College Football Power Rankings: Top 10 Coaching Hires This Season

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The 10 Best Coaching Hires Made in College Football

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Beth Hall-USA TODAY SPORTS

College football has seen a revolving door at the coaching position in the past few weeks with firings, rumors of interviews, prolonged coaching searches (Tennessee) and a number of old faces in new places.

Some big-time names like Jon Gruden, Jim Tressel and Butch Davis were rumored to be targets at some schools or desperate to get back into coaching, but have turned down job overtures as Gruden did at Tennessee or remain on the sidelines--pun intended--and without a collegiate job.

Double-digit schools have either fired their coach or had their incumbent coach bolt for greener pastures leaving the school in the lurch.

However, all those openings paled in comparison to the openings in the nation’s preeminent conference, where the SEC had four openings to fill. Rumors were rampant and fan bases lit up message boards with their thoughts on who should and who shouldn’t be the next school of their team.

Another prime opportunity presented itself at South Florida where the opportunity to coach J'Dinkalage Morgoon could not be taken lightly.

When the music stopped and a number of the chairs were filled, I wanted to evaluate the hiring’s and see which school came out on top and which school may be in this position all over again in three years.

Two big openings that have yet to be filled are Texas Tech and Wisconsin. If Tech hires Kliff Kingsbury as is being rumored and Wisconsin makes a homerun hire say, Chris Petersen, then they vault to the top of this list.

Without further ado, these are the top 10 hiring’s made in the college football.

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Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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Willie Taggert-South Florida

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The former Western Kentucky coach served as an assistant under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford before taking the job at WKU, a program that was just starting FBS competition in the Sun Belt. Taggert owns a win over Kentucky this season has been a big winner after some early growing pains. He heads to USF where he has a long-standing relationship with a number of high school coaches and should be able to recruit well and potentially have USF contending for Big East conference titles in the near future.

But i think the main reason he wanted to come to USF was the opportunity to coach the illustrious and infamous J'Dinkalage Morgoon.

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Tommy Tuberville-Cincinnati

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Apparently 'Coach Tubs' was rather desperate to get out of Lubbock, Tx, because the former Texas Tech coach bolted at the first chance he could get when the Cincinnati job opened up after Butch Jones took the Tennessee job. Tuberville has a long track record of success at Ole Miss, Auburn, and Tech and should step right in and continue his winning ways with a team that claimed at least a share of the Big East each of the past two seasons.

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Mike MacIntyre-Colorado

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Colorado thought they had their man in Butch Jones who turned down their offer to replace John Embree who was dismissed after only two seasons in Boulder, but got MacIntyre who turned around San Jose State from 1-12 in his first season to a 10-2 mark in year three, a ranking in the top 25 for the first time in the school’s history and a trip to the Military Bowl.

He was able to recruit very well in California and brought in some nice talent in the WAC, and can continue that California pipeline of prep talent and extend it a little bit east into the Rocky Mountains.

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Mark Stoops-Kentucky

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The former Florida State defensive coordinator does not have any prior head coaching experience, but he does have the bloodlines with brother Bob being one of the best coaches in the game at Oklahoma and other broker Mike once serving as head coach at Arizona, where Mark was his defensive coordinator after he was the defensive backs coach at Miami. He has a great rack record on the defensive side of the ball and will need it playing in the uber-competitive SEC. It will be tough to win there, but six or seven wins will be the equivalent there of winning the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

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Sonny Dykes-California

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Commanding the La Tech team to a superb 9-3 record and averaging more than 50 points per game which ranks first in the nation has made Dykes--a relative newcomer to the head coaching ranks—already one of the top offensive minds in the game. His style will be easy to translate in the Pac 12 and should be able to get the program to where it once was under Jeff Tedford.

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Dave Doeren-North Carolina State

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In his second year at Northern Illinois, Doeren is just a one-point loss at Iowa from having an undefeated record. Nonetheless, Doeren has the Huskies in the Discover Orange Bowl after winning the Mid American Conference Championship for the second year in a row, and making Jordan Lynch a Heisman candidate along the way. The former Wisconsin assistant steps into the job previously held by Tom O’Brien.

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Butch Jones-Tennessee

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Jones earned a share of the Big East title this season for the second straight year and has won 19 games over the past two seasons for the Bearcats. One of the hottest coaching candidates in the country, Jones has previously drawn interest from Kentucky, Purdue and Colorado before being presented with the opportunity offered by the Volunteers. A winner at every stop along his coaching career, Jones replaces Derek Dooley who was a major flop in Knoxville; will Jones suffer a similar fate? Only time will tell, but Jones has a far better resume at the time of hire than Dooley did, who was under .500 at the time he was brought in from La Tech.

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Bobby Petrino-Western Kentucky

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The former coach at Arkansas and Louisville was the most proven winner on the market and brings a brilliant offensive mind to Western Kentucky. Petrino was fired prior to the start of the 2012 season amid controversy following his extra-marital affair with a staffer in the Arkansas athletic department, but you cannot deny his ability to recruit, coach, and win on the collegiate level.

Petrino was desperate to get back into coaching and this job will be in an environment with much less pressure than his previous jobs and will allow him to rehabilitate his image and perhaps get back into the SEC where he had won 34 of 51 games while in Fayetteville. He replaces Willie Taggert who left for the University of South Florida.

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Gus Malzahn-Auburn

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Malzahn returns to The Plains where he was the offensive coordinator during the magical 2010 season that resulted in a 14-0 season that ended with a BCS National Championship and his star quarterback, Cam Newton, winning the Heisman trophy. After a one-year stint at Arkansas State brought him a Sun Belt championship he is back at Auburn following the dismissal of Gene Chizik. The Tigers struggled mightily on offense last season, but should see a dramatic improvement under the tutelage of Malzahn. It is highly likely that he doubles last year’s win total of three and has Auburn back in a bowl game.

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Bret Bielema-Arkansas

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This was a shocking hire and one that left Wisconsin officials and athletic director Barry Alvarez in disbelief. Bielema led the Badgers to a third straight Rose Bowl this season and figured to be in Madison for the long haul. However, the lure of the SEC was too great for Bielema to pass up and takes his no nonsense attitude to Fayetteville where they could use some discipline and order after a season that many Hogs fans would soon like to forget. The road to a conference title is much harder in the SEC than in the Big Ten, but Bielema believes he is up for the challenge.

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