The names are familiar. So are their success stories, but as the 2017 college football season rapidly approaches, there are different challenges for a score of coaches who have moved to different jobs.
Here's TMG's look at the most interesting moves of the off-season.
- Tom Herman, Texas. Herman was the coach in waiting for most of last season as Charlie Strong 's fading hopes finally fizzled out. Going 22-4 in two years at Houston, made Herman the designated choice among Longhorn backers. Strong left 17 starters on the table. Now all Herman has to do is coach them, which almost everyone thinks he can do. The eyes of Texas and almost every other part of the country will be on what is going on in Austin.
- Charlie Strong, South Florida. Strong didn't stay unemployed very long. The former Florida assistant returns to the roots of his success with a South Florida team which has 16 starters returning from last season's 12-1 team, a schedule in which the Bulls should be favored in every regular season game they play. There are NO obvious excuses for losing this season, which puts Strong in the spotlight with the greatest of expectations.
- P.J. Fleck, Minnesota. Fleck took Western Michigan as high as it could go last season, with a 13-1 record and a trip to the Cotton Bowl. After a rumor of the week marathon about where Fleck would wind up, it appeared that he was going to stay put for another season. Moving into the Big Ten West will be easier than the Big Ten East and the Gophers could be a surprise division contender this season, which will only enhance P.J.'s reputation as a Western Division version of Urban Meyer.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
- Willie Taggart, Oregon. You can see the building blocks---Western Kentucky, South Florida and now Oregon. Willie Taggart is on the fast track. Now he is in a Power 5 conference Program. Some off the field off-season training methods brought some bad publicity to the Ducks. But the Nike money is still there, the facilities are second to none and Oregon COULD be a player sooner rather than later.
- Matt Rhule, Baylor. Rhule took Temple as high as it could climb the past few years. The most logical next step would seem to be Penn State for Rhule, who was linebacker in Happy Valley. But the Nittany Lions Rose Bowl trip last season solidified James Franklin's status. Rhule comes to a Baylor program that has been a cesspool the last few years. It will be a long tough task for a coach who has NO ties in the Big 12.
- Randy Edsall, Connecticut. Chapter 2 for Edsall who built the Huskies from a 1AA team into a program that reached the Fiesta Bowl in 2010. Edsall bolted for Maryland, leaving some UConn backers with a bitter taste. Now he is back after the failures of Paul Pasqualoni and Bob Diaco. Edsall knows how to coach and he knows how to build. Just how quickly he can do it remains the question.
- Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma. Bob Stoops' decision to retire at OU in June left Sooner Athletic Director Joe Castiglione with a problem of finding a new coach for a Top 10 program on short notice. Luckily, OU had a coach in waiting on Stoops' staff in 33 year old Lincoln Riley, who was regarded as a potential star by almost everyone. Now Riley, who is the youngest coach in the FBS, has a Top 10 team to help him make his debut.
- Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic. Kiffin spent 3 years at Alabama rebuilding his reputation as a coach and person who can handle coaching. Alabama won and won steadily with Kiffin running Bama coach Nick Saban's offense. But the maturity level for the 41 year old Kiffiin still was in question, which was why he has moved on. Coaching at FAU is not the same as coaching in the NFL, SEC or Pac-12, which are on Kiffin's resume. But it is a head job and Kiffin does know how to coach. After that, however, it's still a jump ball situation.
- Ed Orgeron, LSU. He took over last year for Les Miles and is a GREAT recruiter and assistant coach. Whether he is even a good head coach remains to be seen, but he has his dream job at LSU and in the SEC. He bombed out at Ole Miss 10 years ago, but second chances are always fun to watch, especially at a place that has winning tradition such as LSU.
- Butch Davis, Florida International. See Lane Kiffin, although Davis has more of a maturity factor than Kiffin. He did leave North Carolina with academic fraud issues hovering around the program. But that was 10 years ago and this is a last hurrah type of situation for Davis, who won a national championship at Miami.[/membership]