New College Football Head Coach Expectations 2022: Meet The First Year Coaches

College Football New Head Coaches: What are the expectations for all 29 going into 2022?

What are the reasonable expectations for all 29 new college football head coaches for 2022? What’s the goal for the next five seasons?


New College Football Head Coach Expectations 2022

Last season there were 17 head coaches taking over new jobs. This year there are a whopping 29.

To do this right, no, coaches like Brian Kelly and Lincoln Riley aren’t new, but they’re new to their respective schools. And then there’s Don Brown at UMass and Jeff Teford at Fresno State, who coached at their schools, left, and are now coming back.

What’s the expectation for each new college football coach this year? How about for five years from now?

CFN Predictions of Every Game
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN Preview 2021: All 131 Teams
2022 Bowl Projections | Preseason Rankings 1-131
Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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Don Brown, UMass

UMass Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule

Before This … The former UMass head coach from 2004 to 2008 became a top defensive coordinator at five difference schools, most notably Michigan.

Top Line of the Resumé: Led UMass to a 23-5 run over 2006 and 2007 with two Atlantic 10 championships and long runs in the D-IAA playoffs.

Realistic Expectations In Year One: Improve the D that gave up 517 points and get to three wins – UMass one one game last year..

Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Come up with two winning records and at least one trip to a bowl game.

Timmy Chang, Hawaii

Hawaii Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule

Before This … The former star Hawaii quarterback was a good assistant at Nevada since 2017 before getting his first job as a head coach.

Top Line of the Resumé: The NCAA’s all-time leading passer with 17,072 yards and 117 scores.

Realistic Expectations In Year One: Get Hawaii – 6-7 last season to a bowl game in a big rebuilding job.

Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Make the Rainbow Warrior offense amazing as he takes them to five bowl games and at least one Mountain West Championship appearance.

Mario Cristobal, Miami

Miami Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Before This … The former Miami offensive lineman was the head coach at FIU and later at Oregon, getting a reputation as an elite recruiter.

Top Line of the Resumé: Two Pac-12 Championships and a third appearance in four years at Oregon.

Realistic Expectations In Year One: At least eight wins and a solid bowl game – all while at least flirting with a spot in the ACC Championship.

Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Crank up the talent level, at least two ACC Championship appearances, one ACC title, and a College Football Playoff appearance.

Sonny Cumbie, Louisiana Tech

La Tech  Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule

Before This … A high-powered passer at Texas Tech, he went on to become a top offensive assistant at TCU and Texas Tech. He became the Red Raider interim head coach last season.

Top Line of the Resumé: Besides his 4,742-yard, 32 touchdown season for Texas Tech in 2004, he helped turn TCU into a Big 12 contender with the Air Raid offense taking over in the mid-2010s.

Realistic Expectations In Year One: Get Louisiana Tech past the three-win 2021 with a big-time passing game on the way to a bowl game.

Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: At least four bowl games with one Conference USA championship and another appearance.

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Michael Desormeaux, Louisiana

Louisiana Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule

Before This … The former Ragin’ Cajun star quarterback was a key assistant for the program over the last six years, serving as the offensive coordinator last season.

Top Line of the Resumé: The all-star quarterback for Louisiana threw for close to 3,300 yards with 23 touchdowns and ran for almost 2,200 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2007 and 2008.

Realistic Expectations In Year One: In a bit of a rebuilding year, win the Sun Belt championship anyway – or at least get there.

Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Five bowl appearances, two Sun Belt championships, be a yearly conference contender.

Stan Drayton, Temple

Temple Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule

Before This … A career assistant coach – mostly for the running backs – at 13 different schools/teams, he was part of the Texas staff over five years after coaching for two seasons with the Chicago Bears.

Top Line of the Resumé: A three-time Division III All-America running back for Allegheny, he led the way to a national championship in 1990.

Realistic Expectations In Year One: At least four wins as the Owls build for the future, especially with the running game.

Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Three winning records and bowl appearances with one season as a conference contender.

Sonny Dykes, TCU

TCU Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Before This … Head coach at SMU going 30-18 in just over four seasons.

