Will 2017 Produce The Wild College Football Coaching Carousel 2016 Didn't?


The 2016 college football season had crazy coaching carousel potential. Multiple jobs in the SEC West were in play. Major programs got off to atrocious starts. Tom Herman looked bound for a bidding war. That scenario hasn’t materialized.

We could even see a plausible scenario where LSU sticks with Ed Orgeron, Texas opts to bring Charlie Strong back after an eight-win season, and Oregon keeps Mark Helfrich. The biggest program making an outside hire could be Baylor, a job that was available at the beginning of the season.

2017 could be different. Some big-name coaches could be on the hot seat. Some desirable Power 5 jobs could come available. We could see some serious musical chairs.

Here are some Power 5 jobs that could be in play a year from now.

Notre Dame: The Irish are 3-6. Brian Kelly received the “dreaded vote of confidence.” But, most signs point to him sticking around. He doesn’t have a better option for next year. Neither does Notre Dame. Kelly is as experienced as anyone. He should get Notre Dame back on track. But, he won’t have much to fall back on if he fails to do so.

Tennessee: Talented Tennessee is disappointing for a second straight year. Yes, the Vols have had injuries. But, losing to a bare bones South Carolina. Needing great escapes in other games. Rumblings about discord behind the scenes. A best-case scenario leaves him at 15-17 in the SEC entering year five. Butch Jones has tested fans’ patience. Disappointing again in 2017 could get dicey with a new athletic director.

Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze has made Ole Miss relevant. The Rebels have had Top 15 teams the past two seasons. This year, however, big time players left for the draft. Freeze’s team is 1-5 vs. Power 5 teams. Potential NCAA sanctions are looming. Depending on the severity of the latter and how Ole Miss rebounds with a young quarterback, that could get interesting.

UCLA: Last year, UCLA fell off the pace. This year, the Bruins have just fallen. They have been in close games with good teams, but have not won them going 1-6 in games decided by 10 points or fewer. Josh Rosen going down has not helped. The Bruins miss Noel Mazzone on offense. Jim L. Mora hasn’t taken that next step anticipated with UCLA. He needs a substantial leap to get back to where he was. The real argument for next year not being “make or break” for Mora is UCLA not wanting to pay his contract buyout.

Michigan State: The Spartans are 1-7 against FBS this season. They are in the discussion for the most disappointing major program title. Dantonio is not on the “hot seat.” He’s been Michigan State’s best coach in the modern era. This team is young. Still, Dantonio will have to make some tough decisions with his staff. It’s hard to see him not leaving on his terms. But, if things go that awry again next season, he may step aside.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils have lost some octane. They are heading for their second consecutive 6-6-ish season. There’s more to that than Todd Graham ditching his lucky boy band headset. Graham was “confident in his defense’s ability to adapt” before the season. The Sun Devils are still hyper-aggressive up front and getting torched through the air. He doesn’t have a better offer. ASU won’t want to pay a $14.2 million buyout. Let’s check back in after next year.

Arizona: Rich Rodriguez tumbling from program savior to the hot seat in two years? Losing 12 of 15 Pac 12 games will do that. This 2016 Wildcats team is 2-7, in a down year for the Pac 12. They are a classic “Bad Rich Rod” team where they aren’t efficient enough to capitalize on their offensive production and can’t defend anyone. Next year should be critical.

California: Sonny Dykes may send two quarterbacks in a row to the first round of the NFL Draft. Depending on how Cal finishes, that could be more than his number of bowl appearances through four seasons in Berkeley. New stadium. New facilities. No real progress on the late malaise that got Jeff Tedford fired.

Boston College: Steve Addazio’s dudes aren’t doing so well. The Eagles went 1-9 vs. FBS teams last year. Beating N.C. State two weeks ago was BC’s first Power 5 win since Nov. 2014. Playing excellent defense over that span says everything you need to know about BC’s offense. He may be working with a new athletic director in 2017. That institutional turmoil should get him 2017, but it makes getting beyond it without improvement perilous.