The dust has finally settled on one of the wildest coaching carousels these eyes have ever seen. Words cannot describe the debacle in Tennessee but I will try to make sense of it. Money talks in College Station and the Chipper is finally back in college football. Out of the dozen Power 5 coaching changes half were from the almighty SEC. The conference was heavy at the top but terrible in the middle. Hopefully new life will bring some of these tradition laden universities back to national relevance for their winning and not the controversy we have seen lately. Time to break them all down folks.
Who’s In: Jimbo Fisher
Who’s Out: Kevin Sumlin
Breakdown: If you told me two months ago Jimbo was going to Texas A&M I would have told you to lay off the booze for a while because the thought just seemed crazy. But as time went on and the FSU relationship started to sour that crazy accusation started to become reality. Throw 10 years and $75 mill into the equation and you have a national championship winning coach in College Station. Aggie fans are already counting the championship rings but I think they forget that Alabama, Auburn and LSU are still in their division so you are still sitting in 4th at the moment. The good thing about Jimbo is that he knows how to coach up QB’s and one of the main reasons Sumlin is out is because he couldn’t keep the top rated QB’s he recruited on the roster. I still could never figure that one out. So overall I like this hire but it is going to be a grind every year to win double digits and try to get to the SEC title.
Who’s In: Dan Mullen
Who’s Out: Jim McElwain
Breakdown: Dan Mullen was able to win a lot of games at Mississippi State which is saying something. Between that division and the recruiting disadvantages he was always been behind the 8 ball but always found a way to over come them. Now that he moves to the East his only real competition should be Georgia and then Tennessee if they ever get their act together. Plus add in that he can recruit Florida kids to Gainesville and he should be able to turn this program around in two years. What Florida has been missing is a competent QB and Dan Mullen is known for turning projects into players with Dak Prescott and most recently Nick Fitzgerald. The Gators will be back and it wont take long.
Who’s In: Jeremy Pruitt
Who’s Out: Butch Jones
Breakdown: The Butch Jones era has finally come to a close as he was rightfully run out of town. However, his teams were 5 time Champions of Life winners which people tend to forget. He didn’t seem to get enough credit for a championship you can’t technically quantify. That being said this coaching search was botched from jump and resulted in AD John Currie getting fired after the Greg Schiano/Sandusky scandal fallout. Then there was Currie’s pursuit of about 4 or 5 unsuccessful attempts to lure coaches who already like their job to Tennessee. He couldn’t figure out that they were all just looking for a pay upgrade from their current school. In comes the legend Phillip Fulmer as the AD who immediately reminds me of Bud Kilmer from Varsity Blues. He goes out and lands Jeremy Pruitt who was the DC from Alabama. Not a bad hire in my opinion but the Vols desperately need offense as they have been inept in that area for years. I am not saying Pruitt won’t do a good job but I would have went that route. At this point Tennessee’s reputation may have been so stained that Pruitt was probably one of the few guys left who were interested. We will see how this one eventually plays out but he needs at least 3 years to repair this program before any wins start racking up.
Who’s In: Chad Morris
Who’s Out: Brett Bielema
Breakdown: People seem to forget that Chad Morris was the guy who got Clemson’s offense on the map years ago before he moved on to SMU and an updated offense is exactly what Arkansas needs. Brett kept trying to run smash mouth with inferior talent which doesn’t work in the SEC West. Chad will spin the rock around and although I don’t see him winning any West titles if he can get this team some 9 and even an occasional 10 win season this hire will be a success. Bobby Petrino was able to do it so that is proof right there that it can be done. Pig Sooie.
Who’s In: Joe Moorhead
Who’s Out: Dan Mullen
Breakdown: This isn’t a bad hire as Moorhead was one of the hottest coordinators in the country at Penn State
and has head coaching experience at Fordham. I just don’t understand why this mastermind refused to feed Saquon Barkley the ball until his legs fell off. The kid was hands down the best player in the country and his lack of touches late in games led to Penn State dropping their only two important games of the season. In the end this is a solid hire for Mississippi State though.
Who’s In: Matt Luke
Who’s Out: Hugh Freeze
Breakdown: Matt Luke came in as the interim coach this year and miraculously got the Rebels to 6-6 after Hugh Freeze left this program in shambles. Too many “accidental” butt dials to escorts can really ruin a program pretty fast especially when you mix in all the illegal payments to players. I really think Luke was hired to just weather this storm for a few seasons until all sanctions are lifted and Ole Miss can attract another big time coach. Shea Patterson bolting to Michigan doesn’t help either as he was their top returning talent. Long road ahead for the Rebels.
Who’s In: Willie Taggart
Who’s Out: Jimbo Fisher
Breakdown: Willie has been penciled in as the Noles coach for about the last month with all of the Jimbo Fisher rumors swirling around. The only catch was if he would leave Oregon only after a year which he did. Their record was deceiving at 7-5 but that was because their starting QB Herbert missed a bunch of games. Once he came back they were back to winning. With a healthy Francois next year Willie will have FSU back in the Atlantic race and the man knows how to recruit the state of Florida. The Noles will be back and it won’t take long.
Who’s In: Scott Frost
Who’s Out: Mike Riley
Breakdown: Attention Husker Nation – If Scott Frost cannot bring you out of the basement to national prominence then NO ONE CAN. The former national champion signal caller for the Huskers just took a team that was 0-12 two years ago into a 12-0 conference champion and New Years Six bowl participant. He’s young, energetic and seems to genuinely be a good person at his core. He needs to infuse some offense into this team and the Big Ten West is ripe for the picking. Other than Wisconsin every other team is beatable year in and year out. I am not saying 11 and 12 wins will happen each year but Frost will have Nebraska at least at 9 wins with a shot at the Big 10 title every other year.
Who’s In: Chip Kelly
Who’s Out: Jim Mora Jr
Breakdown: Mora wasted a great opportunity with Josh Rosen the last few years because he couldn’t get good enough pieces around him. His time was up and now Chip Kelly has a shot to be the king of LA. The key with Chip will be if he actually learned from any of his NFL mistakes or if he is going to just go back to the Oregon well like before. He needs to evolve his scheme to catch up to the times and actually be able to beat physical teams which his Oregon teams couldn’t. The luxury of being in Westwood will be that recruiting should be a lot easier than it was in Oregon. The Cali talent is plentiful and should benefit him. I don’t see a national championship in his future but double digit win seasons will be the norm soon.
Who’s In: Herm Edwards
Who’s Out: Todd Graham
Breakdown: The consensus on this hire is that it’s weird and I tend to agree. Coach Herm has been out of the NFL for years and out of college since the 80’s. I get that the new AD was his former agent but this still seems like it could be a stretch. The good thing for Herm is the expectations at ASU aren’t through the roof. If he can win 9 games a year he will be a god and I have no doubt that he will be a great recruiter. Moms will just eat him up. I think this hire will work out in the end but first Herm needs to figure out who their mascot is…..
Who’s In: Mario Cristobal
Who’s Out: Willie Taggart
Breakdown: Mario is an excellent recruiter which is something you need in the state of Oregon. There isn’t much home grown talent so you have to dip into California, Washington and even Texas to get the guys you need to compete. He clearly has the respect of his players as they lobbied hard for him to be the coach and that says something. I don’t know if Mario is the answer for the Ducks but only time will tell.
Who’s In: Jonathan Smith
Who’s Out: Gary Andersen
Breakdown: I would be a liar if I said I knew who Jonathan Smith was so I will leave it at that. This move gets a C still though since he was an OSU alum and he seems to actually care about the program which Gary Anderson lacked. If he can churn out some 7 win seasons he will be around for a while.