Top Line of the Resumé: Won the 2011 WAC championship at Louisiana Tech.

Realistic Expectations In Year One: At least seven wins and a bowl game as the offense shows signs of potential greatness.

Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Five bowl games and two Big 12 championship appearances thanks to a high-powered attack.

Mike Elko, Duke

Duke Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Before This … Defensive coordinator at Texas A&M for the last three seasons.

Top Line of the Resumé: Helped turn the Bowling Green defense into the sixth best in college football in 2012 and made the 2020 Texas A&M D the ninth best in the country.

Realistic Expectations In Year One: Instantly improve the Duke defense that allowed 477 points last year. Win four games.

Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Three winning seasons with bowl appearances, and a vastly improved defense.

NEXT: Tony Elliott, Marcus Freeman, Clay Helton, Brian Kelly, Jerry Kill, Dan Lanning, Rhett Lashlee

10 Best College Football Coaches ATS Coming Off A Bye Week

Which college football coaches do the best job ATS coming off a bye week?

Which college football coaches do the best job coming off a two week break? Which ones use the time to prepare well and get it done ATS?


Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @RichCirminiello

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There are riches in niches.

Take Jeff Scott, please.

He’s just 3-18 overall in his first two seasons as USF’s head coach. But give more than seven days to prepare and he’s 5-0 against the spread (ATS). The Bulls are off October 22nd before heading to Houston a week later.

Coaches who maximize bye weeks and long weeks consistently beat the number. Below are the 10 best, along with the week they’re all coming off a two-week break this season.

minimum 9 games 


10. Kyle Whittingham, Utah (since 2005)

ATS After a Bye: 19-11-2 (60%)
2022 Bye: Oct. 22 (at Washington State on Oct. 27)

Few coaches are better with extra time than Whittingham, who’s also 9-5 ATS in bowl games.
2022 Utah Schedule Analysis

9. Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan (since 2014)

ATS After a Bye: 9-5 (64%)
2022 Bye: Nov. 5 (at Akron on Nov. 8)

After this year’s bye week, the Eagles hit the road, where they’re 30-17-1 ATS under Creighton.
2022 Eastern Michigan Preview

T8. Jeff Brohm, Purdue (since 2017)

ATS After a Bye: 7-3 (70%)
2022 Bye: Oct. 29 (vs. Iowa on Nov. 5)

Brohm is also 19-8 ATS as an underdog, so the Boilermakers are an even more attractive play if they’re getting points from Iowa in Week 10.
2022 Purdue Preview

T8. P.J. Fleck, Minnesota (since 2017)

ATS After a Bye: 7-3 (70%)
2022 Bye: Oct. 8 (at Illinois on Oct. 15)

Fleck has consistently been one of the Big Ten’s top coaches ATS since leaving the MAC for Minnesota five years ago.
2022 Minnesota Preview

6. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt (since 2015)

ATS After a Bye: 10-4 (71%)
2022 Bye: Oct. 15 (at Louisville on Oct. 22)

Since Narduzzi’s arrival in 2015, Pitt also ranks No. 2 nationally ATS in road games at 26-10-1 (72%). The Panthers travel to Louisville after their Week 7 bye.
2022 Pitt Preview

5. Bill Clark, UAB (since 2014)

ATS After a Bye: 9-3-1 (75%)
2022 Bye: Sept. 24 (at Rice on Oct. 1)

Year-in and year-out, Clark has been the most profitable Conference USA coach for bettors.
2022 UTEP Schedule

4. Philip Montgomery, Tulsa (since 2015)

ATS After a Bye: 12-4 (75%)
2022 Bye: Oct. 15 (at Temple on Oct. 21)

A strong case can be made for Montgomery as the most underrated coach ATS over the last seven seasons.
2022 Tulsa Schedule

3. Dana Dimel, UTEP (since 2018)

ATS After a Bye: 7-2 (78%)
Games After Bye Week:: Oct. 15 (vs. FAU on Oct. 22) & Nov. 12 (vs. FIU on Nov. 19)

While Dimel is just 12-33 overall with the Miners, he’s been a great at getting his team to at least bring a fight with the extra preparation time.
2022 UTEP Schedule

