Whether you are a coach on the rise, or a coach on the hot seat, we are getting very close to the college offseason which will bring some big changes. Which coaches are bound to move to more prestigious (or NFL) jobs, and which coaches will be on the cast of 'The Experts' next year? 

The Hot Seat

Gene Chizik, Auburn FIRED

It is hard to imagine a coach who won a title two years ago getting fired, but he won that title with another guy's players. If you take out that one great year he has two 8-5 seasons and a 2-8 season (currently). He could be on his way out.

Some people think this was unwarranted, but you can't win only three games with that much talent around you. Of course I'm a fan of Charlie Strong and Mark Stoops as candidates here defensively, but it would be hard to not see Gus Malzahn come back to a team he won a title with very recently. A very slight dark horse would be to bring back Tommy Tuberville as well.
HIRED: Gus Malzahn (former Arkansas State coach)

No shocker here. Auburn hired the guy that actually won a championship for the Tigers a few years ago. It isn't a sexy big name coach, but I think the team will have a very easy transition going forward.

John L. Smith, Arkansas FIRED

John L. Smith has been a coaching name for awhile, but he really wasn't able to do anything special with a very talented Arkansas team. He would need a solid finish or a lack of coaching talent to remain the coach. 

No shocker here. Typical candidates swirl around, plus some randoms like Jon Gruden and Chris Peterson, but the one that REALLY intrigues me would Jimmie Johnson. It won't happen, but he is an Arkansas guy with a history of winning about everywhere he went. The other one that REALLY intrigues me would be a guy like Mike Belloti who set Oregon up really well before handing it to Chip Kelly.

HIRED: Brett Bielema (former Wisconsin coach)

Wow, I did not see that one happening. Bielema goes from a strong situation in Wisconsin where he can compete for a Big Ten Title every season to having to find a way to beat the best teams in the country. I like the hire from a coaching quality aspect, and it might even be a good enough hire to win titles, but something just doesn't feel right. It almost feels like Mario Batali opening up a Korean restaurant. 

Joker Phillips, Kentucky FIRED

Joker Phillips just has not been able to get anything going, and unfortunately he might be outed as coach. It won't be easy to get rid of a guy that has held about every single coaching spot on this Kentucky team, but they might have to pull the trigger.

Kentucky really should go out and get a big name guy, but I just don't see it. Keep an eye on Willie Taggart who has done well with Western Kentucky or Sonny Dykes from Louisiana Tech. Also don't be scared to see an oddball like Ralph Friedgen.

HIRED: Mark Stoops (former Florida State defensive coordinator)

I thought that there would be a good chance that Mark Stoops would get hired somewhere, but I think he settled a bit too early for a Kentucky team that just won't have the same talent pool as FSU. He will coach them up well, but I see this hire turning out about as well as his brother's (Mike Stoops) tenure at Arizona. Awesome hire for Kentucky, but I just don't know if Mark will be successful. 

Derek Dooley, Tennessee FIRED

Dooley is a guy that will need a lot of help to keep his job. He has been able to put together a pretty competitive offense in the SEC, but he just doesn't have the defensive talent to win games. 

My early speculation for candidates would be Charlie Strong from Louisville who might move to a bigger name location. He has SEC ties, and has been a great coach. Don't leave out Kirby Smart from Arkansas and David Cutliffe (former UT OC) from Duke. Oh and maybe they go really hard for Jon Gruden who has ties there, or for Bobby Petrino who just wins. 

What about Dabo Swinney? He is a recruiting master who brings nasty talent to a top-3 team in the ACC. Imagine what he could do with SEC ties? Finally look for the biggest dark horse to be Tee Martin. He is a UT grad who is a very good WR (and QB obviously) coach. I'm not sold that he will end up the head coach, but don't be shocked if he is an offensive coordinator very soon.

HIRED: Butch Davis, former Cincinnati coach

I'm ok with the decision, but I really don't think it is the right one. But I guess when you have to settle for your 14th pick you can't complain. Butch Jones is a fine coach, but I do wish I could see him win a conference championship (and with guys that he has recruited). 

HIRED: Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech

This is weird. Tuberville took a step back in terms of team prestige, but he really never liked it at Texas Tech. Maybe he knows that Cincinnati has cranked out the Notre Dame and the Tennessee jobs in the last few years.
Jeff Tedford, California FIRED

In a conference that is on the rise Tedford's Bears are on the decline. If medals were handed out for creating NFL studs on offense then Tedford would have a lot of gold, but he just hasn't been relevant in the Pac-12 for awhile. It is hard to think that he would be on his way out, but watch out.

I told you to watch out. Tedford will either work his way back up or he will retire, but his contributions to talent were amazing. I've heard Willie Taggart's name here, but don't love it. I've heard Ron Rivera (although I doubt it times out ok) and both of the UOregon coordinators. Chris Peterson would be a dream, but he's not leaving Boise to build a team.

I like three guys here. Possibly Hue Jackson who has H.C experience and Cal ties. I wouldn't count out Mike Belloti (formally from UOregon) for any Pac-12 gig, and possibly Jack Del Rio.

