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Ranking the Power Five jobs that have opened so far in 2017

It was a wild and crazy weekend on the coaching carousel. Some openings were filled, one was thought to be filled only to have it not happen because of fan backlash, others opened and others were still waiting to be filled. Got it?

Here’s a look at the 10 positions of note and why these jobs are ranked in this order.

MIND OF MIKE: Takeaways from a wild day on the Coaching Carousel


Dan Mullen
Dan Mullen (AP Images)

Amid all the chaos of the weekend and after losing out on Chip Kelly to UCLA, the Gators did the wise and responsible thing by hiring Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, who was an offensive coordinator at Florida during the glory years of Urban Meyer. Mullen was 69-46 at Mississippi State, took the Bulldogs to No. 1 nationally in 2014 and basically maxed out his abilities in Starkville. Florida’s offense has been woeful basically since Mullen left and he has the opportunity to breathe some life back into that side of the ball. Defensively, the Gators have been great. Florida should be a perennial SEC power and Mullen might be the best hire possible.


There is a lot going at Texas A&M from facilities to big-time money to a belief that the Aggies should be competing for conference - and even national - titles on a yearly basis. It seemed like every season former coach Kevin Sumlin, who was fired over the weekend, had the A&M faithful excited early in the season, only to see the Aggies frustratingly collapse year after year. Texas A&M brass finally had enough this season. According to sources, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is expected to take the job later this week. That would be one of the biggest coaching changes in recent memory and huge for the Aggies. The one concern: Texas A&M is still in the brutal SEC West.


The fan base is one of the best in college football, the game-day experience has been outstanding in years past and Nebraska could be one of the more special jobs in college football. It has not been in the last few years under former coach Mike Riley, who went 19-19 overall and had a losing record in three seasons in the Big Ten. The top candidate to replace Riley is UCF coach Scott Frost, a Nebraska native who played QB for the Huskers, and it seems like the stars are lining up in that fashion. If Frost doesn’t take the job, there would be a lot of understandable disappointment among the rabid fan base. Recruiting is difficult in a landlocked state without tons of local talent, but the Huskers have done well in California and other talent-rich areas. Frost’s connections in Florida could really help.


The Vols are fourth on this list for a few reasons, but mainly because of the bungling of AD John Currie with the Greg Schiano situation over the weekend. Schiano was to be named Tennessee’s coach until fan backlash and then Currie pulled the offer and is now without a coach in place. That is horrendous mismanagement and now the question needs to be asked what level of coach will want this job? Tennessee has a rabid fan base and a recruiting territory that is getting better, plus border states where they can get top talent. But the last three coach hires were Butch Jones, Derek Dooley and Lane Kiffin. No wonder the fans aren’t thrilled.


Chip Kelly
Chip Kelly (AP Images)

The blockbuster hire of the weekend goes to UCLA, which parted ways with Jim Mora and landed Chip Kelly, who is an innovative offensive mind and has Pac-12 and NFL experience. It could not have gone much better for the Bruins, who slid into mediocrity the last couple seasons even though QB Josh Rosen could be the first player taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. Kelly took Oregon to the national championship game and had some success with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he’s also developed a reputation as a control freak. The recruiting base is right in UCLA’s backyard, even if the Bruins have to contend with USC for top talent, so Kelly has a lot of things going for him in Westwood. Now, one task is to fill the Rose Bowl every Saturday.


The Sun Devils had two 10-win seasons in Todd Graham’s tenure, but then the defense fell apart in recent years and so did the record, so Graham is gone. The latest rumor out of Tempe is that just-fired Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is the top candidate but others will probably be strongly considered as well. With new facilities and many more attractions, Arizona State could be a sleeping-giant-of-a-job. The Sun Devils have had success getting into Southern California for top players and there is a decent amount of in-state talent as well, as long as the new staff can convince them to stay home. Only once since 2011 has the top prospect in the state gone to either ASU or Arizona.


The Razorbacks gave former coach Bret Bielema all the time in the world to turn around the Arkansas program and in five seasons he finished 29-34 overall, 11-29 in the SEC. This is a tough job, but it’s ahead of some others because there is a really outside shot that the Arkansas brass could steal coach Gus Malzahn from Auburn. There still seems to be some belief that there is mutual interest - especially since Malzahn has so many connections to the state - although it’s hard to believe with the Tigers in the SEC Championship Game this weekend. Recruiting is tough. The SEC West is tougher. Maybe an offensive-minded coach like MemphisMike Norvell, SMU’s Chad Morris or even FAU’s Lane Kiffin could provide a spark?


In 113 years of Mississippi State football, the Bulldogs have only had three 10-win seasons (2014, 1999 and 1940). Starkville is not exactly an easy place to win and Mullen did such a phenomenal job there that it’s going to be tough for the next coach to keep pace. Recruiting is in strong shape with the third-best recruiting class in the SEC, a respectable recruiting territory, talented players in the state and ties into the JUCO market. But the Bulldogs are going to have to keep up their winning ways or a quick trip back to the SEC cellar would not be a major shock.


Matt Luke
Matt Luke (AP Images)

A 6-6 season was actually respectable for coach Matt Luke, who had the interim tag taken off on Monday, considering the offseason antics of then-coach Hugh Freeze, who resigned in late July, the midseason injury to quarterback Shea Patterson and the looming NCAA sanction, the severity of which are unknown. Will the Rebels get clobbered, get a slap on the wrist or will it be something in the middle? No one seems to know - and uncertainty is not good in the recruiting world. Ole Miss has the last-rated class in the SEC and this is a job that could be difficult in the coming years.


Almost every single Oregon State commit wanted Cory Hall, who took over the interim role this season, to get the full-time job. That is now unlikely to happen with Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin, Stanford defensive coordinator Lance Anderson and even Boise State coach Bryan Harsin as possible top candidates. But recruiting to Corvallis is really tough, the Pac-12 is getting much better and Oregon isn’t going anywhere - so the Beavers aren’t the top team in their own state. It’s a difficult, unenviable position that isn’t getting any easier. Winning at Oregon State isn’t impossible - Mike Riley and Dennis Erickson had some success - but recently it’s been really ugly.