HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – With the end of college football season in sight (please don’t go boo I love you) there will be plenty of college teams making a change at the top and plenty of fans hoping this is finally the hire. On “In the Loop”, weekdays 10am-2pm, John Lopez and I both face the prospect of rooting for a new head man in 2018.
We know others share our peril.
It is with honor we present the “2017 In the Loop Coaching Hot List”
Each entry will have the coach a little info and why you should or shouldn’t hire them.
Without further ado, here is our list. Each coach’s name is a link to his Wikipedia page. There is also a name with the face. (Head coach at his program unless otherwise noted)
James Franklin – Penn State
A big fish who has rebuffed any sort of rumor around his job. Amazing success and recruiting at Penn State so far but a small measure of coming up short of the big time in recent years. While Franklin has done wonders at Penn State stealing him away may be near impossible unless the money is enormous. Getting in the room, and failing, would mean other coaches know you have money to spare.
Gary Patterson – TCU
One of the most consistent coaches in the nation. Has been doing more with less for years and a larger school could showcase his ability even more. He has never shown the desire to leave though and could he hold up without the underdog mentality he has made a living off of?
Jimbo Fisher – Florida State
Jimbo Fisher is here only if he wants to reset his coaching clock, get a raise, and challenge himself. Florida State fell apart this year for a multitude of reasons out of his control but the success with Jameis Winston from a few years ago feels so far away. Fisher could name his price at plenty of schools but ruling the roost in the ACC isn’t eactly the SEC or Big Ten.
Justin Fuente – Virginia Tech
Seven wins in two years at Memphis shouldn’t and wouldn’t blow anyone away but 19 in the next two at Memphis landed him the Hokies gig. With back-to-back double-digit win seasons likely could an SEC school come calling with big money to lure him away? The knock would be the expectations weren’t exactly huge at either of his stops so his success, though real, has appeared grander than you would think.
Frank Wilson – UTSA
One of the ace recruiters in the highpoint of LSU’s success and if you believe the rumors the “real” coach for the Tigers during Les Miles tenure. Don’t let the W-L record fool you, he’s one of the best coaches and recruiters in football. He best fits in the SEC and the closer to Louisana, where he is from, played, and coached, the better. He’s a homerun waiting to happen. Sometimes though, ace recruiters have trouble translating topflight talent into tangible success.
Les Miles – Unemployed
He’s old. He’s eccentric. He’s successful. He’s fun. He’s likely got one last ride in him. He could have had some middle of the road job immediately after his firing but gathering his senses and taking a breather for a year might be the rest or reset he needs. He may not be right for a big job, but with proper expectations and a knowledge the success won’t be immediate he could settle nicely.
Bob Stoops – Retired
He’s the best coach available. If he is available. There probably aren’t any jobs he would want after just a few months off but you never know if the right dollar amount can get him off the couch. There would be coaches dying to get on his staff. He’s still a huge name. If you have to convince a guy out of retirement do you truly want him though?
Gary Kubiak – Retired
Probably a short-term solution and the places he would accept coaching are limited. He will likely have NFL opportunities should he actually come back to coaching.
Chip Kelly – Unemployed
Kelly isn’t the most dynamic personality but even during his failures, the coaching talent is praised. He will revolutionize an offense and you have to think the staff and he could recruit to their new home. Something to remember for Kelly, his success at Oregon early was because he took over an already built program that had 19 wins in two years.
Dino Babers – Syracuse
He has already matched 2016’s win total and he has the best upset in college football this season. The record isn’t remarkable at all Syracuse but his prior two stops both were a huge success. The football team just looks better under him. The recruiting in a big job would be a question for me but if he gets the players they’re going to beat up on someone.
Dan Mullen – Mississippi State
Despite a brand new extension earlier this year if another SEC school came calling, Florida for example, Mullen may jump for a fresh look on his coaching life. Big money could make it work as well, looking at you Texas A&M, but is Mullen, a guy with variable levels of SEC success, settling?
Lane Kiffin – Florida Atlantic
He’s a wildcard but he can coach. After failing to find himself a notable gig he’s retreated to FAU where he has a shot to win the C-USA. He’s obviously a talent but can you trust him to keep it together for more than one year?
Scott Frost – Central Florida
He’s a young and successful coach who after coaching at Oregon landed the UCF job where he took a winless team to 6 wins and seems well on his way to a New Year’s Six bowl game. The one concern would be if he’s so connected to Florida as people believe would he even be worth pursuing and it isn’t like his Oregon success was all him. He had Marcus Mariota.
