Final Exam: Reviewing the coaching hires after 3 weeks of madness
Everyone take a deep breath, grab your beverage of choice, and take a lengthy celebratory swig - it appears we've made it through the wildest coach-hiring season of all-time.
After three weeks of madness, there were 10 major jobs that changed hands at the Power 5 level.
Here's how each school made out, ranked accordingly:
Now this is gonna be fun
UCLA - Chip Kelly
The undisputed winner of the coaching sweepstakes is UCLA with the hire of Chip Kelly. College fans, especially those in the Pac-12, need no reminder as to what the man accomplished during his time with Oregon, and the thought of him in the middle of California's incredible recruiting area is scary for the rest of the country.
Texas A&M - Jimbo Fisher
One of the most shocking moves in the past three weeks saw Jimbo Fisher leave perennial powerhouse Florida State for a Texas A&M program that has won over 10 games just once since 1999. The move became much less shocking when it was announced Fisher would be paid a monstrous 10-year, $75-million contract. The hire also gave us the most hilarious video of the season as Fisher was welcomed by a band at the airport in a scene that resembles more of a world leader arriving than a football coach.
Nebraska - Scott Frost
The rising star of the coaching profession turned down interest from numerous programs, including Florida, to go home to Nebraska and fix a struggling outfit. Scott Frost engineered one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history with UCF, and will be counted on to provide similar results with the Cornhuskers. If nothing else, his high-powered offense should make Nebraska games highly entertaining to the casual fan.
Sure, it makes sense
Florida - Dan Mullen
Another homecoming of sorts saw Dan Mullen leave Mississippi State to return to Florida. Mullen was the offensive coordinator for the Gators during their championship runs under Urban Meyer, and returns to Gainesville to fix the team's morbid offense. Kelly and Frost may have been the preferred options, but Mullen's success with quarterbacks should ignite some energy into an angry Gators fanbase.
Florida State - Willie Taggart
Willie Taggart's tenure at Oregon lasted less than a year as Florida State zeroed in on him after Fisher jumped to Texas A&M. The lure of the sunshine state was too much for the Florida native to turn down, bolting from the West Coast for the more familiar terrain almost immediately. In stops at South Florida and Oregon, Taggart showed his ability to install a high-powered offense, something Seminoles faithful will crave after a disappointing 2017 season.
Could go either way
Arkansas - Chad Morris
Chad Morris was a successful offensive coordinator at Clemson before taking the SMU job prior to the 2015 campaign. Many will be questioning the hire after three seasons with the Mustangs led to an underwhelming 14-22 record, but after a deeper look, that was actually an impressive mark. SMU was 1-11 the year before Morris took over. He quickly turned them into a competitive squad in the AAC. What Arkansas expects out of the program is likely what will determine how good this hire is. It's tough to see Morris topping Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn, or Fisher. Fourth in the division might be as good as it gets.
Mississippi State - Joe Moorhead
Dan Mullen was arguably the best coach in Mississippi State's history, so Joe Moorhead has the unenviable task of following that legacy. The good news for Bulldogs fans is the team will be entertaining regardless of its record under the former Penn State offensive coordinator. His offense with the Nittany Lions ranked seventh in the country last season, putting up over 40 points per contest. Moorhead has never coached in the south, however, so that could lead to some challenges in keeping the Mississippi State program in contention in the hyper-competitive SEC West.
Oregon - Mario Cristobal
The Ducks opted for continuity in replacing Taggart, promoting offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal to the head coaching position. Cristobal had a hot-and-cold run over a six-year span with FIU, but earned the reputation as a relentless recruiter during his time with Alabama and the Ducks. The players are certainly on board with the move, and perhaps most importantly, so is "The Rock."
They hired who?
Arizona State - Herm Edwards
You play to win the game " rant during his NFL coaching career, or his time on ESPN as an NFL broadcaster the past nine years. What you won't remember him for is anything related to college football. That was glaringly obvious during his introductory press conference where it appeared he didn't know the mascot of the team he's now coaching.
At least somebody said yes
Tennessee - Jeremy Pruitt
Jeremy Pruitt may end up being a fine head coach in the SEC, but the deck is certainly stacked against him given the absurdity of the Tennessee coaching search. After opting to pull a deal off the table with Greg Schiano due to intense fan backlash, the Volunteers made overtures to at least six other coaches before firing athletic director John Currie. That led to Phillip Fulmer taking over and hiring Pruitt for the job. Good luck with all that in Knoxville, Jeremy.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
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