Final 2016-17 Bowl Projections

College Football Playoff

Fiesta Bowl (2) Ohio State vs. (3) Clemson

Peach Bowl (1) Alabama vs. (4) Washington

Selection Committee Bowl Games

Orange Bowl Florida State (ACC) vs. Michigan (At-Large)

Rose Bowl Penn State (Big Ten) vs. USC (Pac-12)

Sugar Bowl Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Auburn (SEC)

Cotton Bowl Western Michigan (Group of 5) vs. Wisconsin (At-Large)

Rest of Bowl Games

New Mexico New Mexico (MWC) vs. UTSA (C-USA)

Las Vegas San Diego State (MWC #1) vs. Houston (American) 

Camellia Central Michigan (MAC) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt #3)

Cure Appalachian State  (Sun Belt) vs. UCF (American)

New Orleans Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt #1) vs. Southern Miss (C-USA)

Miami Beach Tulsa (American) vs. Ohio (MAC)

Boca Raton Memphis (American) vs. Western Kentucky (C-USA)

Poinsettia BYU (Independent) vs. Wyoming (MWC)

Idaho Potato Idaho (Sun Belt) vs. Colorado State (MWC)

Bahamas Old Dominion (C-USA) vs. Eastern Michigan (MAC)

Armed Forces Navy (American) vs. Louisiana Tech (C-USA)

Dollar General Troy (Sun Belt #2) vs. Toledo (MAC #1)

Hawaii Middle Tennessee State (C-USA) vs. Hawaii (MWC)

St. Petersburg Mississippi State (SEC) vs. Miami [OH] (MAC) 

Quick Lane Boston College (ACC) vs. Maryland (Big Ten)

Independence Wake Forest (ACC) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC)

Heart of Dallas North Texas (C-USA) vs. Army (Independent)

Military Temple (American) vs. N.C. State (ACC)

Holiday Iowa (Big Ten) vs. Washington State (Pac-12 #3)

Cactus Baylor (Big 12 #6) vs. Boise State (MWC)

Pinstripe North Carolina (ACC) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten)

Russell Athletic Miami [FL] (ACC #2) vs. West Virginia (Big 12 #3)

Foster Farms Indiana (Big Ten) vs. Utah (Pac-12 #4)

Texas Kansas State (Big 12 #4).vs. Texas A&M (SEC)

Birmingham South Carolina (SEC) vs. USF (American)

Belk Virginia Tech (ACC) vs. Arkansas (SEC)

Alamo Oklahoma State (Big 12 #2) vs. Colorado (Pac-12 #2)

Liberty TCU (Big 12 #5) vs. Georgia (SEC)

Sun Pittsburgh (ACC) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 #5)

Music City Minnesota (Big Ten) vs. Tennessee (SEC)

Arizona Air Force (MWC) vs. South Alabama (Sun Belt) 

Citrus Louisville (ACC) vs. LSU (SEC)

TaxSlayer Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Kentucky (SEC)

Outback Nebraska (Big Ten) vs. Florida (SEC)

*italics = replacements

*blue = already announced

**San Diego State correct


Landscape of the Coaching Carousel

With today being the end of the regular season for college football, I’ve decided to blog about some of my thoughts on what the upcoming coaching carousel will look like. In short, I believe we will have fewer openings in comparison to years’ past, and that Texas & LSU will be the two biggest jobs to have opened up– and both have reached a conclusion, with LSU making Ed O the permanent H.C. and Texas nabbing Tom Herman from Houston. 

