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Top 10 Best Coaching Hires in College Football for 2013

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Top 10 Best Coaching Hires for 2013

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

There were 31 College Football teams that either went looking or were forced to hire a new coach in the past 45 days.

That’s right...


And unfortunately none of these 31 coaches in a new gig is Houston Nutt...

You know the game just isn't the same with out the Nutt running a muck...

But some how 119 universities and millions of fans will find a way to carry on without him.

But that does leave 31 coaches to be put under the microscope and to dissected from every possible angle.

Now most of these coaches are not new. They are just the same old guys looking to find new life by rebuilding a dead program. Others are the fresh, young minds in the game looking to stake their claim to greatness. And there are those that are hired with specific instructions to not screw up what the guy before them built.

But every fan knows the coaches that will be the most scrutinized and watched are those that will be taking over a program that was either a full fledged grease fire or getting close to being a dumpster fire.

One can only imagine what the first few hours on the job was like for these guys and what the next 13 days before National Signing Day will hold as they begin their legacy at their new school.

So with that being said, who are the Top 10 Best Coaching Hires?

Who are the best of the best...

Or, better yet, who will provide us as fans the most drama...

Let’s take a look...

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No. 10 - Tommy Tubberville, Cincinnati Bearcats

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Tubberville makes the Top 10 as he takes over the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2013.

This is definitely not Tubberville’s first pony show and this stop will be his most interesting.

After getting put out to pasture in Auburn, Alabama and then watching his players plus Cam Newton win the BCS National Championship while holding down the fort in Lubbock, Texas, one would think Tubberville is ready to shock the world as the underdog with the Bearcats.

He will have the talent and the ability to recruit some very athletic players for sure.

Which makes Tubberville a great hire and an even better coach to watch.

Let's just hope he doesn't leave any dinners early or punch any graduate assistants.

Or maybe we do...

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No. 9 - Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knew that the shady and sketchy Bobby Petrino would land somewhere.

Would it be a big name powerhouse like the dream job he had before he let his manly parts and pride get in the way of his duty to his players in Fayetteville, Arkansas...

Or would he even be able to get a job at all...

Well, the new dream, at least for the next 300 plus days, will be with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

And every fan in College Football will be watching because Petrino is such a polarizing man.

Let’s just hope his bonus in not a motorcycle and the women’s volleyball team is not that good looking

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No. 8 - Mark Stoops, Kentucky Wildcats

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to believe that the team that may not make the cut in what is the greatness everyone knows as SEC Football is the Kentucky Wildcats.

For years, all the smart people in just knew that the Vanderbilt Commodores would be the team that could not and would not be able to compete.


Now it is clear Mark Stoops might have the toughest task of any of these 31 coaches.

Kentucky is nowhere near being able to compete in the SEC...

And with Charlie Strong at the helm of the Louisville Cardinals and Bobby Petrino with the Western Kentucky Wildcats, what will the Wildcats have left to recruit from locally?

That’s why Stoops was hired and why he will be an interesting watch to see how quickly he can bring Kentucky back to the level of the SEC.

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No. 7 - Steve Addazio, Boston College Eagles

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports


Run with this sport writer on this one...

Steve Addazio has tremendous pedigree as he was the Offensive Coordinator for Urban Meyer for all those great years with the Florida Gators.

He turned the Temple Owls into a relevant and dangerous team in the Big East in a very short amount of time.

He has deep pockets and a great environment to play with the Boston College Eagles.

And, most importantly, Addazio knows how to and has the contacts to recruit the state of Florida.

ACC Football will take a huge bump in national respect if he can bring the consistency of the Gators to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.


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No. 6 - Kliff Kingsburry, Texas Tech Red Raiders

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

There is not too many times the golden boy gets a chances to come home...

And that is exactly what Kliff Kingsbury gets a chances to do with his Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The guy holds 39 Texas Tech records, 13 Big 12 records and seven College Football records.

He is one of three players to throw for over 10,000 yards, gain more than 10,000 total yards and complete more than 1,000 passes in a College Football career.

And there is a lot more that every recruit will see on their visit and every player who bleeds the red and black will see every day in reference to their new leader.

Plus the guy made Johnny Manziel into a superstar.

Smartest hire every made by Texas Tech.

It will go down as a close second to the homecoming Steve Spurrier had with the Florida Gators.

