Coaching search: Which coaches should (and will) fill open jobs at LSU, USC, TCU and elsewhere. Dennis Dodd 11, 11, 21
Early signing day is barely five weeks away (Wednesday, Dec. 15). There's your answer as to why nine schools have already changed coaches and two of those schools -- Texas Tech with Joey McGuire, Georgia Southern with Clay Helton -- have already filled their openings.
Recruiting is everything, particularly when judging which coach is going to lead your program in the future. Impatience has become the operative philosophy for athletic directors these days. Three of the nine coaches who lost their jobs did so before the completion of their third seasons
Below, we offer our opinions on the seven FBS jobs currently open, not only who should be hired at each school but who will actually be hired.
Once again, recruiting is everything….
Clay Helton was fired two games into his seventh season with the Trojans. Last week, he was named coach at Georgia Southern. USC interim coach Donte Williams has gone 3-4 since Helton's firing. With Oregon pulling away in the Pac-12 and other conference programs playing with the physicality USC used to be known for (see: Utah), the administration figured it was time for a makeover. At 4-5, the Trojans face the possibility of only their second losing season since 2000.
Who USC should hire -- Luke Fickell, Cincinnati coach: Fickell is the candidate who most resembles what every USC fan longs for -- the days of Pete Carroll. Fickell has brought a stoic excellence to a Bearcats program that is challenging for a College Football Playoff spot.
Who USC will hire -- Luke Fickell, Cincinnati coach: It will take some convincing, but the guess here is that Fickell will be lured West, especially if Cincinnati is left out of the playoff. There has to be a feeling of hitting your head against a cement ceiling for Fickell even with the Bearcats headed to the Big 12 soon. USC would allow him immediate access to elite athletes in a league that would be easier to win than another potential suitor, LSU in the SEC. The key figure in the transaction is his wife, Amy Fickell, who along with her six children will have to be persuaded to accept a culture shift in Southern California….