Seth Littrell – North Texas
Lane Kiffin’s main competition for the C-USA title has the Mean Green rolling. After being a big success at North Carolina his time back in Texas, where he is close to his home and alma mater Oklahoma and Texas Tech where he was the running backs coach, has been successful. Making the most of UNT’s meager setup is nice but his age, just 39, and lack of experience might have many schools thinking he is a year away.
Matt Campbell – Iowa State
Big 12 coaches would love for this guy to get hired somewhere else. Iowa State has annoyed everyone they have played this season and Campbell is the reason behind it. He was incredible at Toledo winning 70 percent of his games. Is this one year of success at Iowa State a fluke? Most would like to see some significant success over multiple years.
Neal Brown – Troy
Prying him away from Troy may be tough as he spent four years there before stops at Texas Tech and Kentucky. He’s had Big 12 and SEC experience but is he’s just 37 and could use some more seasoning before a big program fully trusts him.
Chad Morris – SMU
The SMU head coach has a tough task at his current job but there is no shortage of success on his resume. He recruited Deshaun Watson at Clemson while also coaching the Tigers offense. He has improved significantly at SMU each year and has deep high school football connections in Texas. He fits some jobs but not others and always having a wandering eye on his alma mater Texas A&M could scare some programs away.
Jeff Brohm – Purdue
Yes, the Purdue head coach. No, we aren’t crazy. Purdue has five wins to their credit in the two years before Purdue he got there. They are on track to pass that this year and have played almost every team on their schedule tough. The immediate improvement to that level makes him extremely attractive to any school who feels like they underachieved in 2017. The downside might be handling expectations after blowing Purdue’s expectations out of the water.
Todd Orlando – Texas (Defensive Coordinator)
The best coach in Austin. The Longhorns defense has been fantastic at times and better than expected the rest of the time. Carrying over his success from Houston he’s been one of the best coaches in the nation. The short timeline of success will be a tough sell for some and he may not have the ability to quickly put together a great staff but he is ready to take over for some team.
Joe Moorhead – Penn State (Offensive Coordinator)
His head coach is on this list but he may be the more attractive candidate, especially because he is attainable. One of the best offensive minds in the country authoring some of the most fun and exciting offense the past couple of years he seems ready to bring his creativity to your favorite school. His age, 44, and former head coaching experience, Fordham, will scare some off, but they’re silly. He’s a talent.
Matt Canada – LSU (Offensive Coordinator)
Widely respected in the coaching community despite being shown the door at NC State after 2015. He bounced back nicely at Pitt in 2016 and now runs the show for LSU. Familiarity with the SEC and being East most of his career makes him a tougher sell in the West but any northern or eastern school would be getting a well thought out offense. Can he recruit with confidence and put a staff together with his many one-year stops on his resume?
Dave Aranda – LSU (Defensive Coordinator)
Has been highly sought after for many years. After success at Utah State had a bevy of offers before Wisconsin landed him. After success with the Badgers, he found his way down to LSU. He has a really solid defensive system which has played well at all his stops against most opponents. He’s coached all over the nation and could fit anywhere. The concern would be most defensive coaches don’t excite or inspire unless they come with a stud offensive coordinator. Would Canada follow him to the next stop?
Brent Venables – Clemson (Defensive Coordinator)
This one is simple. Is it Dabo Swinney recruiting and him making elite talent fit or does he have a ton to do with Clemson bullying people on defense?
Jeremy Pruitt – Alabama (Defensive Coordinator)
Nick Saban has had plenty of coaches go on and succeed but he’s had some failures to his credit as well. Recent stops at Florida State, Georgia, and Alabama show he is worth the risk and look no further than the last defensive coordinator under Saban. Kirby Smart is destroying the non-Alabama part of the SEC, but, Smart had many years, not just two, under Saban.
Sonny Cumbie – TCU (Co-offensive Coordinator)
A former standout QB for Texas Tech, turned Texas Tech coach, turned TCU coach. He is in his fourth year at TCU working with the offense and the results have started to show. A Mike Leach coaching tree guy he will run a spread offense and he can recruit his tale off in Texas. Can he recruit outside of Texas? That would be my main concern with Cumbie.
Sonny Dykes – TCU (Offensive Analyst)
Unceremoniously shown the door at Cal after his commitment to the Golden Bears was questioned he now finds himself a helper on a talented offensive staff. He has a lot of head coaching experience and has been in Lousiana recruiting and California to go along with his Texas ties. I’m not sure there is a championship level of play with him but I feel as though the floor is pretty high. A middling program in the right year could surprise with him at the helm.
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