2. Jay Norvell, Colorado State (2017-2021 at Nevada)

ATS After a Bye: 7-2-1 (78%)
Game After Bye Week:: Oct. 1 (at Nevada on Oct. 7)

Norvell’s first chance to improve his after-bye ATS mark will be back in Reno to face the program he coached for five seasons.
2022 Colorado State Preview

1. Dave Doeren, NC State (since 2013)

ATS After a Bye: 15-4 (79%)
Game After Bye Week: Oct. 22 (vs. Virginia Tech on Oct. 27)

With extra time to prepare no one has rewarded bettors more than Doeren, who could have his best Pack team yet this season.
2022 NC State Preview

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2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams

Michigan Coaching Candidates: 5 Possible Coaches If Michigan Really Is A Big Deal

If Jim Harbaugh takes the Minnesota Vikings head coaching job, here are 5 candidates Michigan should consider if it really is a big deal

If Jim Harbaugh takes the Minnesota Vikings head coaching job, here are 5 candidates Michigan should consider if it really is a big deal


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2022 College Football Schedules: All 130 Teams

Who’s got it better than us? Apparently the Minnesota Vikings

Jim Harbaugh likes to be wanted.

At the immediate moment he’s about to go through the final interview process with the Minnesota Vikings for their head coaching job.

Considering they’re not about to cede the power he might want, this is hardly a done deal. This is all based on one giant IF.

Cheerfully ignore all of this if and when the guy is back doing his thing back in the college ranks.

However, if Harbaugh really is gone to the NFL – which we’ve all been waiting for since the moment he took the Wolverine gig – Michigan needs to act the part with its coaching search. It needs to be thinking really big-or-bust.

Take a moment and realize what’s happening here. For all the slings and arrows thrown Jim Harbaugh’s way, if he’s gone, he’s the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. The guy really was pretty good – he never, ever got enough credit for winning 71% of his games in Ann Arbor.

So if he’s off, Michigan needs a coach who can take that next step up.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, beating Ohio State is nice, but Michigan needs to beat Alabama, or whatever the hot SEC team is in each of the next bazillion years.  Who’s that coach who can step in and win a national title?

Mike Hart? Maybe he’s the next Fielding Yost, but that’s a big risk to take on a guy with a running back coach resumé.

Matt Rhule? To be totally honest, I’ve never understood it. He did a great job turning around Baylor, but he’s always been a tad overloved and overappreciated by the coaching carousel community.

The guy had one very nice year with the Bears and parlayed that into the Carolina Panther gig. That’s going great.

Without looking or searching, I can just guess the retread-idea names being thrown out there if the Michigan job is available. They get used for every big coaching opening …

Let me take a flier … PJ Fleck, Matt Campbell, Luke Fickell.

Yeah, fine coaches all, but come on …

YOU’RE MICHIGAN.

You got away with kneecapping Harbaugh’s salary and getting him on the cheap, but let me put it to you this way.

Little Brother up the road gave its head coach $97 million for ten years partially because he beat you twice. You need to pay your head coach at least that much.

So start with this premise. If Michigan State has that kind of jack to give Mel Tucker – who seems like he’s building up things to a whole other level – then that’s your starting point.

You’re the Leaders and Best, or something like that, right? Well then ten years, $100 million. That’s the going rate now to land an elite college head man, and even that might not be enough.

You don’t want that Ohio State win to be a one-off? You want to be more than a speed-bump if you get back to the College Football Playoff?

Pay your head coach. Find THE guy, and go get him.

Here are five coaching candidates you need to at least consider, Michigan – if Harbaugh leaves, of course.

Warning: I’m looking very, very pie-in-the-sky big here.

NEXT: Michigan Coaching Candidates: 5 coaches it won’t get, but needs to give it a try

Head Coach Rankings: How Good Were All 76 This Bowl Season?

Head coach rankings from the 2021-2022 bowl season: who did the best jobs, and who struggled?

Which head coaches did the best jobs this bowl season, and which ones struggled? Here are all 76 head coaches this 2021-2022 bowl season ranked from who rocked and who didn’t.


