
Likely destination: Not Illinois
32. Gene Chizik, DC #11 North Carolina: 10-1
This extremely prominent chin is the defensive coordinator for a surprising North Carolina team. In the coaching game since 1986, the 53-year-old Chizik somehow landed a job at Auburn after going 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State. Outbid Dan Mullen for Cam Newton and won the national title at 14-0, and somehow managed to be fired 2 years later for going 3-9 and winless in SEC play. The worst coach ever to win a national title.
Likely destination: Maryland
33. Ron Zook, Special Teams coach, Green Bay Packers: 7-3
34. Mark Mangino, former Iowa State offensive coordinator.
Led Kansas to a 12-1 season and an Orange Bowl win; lost a lot of weight
Likely destination: Also not Illinois
35. Ron Turner, HC FIU: 5-7
In true Ron Turner fashion, Ron had FIU at 5-5 needing a win in the last two games to go to his first bowl game since leading Illinois to the Sugar Bowl in 2002. FIU was outscored 115-7 in those two games.
36. Brady Hoke, college football pundit
Wouldn't have punted against MSU.
Likely destination: Not Illinois
37. Will Muschamp, DC Auburn: 6-5
Really wants to go somewhere.
38. Paul Rhoads, former Iowa State head coach
32-54 in most of 7 seasons at Iowa State. Beat Oklahoma State one time. That was cool.
Likely destination: Iowa
39. Mike Locksley, Maryland interim HC: 0-5
Likely destination: Ohio State will hire him as a recruiting coordinator. Your team should, but totally won't.
40. Scott Shafer, former Syracuse coach
13-23 in three seasons. Not sure how he got that gig in the first place. Has ties to everywhere. Probably being unfair to him. Whatever. This list is long.
41. Tim Brewster, tight end coach #14 Florida State: 9-2.
How the hell did Minnesota manage to buy him out for only $600K?
42. Charlie Weis, former Notre Dame/Kansas HC
Likely destination: Living the dream
43. Football declared illegal nationwide
44. Lane Kiffin
45. Tim Beckman
Available Jobs (FBS):
Power 5 Jobs:
- Illinois (Tim Beckman fired)
- Maryland (Randy Edsall fired)
MinnesotaRetiring Jerry Kill replaced by Tracy Claeys
- USC (Steve Sarkisian fired)
- South Carolina (Steve Spurrier retired midseason)
- Miami (Al Golden fired)
- Virginia Tech (Frank Beamer to retire)
- Missouri (Gary Pinkel to retire)
- Syracuse (Scott Shafer fired)
- Iowa State (Paul Rhoads fired)
Other FBS Jobs:
- Hawaii (Norm Chow fired)
- North Texas (Dan McCarney fired)
- UCF (George O'Leary resigned)
- Louisiana-Monroe (Todd Berry fired)
Jobs With Potential/Rumored Availability:
Power 5 Jobs:
- Virginia (Mike London 5-7 last year, 3-7 this year, 26-45 in year 6)
- Rutgers (Kyle Flood 8-5 last year, 3-8 this year, 25-22 in year 4, very very bad at discreetly greasing professors)
- Auburn (Gus Malzahn 8-5 last year, 5-5 this year, 25-12 in year 3. They moved pretty fast on Gene Chizik...)
- LSU (Les Miles is 7-3, sound the alarms)
- Mississippi State
- Colorado (Mike MacIntyre 2-10 last year, 4-7 this year, 10-25 in year 3. However, 4 wins at Colorado can be interpreted as progress)
- Georgia Tech (Paul Johnson 11-3 last year, 3-6 this year, 61-41 in year 8...but he won 11 games last year)
- Texas (Charlie Strong 6-7 last year, 4-6 this year, 10-13 in year 2, Texas changed AD's during this football season...but they beat Oklahoma)
- Purdue (Darrell Hazell 3-9 last year, 2-9 this year, 6-29 in year 3...people seem to believe the administration won't move on)
- Kansas State (Bill Snyder is seventy-six years old.)
- Boston College (Steve Addazio 7-6 last year, 3-8 this year, 17-20 in year 3)
Other FBS Jobs:
- Kent State (Paul Haynes 2-9 last year, 3-8 this year, 9-25 in year 3)
- Tulane (Curtis Johnson 3-9 last year, 3-8 this year, 15-33 in year 4)