In about a month the coaching carousel is going to heat up. The conclusion of the regular season always marks a time when programs fire coaches in order to get a new one in as soon as possible to recruit. With that being said, these coaches will be prime targets for some of the best available jobs in college football:
Matt Campbell, Iowa State
Campbell started off as the head coach of Toledo and went 35-15. He was then able to step up to the power five level at Iowa State. He is only in his second season as the head coach in Aimes, but has done so well that there are rumors swirling around his name.
In his two head coaching jobs, Campbell has been successful. At Iowa State he has turned the program around in a short period of time. The Cyclones won three games the year before he took over. He didn’t experience too much success in his first year, but this season he has done a great job. Iowa State has six wins already this season, including two wins over top five opponents.
With recruiting ties to Ohio and success in the Big 12, Campbell will be highly sought after. His ability to turn a program around quickly will make him appealing to a lot of the bigger programs who need a new identitiy.
Scott Frost, UCF
Enough can’t be said about the great job Scott Frost has done at UCF. Frost has had a lot of stops along the way before getting a head coaching job though. He has been an assistant at Nebraska, Kansas State, Northern Iowa and Oregon. With a ton of experience as an assistant and some early success as the man in charge, Frost is a lead candidate for a big job.
A few years before Frost got to UCF, the Golden Knights were able to make the Fiesta Bowl with Blake Bortles at quarterback. Unfortunately after Bortles left troubles started. In 2015 the program hit a low point, as they went 0-12. Long time coach George O’Leary was now gone and UCF found the right guy for the job in Frost. In his first season he won six games before losing in the Cure Bowl to Arkansas State. This season is what has people really appreciating Frost though, as he and the Golden Knights are undefeated. They will have a chance to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl, just two years after not winning a single game. What a turnaround.
Frost has been all over the country so it is hard to put a finger on where he may end up. He did play for Nebraska who may be looking for a new head coach after the season.
Mike Norvell, Memphis
Norvell took over for Justin Fuente at Memphis and has kept his foot on the pedal for the Tigers. He has had stops along the way at Central Arkansas, Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State. Like many assistants he has traveled across the country to finally get his own job at Memphis.
Fuente turned the program around getting them to a 10 win then a nine win season before leaving for Virginia Tech. Norvell was able to hold things steady in his first season with an 8-5 record. Taking into account how much talent they lost when Fuente left, which includes Paxton Lynch, Norvell did a fine job. This year though, he is doing even better as the Tigers are 8-1, with a chance to make a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Norvell will lose a lot of talent after the season and may want to leave Memphis before things start getting worse. He could be a candidate for the Tennessee job, seeing that he has a more successful team from the same state.
Dino Babers, Syracuse
Babers is the only coach with a losing record on this list, but he is doing a great job at Syracuse. He also did a good job at Bowling Green and Eastern Illinois before that. With stops literally, all across the country, Babers is a coach who could fit in just about anywhere.
In the FCS at Eastern Illinois he took the team to the FCS Playoffs twice in his two seasons. At Bowling Green Babers finished with an 18-9 record, which included a ten win season in his last of two years there. Babers then earned the job at Syracuse and had to take over a rebuilding job. So far he has eight wins in almost two full seasons there. Syracuse was able to upset Clemson this year, which shows that Babers can coach with the best of them, even if his team is inconsistent at times. The Orange are sitting at 4-5 and have three games left to make a bowl game. Although he is already in rumors to get a better job, it would go a long way for Babers to make a bowl game.
Babers could stay at Syracuse for one more year and see what happens, but he has been in the rumors for the Florida job.
Neal Brown, Troy
Brown is a young energetic guy that took over Troy and has taken them to the next level. He is just 37 years old and is well on his way to getting a big time job. As an assistant, the most notable programs that Brown worked for were Texas Tech and Kentucky.
The Trojans went 3-9 before bringing Brown on. Brown had a tough task replacing Larry Blakeney who retired after coaching at Troy from 1990-2014. With limited talent on the roster Brown got to work. In his first season Troy took a baby step to finish 4-8, but the year after they jumped to a 10 win season. They capped the season off with a win over Ohio in the Dollar General Bowl. This season Troy is 7-2 and can get to another 10 win season. The Trojans got a big upset win over LSU in Death Valley to make the season even sweeter thus far.
Brown has been an assistant in Texas and in the SEC and has been rumored for a lot of the SEC jobs. Those jobs, or ones in Texas, will suit Brown the best.
Jason Candle, Toledo
Candle took over for Campbell at Toledo and has Toledo on the right trajectory. Candle has only had stops at Mount Union and Toledo, which creates a bit of an issue. He has had a fast rise to the level of head coach and shows the desire for more. Being on the Campbell coaching tree right now is a plus.
After being promoted to head coach for the bowl game in 2014, which Candle won, he has been on fire. The Rockets won nine games in 2015, but lost in the Camellia Bowl. This season Candle has been doing a great job leading Toledo to a 8-1 record. Their only loss is to undefeated Miami. While there schedule isn’t the best, Toledo is fast approaching the top 25 and could finish with 11 or 12 wins.
With his limited number of jobs, it limits where Candle could be a good fit. He has only coached in Ohio, so he will most likely be a good fit somewhere in the midwest or east.
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