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Head Coach Rankings: Bowl Season

Which head coaches and their staffs did the best jobs this bowl season, and which ones had a rough run?

Very, very loosely based on what the expectations were for each team, talent level, betting lines – at least a little bit – and which teams played above their heads and which ones sputtered, here’s our ranking of the jobs done by all 76 head coaches in the post-season.

Two key notes. 1) There isn’t any extra love or punishment for one bad decision – like a fourth down try that didn’t work, and 2) the interim head coaches were randomly thrown in here, but they all deserve a break from the scrutiny.

CFN Final Rankings | National Championship 5 Thoughts
Ranking Every Bowl | National Championship Game Notes
Bowl Season Coaching Rankings 
1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-76

76. Mack Brown, North Carolina

Duke’s Mayo Bowl
South Carolina 38, North Carolina 21
Brown’s double-digit favorite team didn’t have it …18-0. That was the score after the first quarter, and the Tar Heels couldn’t adjust to stop the run and get off the field. This was a good South Carolina team, but it wasn’t 543 yards of total offense good.

75. Deion Sanders, Jackson State

Cricket Celebration Bowl
South Carolina State 31, Jackson State 10
With all the momentum in the world after a big recruiting coup, and with all the national buzz and attention, Sanders’ Tiger team was a total dud. Amazing all year long, the Tigers weren’t even close, finishing with fewer than 200 yards of total offense, eight penalties, and three turnovers in an ugly loss.

74. Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Army 24, Missouri 22
Of course Missouri would’ve been a whole lot better had star RB Tyler Badie played, but the call of Brady Cook at quarterback almost worked. It was a great game against a well-coached team, but this is an SEC team with SEC talent that lost to a service academy. That’s not okay.

73. Jake Dickert, Washington State

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Central Michigan 24, Washington State 21
Washington State got to play a random MAC team to fill in after Miami tapped out. Maybe the Cougars weren’t focused, maybe they let their guard down, maybe a few missing parts made a difference as the team didn’t wake up until it was too late. Central Michigan turned it over twice, got flagged 11 times, and it still won after getting up 21-0 in the first half.

72. Mike Leach, Mississippi State

AutoZone Liberty Bowl,
Texas Tech 34, Mississippi State 7
Yeah, there were a whole lot of key opt-out losses – to be fair, the offensive tackle situation was a problem – but you’re an SEC team, Mississippi State. You don’t lose to Texas Tech 34-7 with the offense sputtering that poorly. You can’t have a brand that’s all about offense, and then struggle that much will plenty of time to prepare.

71. Scott Satterfield, Louisville

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Air Force 31, Louisville 28
The Cardinals had the offensive explosion, it had the Power Five/ACC talent, and it couldn’t hold up to the Air Force passing game? The offense worked well and it still wasn’t enough because the Air Force coaching staff’s game plan got the job done. Satterfield really needed this win, and he didn’t get it.

Bowl Season Coaching Rankings 
1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-76

NEXT: Head Coach Rankings: Bowl Season Top 70

Notre Dame Coaching Candidates: There’s No Option Too Crazy

Who are the 5 top candidates to take over the Notre Dame head coaching job? No option is off the table.

Brian Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU. Who are 5 possible candidates to take over the Irish job?


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Welcome to Notre Dame. Now do what the other guy couldn’t – win a national championship.

The Notre Dame head coaching gig is one of those jobs.

It’s like being the manager of the Yankees, or the head basketball coach at UCLA or Kentucky or North Carolina, or the host of The Tonight Show.

It’s the job that every coach would at least think about for a moment or three – even if it’s not realistic to take.

Every coach.

It’s the job that every coach knows would’ve made a teary-eyed Dad go (in full Ned Beatty voice), “Hey, you guys … my son’s going to coach at Notre Dame!”

No, Notre Dame hasn’t been able to land the biggest of coaching whales over the last several years for a variety of reasons – arrogance, low-ball offers, recruiting concerns – and it’s absolutely more about the name of the place than the reality of the program compared to other powerhouses, but it’s still Notre Dame.

