TERRY LEWIS: Need a coach? Here's a good list from which to startsports The Albany Herald, Ga. — Terry Lewis The Albany Herald, Ga.
Nov. 14--While most college football pundits and fans are concentrating on which four teams will make the final cut in the CFP, there is another game afoot not many are paying attention to.
After the weekend firing of Tennessee's Butch Jones, three teams in the SEC need head coaches -- Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida. By season's end, three more SEC schools -- Texas A&M, Arkansas and Mississippi State -- could join the mix.
I throw Hail State in there because I believe Dan Mullen will be coaching somewhere other that Starkville next season.
That's half of the SEC. Incredible, isn't it? But consider Nebraska will also need a coach, and possibly so will North Carolina.
So who's out there and available? I have six names on a short list:
If I pull my index card of names, which every AD in America should have tucked away in theirs desk drawer, here's who I would call:
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: He's 45 and 68-45 in nine years at MSU. He's taken the Bullies to seven (soon to be eigth) straight bowl games. If you can win in Starkville, that is impressive. He was also Urban Meyer's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Florida.
And if there is one thing the Gators need right now, it's an offensive identity.
Les Miles, unemployed: At 64, 141 -- 55, Miles, who was handed his walking papers at LSU last year, has made no secret of his desire to return to the sidelines. If you think he might be too old, remember he has a big ring and he's two years younger than Nick Saban.
The old grass eater will coach again, the big question is where?
Chip Kelly, broadcaster: He is 53 and was 46-7 at Oregon. Yeah, he bombed in the NFL with the Eagles, but so did Saban with the Dolphins.
Kelly is also a bit of a mystery. Did Marcus Mariota make Kelly at Oregon, or did Kelly make Mariota? I have a feeling we are going to find out next season.
Scott Frost, 42, 15-7: In just his second year as a head coach, the Central Florida head coach has the Knights at 9-0, one of just four unbeaten teams left in the Divison I. The former Nebraska quarterback seems like a natural fit for the Huskers, but that won't be the only phone call he gets.
But it's hard to say no when mama calls.
Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic: He's 42 and 42-24. He has been the head coach at Southern Cal, the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee, Yeah, that guy. Listen, and you can hear heads exploding all over the place. If a team needs an offensive mind, Kiffin is the guy. He can coach, but is he mature enough to coexist? He'll grow up one day and is going to win a lot of games somewhere.
FAU is not big enough contain Joey Freshwater's ego, but he'll land a big time gig eventually.
Bryan Harsin, 41, 46-16 at Arkansas State and Boise State: Yeah, you've never heard of this guy. But you will eventually.
Others on the radar: Don't sleep on Matt Campbell at Iowa State. Houston Nutt wants to get back in the game, and Jon Gruden (don't believe Tennessee fans) is not leaving the broadcast booth.
The bottom line is at least eight Division I teams will need head coaches for next season, with six to seven solid names available. If I'm the AD at one of those eight schools, I'm making my calls now, lest I get caught in an Ed Ogeron experience like LSU.
Email Terry Lewis at email@example.com. Follow @ABH_TerryLewis on Twitter.
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