Ranking the Available College Football Vacancies


The coaching carousel is in full swing this year, here are the top college football coaching vacancies.

Throughout the 2015 college football season, we have seen multiple head coaches shown the door. This season we currently have 13 head coaching vacancies on the college football horizon, just waiting to be plucked up by the up and comers in the ranks. These jobs do not even include the swirling rumors surrounding Les Miles, Mark Richt, or the vast amount of other coaches who are on the edge. Nor am I worried about the jobs that will become available when coaches leave to fill these 13 vacancies.

I have weighed each of these head coaching gigs among a vast criteria, including conference affiliation, recruiting pool, facilities, administration support, booster support, and what I like to call the “wow factor”. It is difficult at times to rank these jobs in general. Every coach will bring out different qualities of a program in order to “exploit it to victory” as Les Miles would say, but I will certainly attempt to do my due diligence.

1. USC Trojans (Former Coach: Steve Sarkisian)

USC Trojans is almost a dream job for nearly any coach in America. The fertile recruiting ground is a natural draw as USC draws in three to four 5-stars automatically every year without breaking a sweat. One of the downsides to USC is the job security. The Trojans have seen 4 different coaches since Pete Carroll decided to try his hand at the NFL. With high expectations, USC demands excellence and does not allow for much flexibility when it comes to inferiority.

My Top Candidate(s): Tom Herman (Houston HC)

2. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (Former Coach: Al Golden)

Miami, Florida is a special place with unique situations. The Hurricanes gig offers a coach a lot of flexibility. Miami (FL) lies on the edge of a luscious backyard of recruits. However, Miami does have multiple draw backs from a recruiting stand point. The Hurricanes do not have a football stadium on campus, which is a downside on the recruiting trail. But Miami (FL) has one thing the many other schools do not have – SWAG. In order for any coach to be successful just off of South Beach, he is going to have to bring a swagger that is comparable to what can be found on the neon lit streets.

My Top Candidate(s): Lane Kiffin (Alabama OC) — or — Larry Fedora (North Carolina HC)

3. Virginia Tech Hokies (Former Coach: Frank Beamer)

Virginia Tech is full of tradition and college football passion. Any coach would be lucky to land in Blacksburg, VA. The Hokie support will be strong for any coach that calls Virginia Tech home. Virginia Tech has become a strong brand name under Frank Beamer, and the Hokies will look to continue that tradition. The next head coach will be under some pressure to continue where Beamer left off. However, the next head coach will be given some time to get his feet wet and add his charm to Hokie football.

My Top Candidate(s): Justin Fuente (Memphis HC)

4/5. South Carolina Gamecocks/Missouri Tigers (Former Coach(es): Steve Spurrier & Gary Pinkl)

Both of these schools are coming off head coaches that have finally decided to throw in the towel for different reasons. Both South Carolina and Missouri have been landmarks in the SEC East this year creating chaos and taking names all along the way. South Carolina and Missouri are about on the same level in my opinion, and will be looking to continue the recent success each had in the SEC East. The money is there at either of these programs for a promising coaching future.

My Top Candidate(s) at South Carolina: Kirby Smart (Alabama DC)

My Top Candidate(s) at Missouri: Matt Campbell (Toledo HC)

6. UCF Golden Knights (Former Coach: George O’Leary)

UCF has fantastic potential for young and upcoming coaches looking to make a name for themselves. The key for the next coach at UCF is being able to convince recruits to come wear gold and black rather than blue and orange/gold and crimson. Even if the next Golden Knights coach cannot keep the top recruits out of Gainesville or Tallahassee, he should be able to make due with the leftovers in the area. The state of Florida is chock-full of young talent that should allow for at least moderate success in the AAC. I am sure UCF is excited about a new opportunity to bring in a young fresh face for the program.

