Florida, Tennessee are top college football coaching vacancies


By Matt Murschel - Orlando Sentinel



As college football’s regular season winds down, the coaching carousel begins to ramp up. There already are a handful of openings and more are anticipated in the coming weeks.

Take a look at the open jobs and those that could possibly open soon, ranked in order of attractiveness.

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Vacancies

1. Florida Gators

Believe it or not, Florida was once considered a national power alongside Alabama. But since claiming the 2008 national title, the program has won just 59 percent of its games. UF is in the middle of one of the most talent-rich states. The administration spent $15 million to build a new indoor practice facility and has committed to raising $60 million more for a stand-alone football facility.

2. Tennessee Volunteers

Much like Florida, Tennessee fans are eager to see their beloved Volunteers return to glory. The program has won just 53 percent of its games since 2012 and just 36 percent of its games in the SEC. And just like the Gators, Tennessee continues to average top-12 recruiting classes. The athletic department ranks among the leaders in total revenue and the facilities are better than most.

3. UCLA Bruins

UCLA offers the bright lights and big city of Los Angeles, making it an attractive destination for a coach who isn’t afraid of the spotlight. The Bruins can draw from a rich recruiting base in California and remain a name brand, especially on the West Coast. UCLA last played in the Rose Bowl in 1998 and will always have a connection with its crosstown rival in USC.

4. Ole Miss Rebels

This one could be a harder sell than the previous three jobs, mainly because the Rebels are coming off a nasty NCAA investigation. Ole Miss already self-imposed a postseason bowl ban for this year and a double-digit scholarship reduction, but more could be on the way once the NCAA lays out its sanctions. That said, it’s still an SEC job — albeit one that will require plenty of patience.

5. Oregon State Beavers

Oregon State has had two winning seasons since 2009 and hasn’t been much of a factor on the national stage since 2000. It’s not one of the sexier jobs in the Pac-12 thanks, in part, to the proximity to rival Oregon, but it’s a job with more flexibility than most.

6. Georgia Southern Eagles

Georgia Southern won 18 games during its first two seasons after transitioning from the Football Championship Subdivision in 2014. This program knows how to win, as demonstrated by its six national titles in the FCS. It now needs a coach to continue that trend.

7. UTEP Miners

The UTEP program hasn’t experienced much success as of late, with the Miners winning just 29 percent of their games since 2012 (21-51).

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Potential job openings

1. Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M is located in the talent-rich state of Texas, making it a huge draw in regards to recruiting. Then there is the brand recognition that goes with being in the SEC and financial support that goes with being the top revenue-producing school in college football.

2. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska has a dedicated fan base. How else can you explain how Memorial Stadium has been sold out every game since Nov. 3, 1962? It’s also a program rich in tradition and football history. Tack on playing in the Big Ten and it’s a pretty attractive job.

3. Arkansas Razorbacks

There’s no shortage of success in the DNA of the Arkansas football program, but there has not been much of it since 2011. The administration has pumped money into stadium upgrades, but with the departure of Jeff Long as athletics director, the lack of stability in the program at the moment could be a concern.

4. Arizona State Sun Devils

The school just spent more than $300 million to upgrade Sun Devil Stadium, including upgrades to the football complex. Arizona State is also close enough to be able to recruit neighboring California for talent.

5. Texas Tech Red Raiders

A middle-tier team in the Big 12, Texas Tech is a job that gives a coach a bit of time to develop. The ability to occasionally win big games can help keep the pressure off.

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By Matt Murschel

Orlando Sentinel