Last Monday, the annual shuffle of head coaches across the country kicked off with Memphis’ firing of Tommy West. Before the nameplates are officially scratched off the doors, here is a look of who is likely on their way out (via firing/retirement), and the most likely replacement.
Virginia- Out: Al Groh, In: Mike London (Head Coach, Richmond)
· Groh is all but gone already; nine seasons at Virginia and he finally has bottomed out. London is a former assistant who is having loads of success at Richmond, winning the FCS national championship last season, and the Spiders are the favorites to win it all again. London is a disciplinarian, but a spectacular recruiter. He was the biggest reason the Cavaliers landed some of their best talent over the last decade. His return to Charlottesville would undoubtedly bring more success than Groh’s tenure.
Florida State- Out: Bobby Bowden, In: Jimbo Fisher (Current offensive coordinator)*
· Bowden needs to go. His mind-blowing postgame interview following the Clemson game, where he needed to be reminded of several key points in the game, shows he is past his time. Fisher is the coach-in-waiting, and if he doesn’t get promoted soon, he may bolt the slowly declining program.
Maryland – Out: Ralph Friedgen, In: James Franklin (Curent offensive coordinator)*
· This program is just a mess in general, but Friedgen’s failures have to be taking a toll, and with an already-named successor in Franklin, the entire Terrapin community senses the time for change have come. Simple as that.
Colorado – Out: Dan Hawkins, In: Mike Shanahan (Former Denver Broncos head coach)
· This is the biggest reach, but Shanahan would clearly have name-brand recognition throughout the state of Colorado and surrounding area. Recruiting would not be an issue. He has not indicated a dying desire to return to the NFL, and he would treated as royalty in Boulder. If the Buffaloes landed him, it would be a huge step for their program.
Louisville – Out: Steve Kragthorpe, In: Gus Malzahn (Offensive coordinator, Auburn)
· Kragthorpe never made it at Louisville, and the Cardinals must now lick their wounds and move on. Malzahn is the fastest rising offensive genius in the country. It is he who is primarily responsible for bringing the wildcat offense to college football. He has been at three schools in three years as their offensive coordinator, but should he land this job, it would be a huge leap for a guy who was coaching high school ball in Arkansas four years ago.
Michigan – Out: Rich Rodriguez, In: Brian Kelly (Head Coach, Cincinnati)
· Kelly is a winner, from Grand Valley State in Division II to Central Michigan to Cincinnati; Kelly has turned each program he’s been to into the dominant team of the conference. He has never left the Midwest, and is currently recruiting kids to the Bearcats better than Rodriguez is to Michigan. Given the Wolverines facilities and budget, Kelly would turn Michigan into a top-five program very quickly. The Wolverines need to put out this Rich Rodriguez fire before it burns out of control.
Memphis – Out: Tommy West, In: Charlie Strong (Defensive Coordinator, Florida)
· Strong is an established defensive genius, excellent recruiter in the southeast, and has been pushed for head jobs in recent years. His charisma would fit perfectly in Memphis, and would undoubtedly change the landscape of Conference USA as its head coach.
Notre Dame – Out: Charlie Weis, In: Chris Petersen (Head Coach, Boise State)
· Peterson is one of the more underrated coaches in America. He has taken Dan Hawkins’s juggernaut at Boise State and made them invincible. Peterson is the next Urban Meyer, in terms of his offensive creativity and his demand for excellence. He is a perfect fit at Notre Dame, and would surely love the opportunity to bank off of his success at Boise; he has nothing left to accomplish there, and this year’s undefeated season that may not even result in a BCS bowl is proof.