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No. 5 - Gus Malzahn, Auburn Tigers

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Not much can be said about what the Auburn Tigers experienced in 2012.

It was simply the worst season ever in the history of the program as the entire team, band, fans and water boys all simply quit on Gene Chizik.

Even then defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder said it would be years before Auburn would be viable again.

Well, after all kind of rumors swirled around who would be the guy the Tigers made a bold move and one that will immediately get them back as a winner in the SEC by bringing back Gus Malzahn.

Think about it for a second...

Malzahn walks back into a place he knew, won a BCS National Championship and also a situation where he has 90% of the guys he recruited to run his offense.

Smart hire that will look even smarter when Auburn wins seven or eight games in 2013.

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No. 4 - Butch Jones, Tennessee Volunteers

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

There was no bigger debacle in the past few months than what was the Coaching Search for the Tennessee Volunteers.

Everyone, including this sports writer, turned down the Vols for the job...

Tennessee AD Dave Hart fell in love with John Gruden and wouldn't take no for an answer...

It was so bad, it was confirmed that Phillip Fulmer had been contacted and had a full staff ready to go in case their last candidate turned the Vols down...

But thankfully for everyone, Butch Jones couldn't say no to Good Ole Rocky Top.

Jones is a great hire and a guy who has proven he can take on high expectations and be successful.

A disciple of Brian Kelly, Jones continued the success with both the Central Michigan Chippewas and the Cincinnati Bearcats.

But this time, Jones is not following Kelly...

And putting the pieces of a shattered Tennessee program will be the greatest task of his career...

But a task that could yield the greatest reward of any of the 31 hires this season...

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No. 3 - Gary Andersen, Wisconsin Badgers

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Left at the alter of the Rose Bowl, the Wisconsin Badgers got a late start and was one of the final schools to interview candidates to fill it’s surprise vacancy when Bert Bielema bolted for the SEC and the Arkansas Razorbacks.

But great things come to those who wait and the Badgers simply got a gem with the addition of Gary Andersen.


This Andersen is not the 59 year old kicker who might still be in the NFL...

But a football genius who built the Utah State Aggies into a power from the Mid-Major level in all of College Football.

Andersen brings basically the same offensive scheme but adds a defensive mindset the likes of the Big 10 haven’t seen in ages.

He will be an immediate winner and will have Wisconsin as one of the best teams in the conference year in and year out.

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No. 2 - Dave Doeren, North Carolina State Wolfpack

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

And the winner of the super sexy hire of the 2012 Coaching Carousel is the...

North Carolina State Wolfpack!

That’s right folks...

The Wolfpack picked up the hot commodity in Dave Doeren after he guided the North Illinois Huskies to a BCS Bowl berth in the Discover Orange Bowl against the ACC Champion Florida State Seminoles.

And he was also the first hire of the 31 openings and a guy NC State AD Kay Yow thinks can bring the Wolfpack to the level of the Alabama Crimson Tide...


In the dictionary under mediocre there is a picture of the Wolfpack...

But he is very passionate about winning the recruiting battle in the state of North Carolina and changing the entire culture of football in Raleigh, North Carolina.

His passion and fire to prove himself will carry State to a level it has never reached...

Making Doeren a great hire and a fun watch for the next few years...

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No. 1 - Bert Bielema, Arkansas Razorbacks

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

And the winner in the 2012 Coaching Carousel is the...

Arkansas Razorback!

The Razorbacks needed something big after the scandal that was Bobby Petrino blew up the program in 2012.

A lot of names were tossed around...

A lot of secret visits were made...

But in the end, Arkansas shocked everyone when they stole Bert Bielema away from the Wisconsin Badgers.

And it was simply a brilliant hire...

Bielema brings a hard nosed, no-nonsense approach that is the complete opposite of the mess that was Petrino and Huston Nutt.

He is a guy who can has the connections to get the best athletes from the middle of the country to come to the Ozark Mountains...

And he is the guy who hired Randy Shannon to bring in the elite studs from the state of Florida, Texas and the south to come and win a National Title in the heralded SEC.

Arkansas has a cupboard that is about as bare as any team in the SEC next to the Kentucky Wildcats so it may take him a year to get things rolling...

But the nation needs to be on watch...

If Bielema leads the Razorbacks to an eight win season in 2013, the sky is the limit for what he can accomplish in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Whooooooooooo Pig!



M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.

Follow him @woodysmalls.