The college coaching carousel can start spinning now that we have word of our first major coaching change.
Will Muschamp is out at Florida, and Michigan coach Brady Hoke and Illinois coach Tim Beckman figure to be two of the next coaches out the door.
Sports Illustrated took a look at candidates to replace both of those Big Ten coaches in 2015.
Michigan: If anyone tells you they know who is getting the Michigan job, don’t believe them. Michigan doesn’t even know who will be firing Brady Hoke or hiring his replacement. Wolverines fans should be rooting for San Francisco to lose, as the 49ers missing the playoffs would perpetuate the notion that Jim Harbaugh could return to his alma mater. It’s still likely Harbaugh stays in the NFL (though probably not in San Francisco), but he’s such a wild card that even he has no idea what he’s going to do. There’s a chance at Michigan, but it’s a slim one. (A key factor is timing, as waiting for Harbaugh would kill the December recruiting period, which is a week shorter this year and ends on Dec. 15. That’s an integral period to shore up the 2015 class and perhaps even more critical for establishing the groundwork for 2016.)
Mullen could end up as the frontrunner here, as he’s the hottest coach. He would have to decide if he wants to leave the SEC. Greg Schiano had a long dance with Michigan while at Rutgers but ultimately turned down the job. He fits their profile for academics, recruiting and style of play. The wildcard name here is Al Golden. He’s on his third athletic director at Miami. Instead of praise from the fan base for enduring the Nevin Shapiro-induced NCAA nuclear winter, he has airplane flyovers calling for his dismissal and former Miami players ripping him on Twitter. His tie-on-the-sideline image would fly much better in Ann Arbor than in Coral Gables. But don’t forget, whoever is hired as athletic director at Michigan will change the whole dynamic.
Illinois: The end is inevitable for Tim Beckman, and his brutal tenure makes you wonder why Illinois administrators didn’t pull the plug earlier. In the era of expanded leagues, bad jobs like Illinois are now worse. The best thing Illinois has going for it is that it’s in the easier division of the Big Ten, away from Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State.
This could well end up as a coordinator hire, as the school went with the hot MAC coach and bombed last time. Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi is the obvious name. But would he rather stay at Michigan State to succeed Mark Dantonio? Marshall’s Doc Holliday has an undefeated team but hasn’t received much buzz. Could his proficiency at recruiting Florida help him land a job in the talent-starved Big Ten? First-year Bowling Green coach Dino Babers crushed it at Eastern Illinois, giving him some familiarity with the recruiting base. The recruiting momentum that Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck has created (see more below) could be intriguing.
Ohio State’s Tom Herman, Clemson’s Chad Morris, Baylor’s Philip Montgomery or Oregon’s Scott Frost could bring a shot of offensive adrenaline to a buzzless program. The tricky question here is whether agents will advise their clients to go to a place that’s been a career sinkhole for many coaches.
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