And as Brian Kelly showed, you really can win and win big there.

Maybe it fills a lifelong dream for some coach to be the guy who restores the national championship glory. Maybe it’s a guy who grew up whistling the Notre Dame fight song.

Or maybe it’s because it appeals to the ego among the most egotistical guys on the planet.

It’s one of those jobs that has so much prestige and so much Notre Dameyness that there’s no coaching candidate who’s too wacky of a call.

Really, would you be totally shocked if Dabo Swinney was announced as the next Notre Dame head coach?

Honestly, if Mike Tomlin wanted the job, would you be any more stunned than you were when Lincoln Riley took his talents to USC instead of the NFL?

Urban Meyer could absolutely leave movies and go back to TV with the right offer.

My running actually-happened-anecdote that every giant program thinks it can get a Harbaugh, any Harbaugh, actually fits here.

If we lived in a right and just world, Lane Kiffin would take his train up to South Bend.

Or it could be Josh Heupel. Or it could be Bob Stoops. Or it could be Mark Stoops.

Really, does 70-year-old Pete Carroll seem like a guy who’s all that keen on spending the next few years rebuilding the Seattle Seahawks?

So by the time you’re reading this, some big name from somewhere that you’d never suspect will probably be the hot rumor.

However, knowing that the school could try going for an A-lister to keep up the arms race – (cough) USC (cough) – here are the five most likely main candidates for Notre Dame head coaching job.

NEXT: 5 Top Notre Dame Head Coaching Candidates

Lincoln Riley to USC, Billy Napier to Florida. GAME … ON …

USC hired Lincoln Riley and Florida hired Billy Napier, filling two of the big head coaching openings.

Lincoln Riley to take the open Oklahoma job, and Billy Napier will go to Florida. Now for both programs it’s Game On.


Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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Lincoln Riley takes USC head coaching job, Billy Napier to take the Florida job

Rankings AP | Coaches | CFN 1-130 Rankings

Two of the biggest college football head coaching questions were answered, but that just opens up more big jobs.

Forget Fight On at USC. It’s Game On with Lincoln Riley now about to be the highest-profile – and by a mile, the highest paid – head football coach in the city of Los Angeles.

The fan base wanted an A-lister of A-lister, and it just got it.

Here’s the guy who’s about to bring the high-octane offense, the resumé with four Big 12 championships in five seasons, four top six finishes, two Heisman Trophy winners and a finalist in Jalen Hurts, and three College Football Playoff appearances.

Now USC is a thing again. Not just because it’s USC, and not just because it’s supposed to be a Power Five conference. Now this ups the game in a huge way for recruiting, the overall profile of the football program, the conference, and what the Pac-12 is about to be.

It also says one very important thing – the prime SEC jobs aren’t quite what everyone thinks they are.

Of course the LSU job is huge, and of course the pressure is going to be National Title or Bust at USC, but the expectations are at a whole other level of insane in the SEC – you can never, ever, ever lose.

Who wants to beat their head against the SEC West wall when you can live life in the Pac-12 South?

Billy Napier wants to give it a try in the SEC East.

The Louisiana head coach was on every Next Coach Up list as the rising offensive coordinator coaching star at Arizona State before the head coaching job went to Herm Edwards.

Napier needed a head coaching job first, he guided Louisiana into a steadily-winning power in the Sun Belt with a national profile, and it became a question of just how big the jump up would be.

But now he has to win right away.

There’s not going to be any sort of a grace period at Florida.

Maybe a 9-3ish season is okay in Year One as long as the team looks like it’s about to be built up into a super-power again, but then it’s SEC Championship or Bust.

Dan Mullen got the team to the SEC title game. Jim McElwain got Florida there a few times. Napier now goes from battling with Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina for the Sun Belt title to needing to beat Georgia. Now.

Louisiana is a solid job at a program that’s a great stepping-stone gig. It’s going to attract a high-profile riser like Napier was. And now the Oklahoma gig is an A-list job opening, too.

It’s Oklahoma. It’s going to be in the SEC. It’s now as big of an opening – if not even stronger – than anything else that’s currently available.