Currently Open Jobs

Baylor, the job that has been open the longest, is a really tough one to predict. Tons of media reports are pegging SMU’s Chad Morris for the job, but I don’t buy it. First off, I’d much rather live in Highland Park then in Waco, and I’m sure he feels the same way. Secondly, I think he’s waiting for Texas A&M to eventually open up (his alma mater), as Kevin Sumlin’s days are likely numbered. To conclude, I just don’t see him leaving what he has at SMU for a tough rebuilding job in Waco. The next logical candidate would be Larry Fedora, which might just happen. I do think Fedora wants to return to a job in the states of Texas or Oklahoma, but Baylor might not be his first choice. He’s got a great gig at UNC going for him, and he’s done quite well there (exception: N.C. State). He might pass and wait to see if Oklahoma State opens up in a couple years, as there’s visible friction between Mike Gundy and the school’s boosters. Philip Montgomery is another viable option, as the former Briles assistant has done phenomenally at Tulsa. But I have a good feeling that Mack Rhoades (the school’s new A.D.) will want to pick someone with no ties to Art Briles given how tenuous the situation is there. And there’s a fair chance Coach Monty wouldn’t even want the job, given how the school has scapegoated his old mentor through the past year. There’s a chance they give Jim Grobe another year or two to clean up the mess if those three coaches pass. Or they could go for a “hotshot” assistant such as Lincoln Riley or Doug Meacham.. I really don’t know.

I think I have a clearer idea about what Houston, which just opened up this morning after Tom Herman departed for Texas, plans to do. They’ve hired a search firm, which makes me think they’ll go after a bigger name coach. Sure, Major Applewhite and Todd Orlando are viable internal candidates to get the full-time gig. But I have a feeling they’ll look elsewhere. Houston remains committed to building a big football program that will eventually compete in the Big 12. They were willing to give Herman a $5mil/yr salary, and I predict they’ll be willing to throw that kind of money at other coaches. Dana Holgorsen, a former UH assistant, is a real candidate for this job. He seems somewhat disgruntled at West Virginia, as he started off this year firmly on the Hot Seat with the shaky support of AD Shane Lyons. Houston would be really wise to gauge his interest. Sonny Dykes is in a similar position, with Cal being an obviously awkward fit for him. If Houston throws a lot of money his way, I’d imagine he would at least listen. Mike Leach is another big-name coach who might have some interest in returning to Texas, especially if he thinks he can get Houston into the Big 12. They might also ponder an Art Briles return, but I think he’s more likely to rebuild his career in the NFL than at the college level. Other names to watch include Lincoln Riley, Doug Meacham, and Sterlin Gilbert if they go the coordinator route.

Purdue seems to be close to finishing their coaching search, yet just about no one has much of a clue who their main target is. There are reports that it’s WMU’s P.J. Fleck, but I don’t buy it. Fleck has something special going on with the undefeated WMU Broncos, and I don’t think he’ll begin looking for a bigger job until after the MAC title game. It might be Kevin Sumlin, if Texas A&M is willing to make some sort of deal with Purdue officials to reduce his buyout number. But I don’t think he’s their guy either. It could be Les Miles, who it seems has been advocating for the job for the last few months. It also could be Brock Spack, who interviewed with officials last week. It’ll be interesting to watch this one play out. They might have a ‘secret guy’ that no one knows about right now.

Georgia State is in the early stages of their coaching search. Jeff Scott is my current prediction, as he has done a spectacular job at Clemson and he’s got strong ties to the southeast recruiting region needed to succeed there. Jamey Chadwell, Will Hall, Bobby Lamb, Shawn Elliott, and Bryan McClendon have also been buzzed about for this opening, among others. Point blank, it’s really early to begin speculating on this one. They’re using a search firm, so I expect it to be a relatively quiet search. But as always, I’ll keep y’all posted on this one. 

State of the Fringe Jobs

Here’s my current and final Hot Seat Radar for the year… 

(1) Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati (+1)

(2) David Bailiff, Rice (+1)

(3) Paul Haynes, Kent State (+1)

(4) Sean Kugler, UTEP (+11)

(5) Ron Caragher, San Jose State (NEW)

(6) Mark Helfrich, Oregon (+3)

(7) Doug Martin, New Mexico State (-)

(8) Charlie Partridge, FAU (-2)

(9) Brian Polian, Nevada (NEW)

(10) Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette (NEW)

(11) Lance Leipold, Buffalo (-1)

(12) Rich Rodriguez, Arizona (-7)

(13) Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech (-2)

(14) Steve Addazio, Boston College (-6)

(15) Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M (-3)



I believe that the first three jobs are near-locks to open up. Tommy Tuberville is despised by his fan base, while David Bailiff and Paul Haynes have repeatedly disappointed and have gotten enough time to turn things around. I’ll be very surprised if all three aren’t fired this weekend. 