HIRED: Sonny Dykes, LA Tech coach

I actually like this pick a lot. Dykes did a ton with very little for his former team, and he knows how to build a team. He also is surprisingly well kept up with recruits in the West (remember that LA Tech is in the WAC). It's going to be tough to win the Pac-12, but I think he could build a team with the ability to compete.

HIRED: LA Tech quickly hired Skip Holtz after he was fired from USF. I really like Holtz as a coach, and look for him to build a contending team.

Danny Hope, Purdue FIRED

Hope is a guy that is a tremendous coach, but that just hasn't translated into wins yet for the Boilermakers.

I really do like Hope as a coach. He can lead a team very well, but he just isn't good enough to rally a team from football's rock bottom. Purdue has to be more patient unless they want to pay Big-Ten coach cash. I think Dave Doeren is the a near shoe-in for the gig after leading NIU to an 11-1 season. Look for other good MAC coaches out there too.

HIRED: Darrell Hazell (fomer Kent State coach)

Purdue hired a pretty darn good MAC coach in Hazell. I don't quite know if Hazell will have what it takes to turn around a terrible Purdue team that should have kept Hope after getting a bowl bid, but Hazell has a lot of potential.


Who will Wisconsin hire? They missed on Doeren and Paul Chryst is staying at Pitt. They could go with Alvarez's coaching tree, or with any of the hot commodities on the lists. Don't count out other randoms either like Mike Stoops, Jim Tressel or Pat Fitzgerald. But my two candidates?  Bill Callahan and Brad Childress. Both are in the Alvarez coaching tree, and both could leave their NFL coordinator gigs to become the Badger head coach.

Frank Spaziani, BC

-> I see a coordinator here that will come cheap enough. Possibly Bob Dianco from Notre Dame. 

HIRED: BC grabbed up a Big East coach here... In former Temple coach Steve Addazio

 Jon Embree, Colorado

-> I would highly expect Mike Belloti here to be a candidate. I could also see Jeff Tedford take the F-U approach by going here too, but the team might take a cheaper option too.

HIRED: The team grabbed Mike McIntyre who completely rebuilt a San Jose State team very quickly.

Tom O'Brien, NC State

-> NC State wants James Franklin from Vandy, but why would he leave a developing SEC team to go to a top-5 ACC team? The guy to actually look for here is Chad Morris who has developed an interesting offense for Clemson.

HIRED: Dave Doeren (Former NIU coach)

Want a lesson in time management? Sometimes you have to watch your time and wait for your time to strike. The game of football isn't about scoring the easy points, and you must always weigh your options. What does this have to do with anything? Well it took about Dave Doeren three seconds to accept the NC State gig just hours after getting a terrible BCS bid. But soon after Wisconsin had their job open up which would have been the dream job for the former Badger defensive coordinator.

Skip Holtz, USF

I actually like Skip Holtz because of what he did for ECU a few years ago, but he just couldn't put it together for USF. I think he could be a great coach with the right program though.

HIRED: Willie Taggart got gobbled up out of Western Kentucky where he did wonders. I love this hire a lot.

HIRED: Bobby Petrino was hired to Western Kentucky which will be his stop gap school until a bigger college calls.
Hot Commodities


I have been raving about Strong for awhile now, and it is great to see what he has done for this Louisville program. He is a top notch recruiter, and a great developer of talent. A major program (Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn) might be calling.

Bill O'Brien, Penn State

I don't think he will leave the school, but he has done such a good job with the Nittany Lions that he might gets some attention nationally.

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Fitzgerald hasn't had an elite season with the Wildcats, but he has done a ton with little talent on his side. Eventually he may look for a major program job.

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

There is no way in hell that Brian Kelly leaves for another college gig, but I could see an NFL team go for him hard this offseason.

Bill Blankenship, Tulsa

It is hard to imagine Blankenship leaving the team that he played for, but he might end up being a very hot commodity sooner than later.

Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois (HIRED TO NC STATE)

Doeren is going to soon be a huge commodity. He is 20-4 as the head coach, and is on his way to a possible conference championship. 

--> NIU hired their offensive coordinator Rod Carey to coach about three seconds after Doeren left.

Chip Kelly, Oregon

Chip Kelly is another guy that won't go anywhere else in college, but he was almost pulled to the pros last year. If a team offers enough money, and if they give him full control of the offense then he might move forward. 

1) Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

Ferentz is a strange situation. He is constantly rumored to go to the NFL or to a major college program, and his biggest supporters of him leaving Iowa are his fans. He is the 6th highest paid coach in football, and has an average of a 7-5 season for his career. He has two BCS appearances, and four 10+ win seasons, which are great for someone making half his salary. But after the 4-8 season fans are finally calling for his head. Unfortunately though, the team owes him too much money to get rid of him, and fans are hoping for him to grab an NFL gig.

2) Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

What's kind of funny is that Stoops was actually the first pick to take the Iowa job before he went to Oklahoma. Fans don't want to see him go, and he doesn't really want to leave, but he has gotten to the point where a 10-win season just isn't good enough. He might take an NFL gig if it were thrown his way.