Three-Point Stance: Coaching carousel, rivalry games, high school playoffs
Rivals.com national analyst Cole Patterson highlights the coaching carousel, rivalry showdowns and playoff performers in this week's Three-Point Stance.
CLASS OF 2026 RANKINGS: Rivals100
1. COACHING CAROUSEL UNDERWAY
The coaching carousel kicked off in a major way just a couple of short weeks ago. None other than the SEC led the charge, as Texas A&M fired Jimbo Fisher and then Mississippi State let go of Zach Arnett about 24 hours later -- right after the Aggies and Bulldogs played each other in conference action.
But things are likely only going to get crazier in the coming days. With the regular season coming to a conclusion, athletic directors will surely be making tough - or, in some cases, easy - decisions to kick off a coaching search and breathe fresh life into their football program. Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek recently backed Sam Pittman after a disappointing fall. But that won't be the same with every program.
Houston and Baylor are among the programs in the Mid-South to watch. Others could become open depending on where A&M and Mississippi State go in their searches. And that's not even factoring in potential coordinator changes.
It's about to get hectic in the coaching world.
2. RIVALRY SHOWDOWNS
Thanksgiving weekend is always the time of the year where some of the biggest rivalries take center stage as families sit down and eat their turkey leftovers. Saturday features two of the most heated in the Iron Bowl and The Game, both of which will be interesting for different reasons.
Hugh Freeze has a track record of knocking off Nick Saban in unlikely ways dating back to his tenure at Ole Miss. He'll have the opportunity to do the same this weekend as the Tigers welcome the Crimson Tide into town. Auburn has had its fair share of struggles during the first season of the Freeze era but he'll pull all of the tricks out of his bag in the showdown.
The Game, meanwhile, is pretty much a playoff game. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines are undefeated and sit inside the top-four of the College Football Playoff rankings. A win for either all but solidifies a berth in the four-team postseason, whereas a loss could knock off the other from contention all together.
There's a lot on the line, even aside from bragging rights. Ryan Day is under pressure to beat Michigan - especially with the Wolverines being without Jim Harbaugh on Saturday. All eyes will be on the meeting in the Big House.
3. PROSPECTS IMPRESS DURING STATE PLAYOFFS
The playoffs in Texas set the stage for playmakers to make names for themselves in big ways. That is certainly the case this year through three rounds in the Lone Star State. A few players have really stood out to me over the past few weeks...
Aaron Flowers - The Oregon commit grabbed an interception and made the tackle to seal the win for Forney in the second-round earlier this month. He's an intelligent safety that roams around in the secondary, providing a boost in coverage and in run defense. Flowers is set to a rise in his ranking at the next update thanks to how he has performed as a senior.
Javian Osborne - Only a sophomore, Osborne has posted video game numbers all season long for Forney and that was no different in the playoffs. He rushed for over 200 yards and reached the end zone twice in a nail biting win. The four-star is one of the best in his class and has Texas and USC calling.
Michael Fasusi - He's already highly regarded by Rivals and he backed up his high four-star status in the opening playoff game for Lewisville. Fasusi is an athletic tackle that blocks and moves well for his size in pass protection and in run blocking. He more than stood out in his individual battle against Texas commit Zina Umeozulu.
Micah Hudson - Hudson has always impressed when taking the field as he's a touchdown waiting to happen when the ball is thrown his way. The Texas Tech commit hauled in a pair of touchdowns during his final high school game as he lived up to his five-star billing. Expectations are high as he preps for his future in Lubbock.
Ty Haywood - Another junior tackle, Haywood passes the eye test and backs it up on the field. He anchors a Denton Ryan offensive line that has overpowered opponents, and he flashes in pass pro with his length and overall size. Oklahoma, Texas and TCU are among the favorites for the tackle that's from Mississippi.