I believe the next four jobs are about 50/50 to open up, with Ron Caragher at SJSU being the most likely to be canned. I’ve got no idea what Oregon is planning, to be honest. Rob Mullens has been keeping things to himself, and I’d expect his final decision to come after today’s Oregon State game. Even though I don’t agree with the call, I’m leaning that NMSU retains Doug Martin simply because it’s very hard to win there. And I think Partridge is probably more likely to stay than go, because he’s only been there for a short time. In short, I could see all four opening up, but I can also see all four getting another year to turn things around. 

I think Brian Polian and Mark Hudpseth are safe for another year, but you never know. About 75% sure that both return to their jobs next season, unless they depart for another job this offseason, most likely in the form of an NFL or Power 5 assistant job. 

I’d be somewhat surprised if Lance Leipold or Rich Rodriguez are fired this weekend, but stranger things have happened. Both definitely deserve to start next year on the hot seat if they return as head coaches. 

Kliff Kingsbury, Steve Addazio, and Kevin Sumlin are near-locks to return as head coaches for various reasons, but each should start next year firmly on the hot seat. 


Bowl Projections (Round Two)

**updated on November 25, 2016**

PEACH BOWL (1) Alabama vs. (4) Washington

FIESTA BOWL (2) Clemson vs. (3) Ohio State

ROSE BOWL Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs. USC (Pac-12)

SUGAR BOWL Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Tennessee (SEC)

ORANGE BOWL Louisville (ACC) vs. Michigan (At-Large)

COTTON BOWL Western Michigan (Group of 5) vs. Penn State (At-Large)

New Mexico: UTSA (C-USA) vs. New Mexico (MWC)

Las Vegas: San Diego State (MWC #1) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12 #6)

Camellia: Central Michigan (MAC #3) vs. Appalachian State (Sun Belt #3)

Cure: Tulsa (American) vs. South Alabama (Sun Belt)

New Orleans: Arkansas State (Sun Belt #1) vs. Louisiana Tech (C-USA)

Miami Beach: UCF (American) vs. Ohio (MAC)

Boca Raton: Western Kentucky (C-USA) vs. Memphis (American)

Poinsettia: BYU (Ind.) vs. Wyoming (MWC)

Idaho Potato: Miami OH (MAC #2) vs. Colorado State (MWC)

Bahamas: Old Dominion (C-USA) vs. N.C. State (ACC)**

Armed Forces: Navy (American) vs. Baylor (Big 12)**

Dollar General: Toledo (MAC #1) vs. Troy (Sun Belt #2)

Hawaii: MTSU (C-USA) vs. Hawaii (MWC)

St. Petersburg: South Florida (American) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC)**

Quick Lane: Boston College (ACC)** vs. Maryland (Big Ten)

Independence: South Carolina (SEC) vs. Georgia Tech (ACC)

Heart of Dallas: Eastern Michigan (MAC)** vs. North Texas (C-USA)

Military: Army (ACC)* vs. Temple (American)

Holiday: Minnesota (Big Ten) vs. Washington State (Pac-12 #3)

Cactus: Texas (Big 12 #6) vs. Boise State (MWC)**

Pinstripe: Pittsburgh (ACC) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten)

Russell Athletic: Virginia Tech (ACC #2) vs. West Virginia (Big 12 #3)

Foster Farms: Indiana (Big Ten) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 #4)

Texas: Kansas State (Big 12 #4) vs. Texas A&M (SEC)

Birmingham: Houston (American) vs. Ole Miss (SEC)