It’ll have its pick of top coaches who’ll want to step into a turn-key situation and keep it all going.

But for now, Florida and USC have two of the best and hottest coaches in the game at two of the best and hottest programs when it comes to powerhouse potential.

Again, Game On.

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Rankings AP | Coaches | CFN 1-130 Rankings

College Football Coaches Hot Seat Top 10 Ranking After Week 11

Which college football coaches are on the hot seat? Which ones have to win now, or else, after Week 11?

Which coaches are on the hottest seats and under the most pressure after Week 11 of the college football season?


Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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Week 11 Roundup
Rankings AP | Coaches | CFN 1-130 Rankings
Week 12 Early Line Predictions | Heisman Race
College Football Playoff Chase, Who’s Alive?
Bowl Projections | Week 11 Scoreboard, Predictions
Big Game Reactions: Baylor, Mich, Ole Miss, more
Coach Hot Seat Top 10 | Bowl Bubble: Who’s In, Out

Washington head coach Jimmy Lake was just sacked.

Washington State’s Nick Rolovich was fired a few weeks ago under far different circumstances, Texas Tech was done with Matt Wells, USC’s Clay Helton has already been hired by Georgia Southern, TCU’s Gary Patterson was unceremoniously let go after a brilliant run, and Ed Orgeron went from owning the college football universe two years ago to playing out the string at LSU.

UConn, UMass, and Akron are starting over, too.

There’s zero patience at this point for college football head coaches who are struggling – heaven forbid if you lose a big November game if you’re already on a hot seat.

Here are ten that might not necessarily be fired with a loss or two, but the alumni and base won’t be pleased.

College Football Coaches Hot Seat Top 10

5. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech

It seems like he hasn’t left the hot seat over the last four seasons, and then, all of a sudden, he’s fine. This might be different.

After a losing season in 2020, the 3-1 start seemed promising with a strong defense and an offense that could just get by. A close loss to Notre Dame didn’t seem like that big a deal, but is was the start of a 2-3 run.

Now at 5-5, losing at Miami would put the pressure on to another level, and look out if Virginia Tech does the unthinkable and loses to Virginia for the second time in three seasons.

4. David Shaw, Stanford

The five-game losing streak has been beyond brutal. Stanford had a nice-looking team coming into the season, it was 3-2 following a shocking win over Oregon, and then it all fell apart to lock in a second losing season in three years. Losing to Cal this weekend would be a big problem.

3. David Cutcliffe, Duke

The guy’s an offensive coaching legend who’s been at Duke since 2008. He took the team to an ACC Championship appearance – yeah, Duke – in 2013, and everything was going fine through 2018.

Since starting out 4-2 in 2019, Duke has gone 6-21 and is now on a six-game losing streak following a 3-1 start. The Blue Devils haven’t been closer than 25 points five of their last six games

2. Rod Carey, Temple

He’s a good guy head coach who can’t get this thing going. After a great run at Illinois and a good start at Temple going 8-5, the Owls have gone 4-13 since then.

Things seemed promising with a 3-2 start and a win over Memphis, but since then the Owls have gone 0-5 by a combined score of 217-35. The O hasn’t scored more than one touchdown in four of the last five games.

1. Butch Davis, FIU

After a terrific start going 23-16 in his first three seasons with three bowl appearances, everything got ugly in a hurry in a winless 2020. Fine, 2020 was 2020 – free passes all around – but this year’s team can’t get off the ground going 1-9 with the lone win coming against LIU.

The Golden Panthers lost 50-10 to a Middle Tennessee team without its starting quarterback, extending the streak to games without a win over an FBS team to 16. The last win over an FBS team was to Miami back in late November of 2019.

NEXT: 5 Coaches Who Won’t Get Fired, But Need A Win

Ed Orgeron, LSU To Part Ways After Season, 5 Possible Coaching Candidates

Ed Orgeron and LSU will part ways after the 2021 season. Who are 5 possible candidates to take over the job?

Ed Orgeron and LSU will part ways after the 2021 season. Who are 5 possible candidates to take over the job?


