Below are my projections of where 23 college football coaches will land next season. Keep in mind these picks are well before we know for sure who gets fired, who retires, and who leaves for other openings. There is still four weeks left in the regular season, plus there are conference championships and bowl games, but here is my best shot at where all the coaches will end up landing, in alphabetical order by school.
Some of these are pretty far-fetched scenarios, and some are downright crazy. Most of them are simply a guess, and some are just funny to think about. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy them, and maybe one or two will actually end up happening. Discuss your own thoughts in the comment section below.
Air Force: Ron Zook
Troy Calhoun takes Kansas State job after Bill Snyder wins BCS bowl and retires; Ron Zook leaves the CBS Sports Network to return to coaching.
Arkansas: Gus Malzahn
John L. Smith’s contract is not retained, and Malzahn leaves Arkansas St. to coach the Razorbacks.
Arkansas State: Gene Chizik
Gus Malzahn leaves for Arkansas, but recommends school to hire his old boss at Auburn, Gene Chizik (fired by Auburn).
Army: Skip Holtz
Holtz is fired at South Florida, but Army is attracted to the name-recognition and visibility that Dr. Lou’s son would give their program, and he is hired at West Point.
Auburn: Bobby Petrino
Gene Chizik is fired, Nick Saban wins another national title at Alabama, and Auburn feels pressured to make the controversial hire of Bobby Petrino.
Boston College: Steve Addazio
Frank Spaziani is fired; Steve Addazio leaves Temple, but stays in the northeast (originally from Connecticut) to coach at Boston College.
California: Brent Pease
Jeff Tedford resigns under pressure; Florida wins the SEC East, and Gators’ offensive coordinator Brent Pease is rewarded with a head-coaching job at Cal.
Cincinnati: Frank Solich
Frank Beamer retires after 26 years at Virginia Tech; Butch Jones leaves for Virginia Tech job, and Cincinnati hires its third-straight coach from the MAC by hiring Ohio’s Frank Solich.
Colorado: Jeff Tedford
Jeff Tedford resigns from California after 10 seasons, but stays in Pac-12 after accepting Colorado job.
Duke: Willie Taggart
David Cutcliffe takes Duke to the ACC Championship game, and gets a new offer somewhere else (keep reading). Duke then hires Willie Taggart from WKU, who knows a thing or two about winning with higher academic standards from his days at Stanford.
Indiana: John L. Smith
John L. Smith’s contract isn’t retained at Arkansas, but the poor guy still needs money to pay off debt and goes back to the Big Ten to take the dreaded Indiana job.
Kansas State: Troy Calhoun
As mentioned earlier, Bill Snyder ends his career with a BCS bowl win and decides to retire; Kansas State hires Troy Calhoun from Air Force.
Kentucky: David Cutcliffe
The hire may not be the sexiest, but Cutcliffe has won in the SEC before and now he’s won at a basketball school in which fans have much less football interest than even Kentucky. The fit makes sense, and it is reasonably likely to happen. Why would he leave current situation for UK? Duke isn’t getting any better than they are now. Kentucky at its best (possibly Brooks era), is still a lot better than Duke at its best (right now). The fan support is also much better at UK, if you simply win 6+ games a year.
Louisiana-Lafayette: Paul Petrino
Bobby’s brother has kept the Razorbacks offense going this season, but the defense has been pitiful; Paul gets promotion at Louisiana-Lafayette and brings most of Arkansas staff with him.
Louisiana Tech: Derek Dooley
Derek Dooley goes back to where he came from before short stint at Tennessee; if not here, it’s likely he ends up somewhere else back in the Sun Belt, where he’s had success before.
Mississippi State: Sonny Dykes
Dan Mullen leaves for bigger paycheck at higher-profile SEC East school, and Mississippi State hires Sonny Dykes from Louisiana Tech.
Ohio: Jim Tressel
Ohio University appeals to NCAA to hire state-legend Jim Tressel as Bobcats coach; OU wins appeal and waits patiently while Tressel sits out NCAA mandated 5 games.
South Florida: John Gruden
John Gruden leaves ESPN for vacant USF job; Gruden returns to the city and stadium where he once coached the NFL’s Buccaneers.
Tennessee: Dan Mullen
Tennessee fires Derek Dooley and doesn’t go the same route of hiring up-and-coming, smaller conference coach, and makes Dan Mullen one of the highest-paid coaches in the country.
Texas: Kirby Smart
Mack Brown pressured into retirement and Texas hires Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart after Crimson Tide win second-consecutive crystal ball.
Virginia: Mark Hudspeth
Virginia fires Mike London and hires Mark Hudspeth from Louisiana-Lafayette.
Virginia Tech: Butch Jones
Frank Beamer retires after 26 years at Virginia Tech, and the Hokies hire Butch Jones from Cincinnati, who defeated Virginia Tech earlier this season.
Western Kentucky: Joker Phillips
Willie Taggart leaves and Joker Phillips takes another job in the state, just 20 minutes away from his hometown of Franklin, KY, after being let go or “resigning” from Kentucky. Injuries and youth aren’t enough to save Joker’s job at UK, but they may be enough to convince AD’s at a Sun Belt or other smaller conference school that he can have success as a head coach in a better conference situation (not in the SEC).