Belk: North Carolina (ACC) vs. Arkansas (SEC)

Alamo: Oklahoma State (Big 12 #2) vs. Colorado (Pac-12 #2)

Liberty: TCU (Big 12 #5) vs. Kentucky (SEC)

Sun: Wake Forest (ACC) vs. Utah (Pac-12 #5)

Music City: Iowa (Big Ten) vs. Georgia (SEC)

Arizona: Air Force (MWC) vs. Idaho (Sun Belt)

Citrus: Florida State (ACC) vs. Auburn (SEC)

TaxSlayer: Miami FL (ACC) vs. LSU (SEC)

Outback: Nebraska (Big Ten) vs. Florida (SEC)


Bowl Projections (Round One)

PEACH BOWL (1) Alabama vs. (4) Washington

FIESTA BOWL (2) Ohio State vs. (3) Clemson

ROSE BOWL Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs. Utah (Pac-12)

SUGAR BOWL Oklahoma (Big-12) vs. LSU (SEC)

ORANGE BOWL Louisville (ACC) vs. Michigan (At-Large)

COTTON BOWL Penn State (At-Large) vs. Western Michigan (At-Large)

OUTBACK Nebraska (Big Ten) vs. Auburn (SEC #3-8)

TAXSLAYER Virginia Tech (ACC) vs. Florida (SEC #3-8)

CITRUS North Carolina (ACC) vs. Tennessee (SEC #3-8)

ARIZONA Idaho (Sun Belt) vs. Colorado State (MWC)

MUSIC CITY Iowa (Big Ten #5-7) vs. Arkansas (SEC #3-8)

SUN Wake Forest (ACC) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 #5)

LIBERTY TCU (Big 12 #5) vs. Georgia (SEC #3-8)

ALAMO West Virginia (Big 12 #2) vs. Colorado (Pac-12 #2)

BELK Miami (ACC) vs. South Carolina (SEC)

BIRMINGHAM Kentucky (SEC #9) vs. Texas Tech***

TEXAS Baylor (Big 12 #4) vs. Texas A&M (SEC #3-8)

FOSTER FARMS Indiana (Big Ten) vs. Washington State (Pac-12 #4)

RUSSELL ATHLETIC Florida State (ACC #2) vs. Oklahoma State (Big 12 #3)

PINSTRIPE Pittsburgh (ACC) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten)

CACTUS Texas (Big 12 #6) vs. Air Force***

HOLIDAY Minnesota (Big Ten) vs. USC (Pac-12 #3)

MILITARY Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Houston (American)

HEART OF DALLAS Louisiana-Lafayette*** vs. Western Kentucky (C-USA)

INDEPENDENCE Ole Miss (SEC #9) vs. N.C. State***

QUICK LANE Maryland (Big Ten) vs. Army***

ST. PETERSBURG South Florida (American) vs. Mississippi State***

HAWAII Southern Miss (C-USA) vs. Hawaii***

DOLLAR GENERAL Toledo (MAC #1) vs. Appalachian State (Sun Belt #2)

ARMED FORCES Kansas State (Big 12 #7) vs. Navy (American)

BAHAMAS Miami OH (MAC) vs. Tulsa (American)

IDAHO POTATO Ohio (MAC #2) vs. Wyoming (MWC)

POINSETTIA San Diego State (MWC) vs. BYU (Independent)

BOCA RATON Old Dominion (C-USA) vs. Memphis (American)

MIAMI BEACH Central Michigan (MAC) vs. Temple (American)

NEW ORLEANS Troy (Sun Belt #1) vs. Louisiana Tech (C-USA)

CURE South Alabama (Sun Belt) vs. Central Florida (American)

CAMELLIA Arkansas State (Sun Belt #3) vs. Eastern Michigan (MAC #3)

LAS VEGAS Boise State (MWC #1) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12 #6)

NEW MEXICO UTSA (C-USA) vs. New Mexico (MWC)