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Ed Orgeron to leave LSU after the season. Good luck, new guy – just recreate the 2019 magic.

There was just no way to possibly follow up the mega-platinum hit album that took America by storm.

Ed Orgeron has always been a phenomenal recruiter and peerless line coach, and he got the job done at LSU. In a division with the Alabama machine never, ever slowing down, and in a conference that’s never, ever slowing down, LSU was able to hold its own.

It always gets lost among the expectations, but you can be phenomenal in the SEC and still not win much of anything. LSU was great under Orgeron, building up over his first three seasons before the epic 15-0 2019 season that ranks among the greatest of all-time.

But the program got hit with the perfect punch.

The 2019 team and coaching staff were gutted, the covid year kicked in and 2020 was rough in every way possible, and 2021 was supposed to be the real rebuilding year.

Everyone still seems tired after the 2019 season, and there were other issues including … uhhhhhh …

It’s been an emotional and intense going-to-be six seasons, Orgeron will always be a legend and made man around the program, and with the impending doom coming – at Ole Miss, at Alabama, Arkansas, Texas A&M, to go along with a date against ULM – the two sides cut to the chase.

So what’s next? Where does LSU go from here?

The job is one of the biggest and most prestigious in all of football, but 1) it’ll take a guy who has to deal with a fan base that’s old enough to remember 2019, 2) Alabama isn’t going away, 3) the rest of the SEC isn’t going away, and 4) 10-2 isn’t good enough.

So what kind of a powerhouse head coach could possibly handle the gig? Here are five – and more – coaches who should at least get an exploratory phone call from LSU athletic director Scott Woodward.

Let’s start with three big names that will be floated out there, but won’t happen …

5A. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M head coach

Why Jimbo Fisher will be the next head coach at LSU: He’s got the national championship win on the top line of the resumé. He’s one of the few head coaches in college football who got the trophy in the case and is also still at the top of his game, even if Texas A&M has been a bit of a disappointment. He’s the guy who punches his SEC weight with the rest of the league.

Why Jimbo Fisher won’t be the next head coach at LSU: Call this all a negotiating ploy to make an already insanely great deal even better. However, A&M is locked in to Fisher’s massive contract to the tune of close to $100 million after an extension. He’s very, very pricey, even for LSU.

5B. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss head coach

Why Lane Kiffin will be the next head coach at LSU: The guy wins. He was underappreciated at USC – he got the team just as it was getting hit with the Reggie Bush sanctions – and he quickly made Ole Miss a thing. He’s a brilliant offensive coach. Period.

Why he won’t be the next head coach at LSU: He’s Lane Kiffin. Period.

Again, Fisher and Kiffin will be thrown out there – because big-time programs like it when everyone thinks they can go get anyone they want. That also goes for …

5C. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State head coach

Why Mike Gundy will be the next head coach at LSU: The move of Les Miles from Oklahoma State to LSU several years ago worked out just fine for a long time – at least on the field.

Things have been way-too-quiet about Gundy and moving from his alma mater, but he’s one of the few coaches out there who’s been able to survive and thrive for a long, long time despite his school being the clear No. 2 to the the monster rival program.

The expectations at Oklahoma State are a bit different. Of course the program wants to win national titles, but it’s more realistically about being very good every year, getting to good bowl games, and being in the Big 12 Championship chase on a consistent basis.

He’s one of those coaches who has been very good where he’s at, but if he had the elite program recruiting machine to work with, look out.

Why Mike Gundy won’t be the next head coach at LSU: If he was going to leave Oklahoma State, he would’ve left Oklahoma State by now. There’s also the problem of winning – he does it, but 2011 was the one Big 12 Championship and his Cowboys haven’t finished in the league’s top two since 2013.

And then there’s the issue of being Mike Gundy. He can be abrasive, he’s in his 17th year and hasn’t really been a candidate for other places, and there’s the too-recent issue with the One America News t-shirt controversy.

But in the Just Means More world of the SEC, the guy is 6-0 this year with a very, very solid team.

It’s not going to be Gundy.

NEXT: Mel Tucker, Michigan State head coach