My Top Candidate(s): Mario Cristobal (Alabama OL Coach)

7. Maryland Terrapins (Former Coach: Randy Edsall)

First of all, let me say that Lane Kiffin would NOT be a good fit for the Terrapins. The amount of swagger Kiffin has would completely mask any national brand that Maryland could produce. Second of all, this was a lot closer than I thought it would be with #8 (I’m not going to spoil it just yet). Maryland needs a coach that will love the brand of Maryland and put the brand & Terrapin pride above all else. With Maryland’s contract with Under Armor, Maryland could re-brand itself as the “Oregon of the East” and throw out an entire suite of various designs and excitement in the fashion department. I will be interested in seeing who ends up being Maryland’s head coach, as I do not truly see someone on the horizon who will be a slam-dunk fit for the Terrapins.

My Top Candidate(s): Al Golden (Former Miami HC)

8. Syracuse Orange (Former Coach: Scott Shafer)

I know, right? Am I crazy? Perhaps, but the jury is still out. Syracuse as the 8th ranked coaching job in America right now? Syracuse is not exactly known for its football prowess. However, Syracuse is indeed a “national brand” thanks to the basketball program. Syracuse also is a team that is on the up and up, and starting to at least get some excitement around the football program. Syracuse is being taken under the wing of the state of New York and dubbed “New York’s team”. Syracuse is continually growing that rough and tough New York mentality.

My Top Candidate(s): Ed Orgeron (LSU DL Coach)

9. Iowa State Cyclones (Former Coach: Paul Rhodes)

Iowa State maybe be next to Kansas in the Big 12 rankings, but that’s just the point – the Cyclones are in the Big 12. The conference affiliation is probably one of the few redeeming factors about Iowa State. Iowa State is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to picking up recruits from the area. The Cyclones continuously lose out to Iowa, Wisconsin, and the majority of the Big 10. On the field, the Cyclones have to face some of the most talented offenses in the country. Iowa State always seems to have that one game per season where they come and surprise everyone and ruin the day for the Big 12. Iowa State is going to need to a curve ball to bring success into Ames.

My Top Candidate(s): Willie Fritz (Georgia Southern HC)

10. North Texas Mean Green (Former Coach: Dan McCarney)

Any school in Texas should be winning at least 6 games a season. Texas is like Florida or California in the fact that recruits are plentiful and easy to come by. North Texas has everything a young coach would want: money, facilities, strong recruiting ground. Although the Mean Green is not in a big name brand, there is some potential to be had there. It is time for North Texas to hire a coach that knows how to draw talent out of recruits, much like Gary Patterson. Who will that next head coach be?

My Top Candidate(s): Major Applewhite (Houston OC/QB)

11. Illinois Illini (Former Coach: Tim Beckman)

I’m sorry Illini faithful. Head coaches simply have an arduous time of finding success in Champaign. However, the potential is in Champaign for the Illini to be great. There just needs to be the perfect combination. Find the right guy for the job and Illinois may just be able to make its mark in the Big 10. Will Illinois be able to make a splash in the coaching hire decision? I doubt it. Alas, there will be someone out there interested in the job.

My Top Candidate(s): Bud Foster (Virginia Tech DC) — or — PJ Fleck (Western Michigan HC)

12. Hawaii Warriors (Former Coach: Norm Chow)

No, Hawaii does not have a massive recruiting pool. Hawaii does not have a blaring TV contract. But! Hawaii does have Hawaii. Granted, success is not at all guaranteed in the Aloha state, but who would not want a chance to entice recruits to come to one of the most beautiful and scientifically astounding places in the world! Okay, Okay. I know that does not sound as exciting to you nor any head coaches out there as it does to me (being a Geology major and all, but still). Honestly, it seems like a retirement job more so than anything. The Hawaii football program may be in shambles right now, but perhaps a splash in the head coaching search is just what this program needs to get back on its feet.

My Top Candidate(s): June Jones (not currently employed as a HC or Coordinator)

13. UL Monroe (Former Coach: Todd Berry)

Let’s face it. UL Monroe needs help financially speaking. UL Monroe is at the bottom of the barrel in terms of having the ability to bring in recruits from the state of Louisiana. However, there are multiple Junior College Players that are looking for a home in the Arkansas & Missouri Region, and with the right coach, the Warhawks may be able to find a dash of success.

Next: Kirby Smart to South Carolina?

My Top Candidate(s): Matt Viator (McNeese State HC) — or — Charlie Weis (not currently employed as a HC or Coordinator)