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The State of College Football: What's Next for Florida?
With Dan Mullen out who are the top candidates to replace him? We have our two Heisman leaders, but who are they? Alabama and Ohio State are doing something special at receiver...and quarterback too.
College football in November is crazy and I love every second of it. Coaches are being fired, players are leaving their teams and a select few still have all their hopes and dreams in front of them. This week I’ll play the bad guy role and give you 10 coaching candidate that could leave your favorite school, look at the greatness happening at Ohio State and Alabama - *spoiler alert* it’s their QBs and WRs - and also an early preview for “The Game’ between Ohio State and Michigan.
Top 25 Rankings
3. Ohio State
6. Notre Dame
7. Oklahoma State
8. Ole Miss
13. Texas A&M
20. Coastal Carolina
21. Wake Forest
22. NC State
23. San Diego State
Offensive Player of the Week: CJ Stroud, Ohio State: 32/35, 432 yards, 6 TDs
Defensive Player of the Week: Drake Thomas, NC State: 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 2.5 TFLs, 1 INT, 1 TD
Freshman of the Week: Braelon Allen, Wisconsin: 22 carries, 228 yards, 3 TDs
Coach of the Week: Kyle Whittingham, Utah
Bryce Young, Alabama: 31/40, 559 yards, 5 TDs
Malik Cunningham, Louisville: 18/25, 303 yards, 5 TDs, 224 rushing yards, 2 TDs
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati: 17/23, 274 yards, 4 Total TDs (1 rushing)
Tavion Thomas, Utah: 21 carries, 94 yards, 3 TDs
Lew Nichols III , Central Michigan: 32 carries, 219 yards, 3 TDs
Bryant Koback , Toledo: 21 carries, 203 yards, 4 TDs
Jordan Addison, Pitt: 14 catches, 202 yards, 4 TDs
Treylon Burks, Arkansas: 8 catches, 179 yards, 2 TDs
Milton Wright, Purdue: 8 catches, 213 yards, 3 TDs
*All the Alabama and Ohio State receivers
Charlie Kolar, Iowa State: 12 catches, 152 yards, 1 TD
Brant Kuithe, Utah: 5 catches, 118 yards
Austin Allen, Nebraska: 7 catches,143 yards
Air Force: 476 yards, 5 TDs
Clemson: 333 yards, 4 TDs
Louisville: 384 yards, 4 TDs
Will Anderson Jr., Alabama: 11 tackles, 1 sack, 3.5 TFLs
Myles Murphy, Clemson: 3 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1.5 TFLs
Jalen Redmond, Oklahoma: 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1.5 TFLs, 1 TD
Henry To'oTo'o, Alabama: 13 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFLs
Mike Rose, Iowa State: 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFLs
Delarrin Turner-Yell, Oklahoma: 11 tackles, 1 INT
Collin Wilder, Wisconsin: 2 tackles, 2 INTs
Where I Was Right / Where I Was Wrong
Right: Utah > Oregon
First off, the Utah uniforms worn this weekend were some of the best uniforms I’ve seen in awhile. But if you’re going to wear a uniform in honor of our military you better be able to back it up and that’s exactly what Utah did.
Secondly, Utah was able to win the game with a strong rushing attack and stellar defense. The Utes were able to derail Oregon’s season and most likely end their College Football Playoff hopes. I would love to say that I had some great analysis that led me to pick Utah over Oregon but I did not. “I got a feelin” - Black Eyed Peas. And it led me to pick Utah. So call it god, intuition or Fergie but I got this one right.
Wrong: I got nothing for this week. Let’s just be positive. Happy Thanksgiving!
—Dan Mullen out at Florida
In somewhat of a surprise move, the Florida Gators have fired head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen’s name has been mentioned in the hot seat rumors for a few weeks now but the Gators finally made the move after a 24-23 loss to Missouri on Saturday. With a 34-15 record at Florida and two bowl game wins, Mullen wasn’t exactly struggling at Florida but the Gators 5-6 record this year, along with poor recruiting, led to Mullen’s departure. The big question is what is next for Florida.
The Gators will be one of, if not the, top job this coaching cycle but they won’t exactly have their choice for head coach. In conference opponent LSU isn’t afraid to pay coaches top dollar and they have some of the best facilities and resources in college football. Add in the openings at Virginia Tech and USC and Florida is looking like they could be the third, or fourth, best job this offseason. The good news is there are plenty of good coaches that could be interested in the Florida job - and the other openings.
Billy Napier, Louisiana
Napier should be one of the top coaching candidates to take over at a big program but we could see a lot of movement amongst the blue blood schools. I’m looking at you James Franklin. But Napier is 38-12 with three straight 10 win seasons at Louisiana - reminder, Louisiana absolutely sucked before Napier got there - but now the Ragin’ Cajuns are one of the top group of five schools in the nation. If LSU makes a swing and misses at Mel Tucker or Lincoln Riley or Lane Kiffin, they might want to take a look at the in-state coach. Hell, they might want to put Napier at the top of their list.
Bob Stoops, Big Noon Kickoff
There is a little bit of buzz about Big Game Bob getting back into the coaching game but I think it would have to be one of the top jobs. LSU, Florida, USC or Oklahoma might be the only programs that could get Stoops (61 years old) to leave his gig at Fox. However, If Lincoln Riley does leave OU, he won’t, Bob Stoops would be begging to take his old job back.
Urban Meyer, Jacksonville
Urban Meyer was heavily rumored to USC when that job opened but he stayed committed to the Jaguars. I believe the Florida job will be a little harder for Meyer to turn down though. Ultimately, I think Meyer stays with the Jaguars, but you at least have to toy with his return to Florida. Maybe he would even put his old friend Tim Tebow on staff. AND, we know he can’t go back to Ohio State now.
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati
Fickell rebuilt a program Tommy Tuberville ran into the ground and became one of the hottest coaching names in college football. The Ohio State product has built a great team in Cincinnati and has them on the verge of a College Football Playoff berth - something no Group of 5 team has ever done. Fickell is 46-14 at Cincinnati and while a move seems likely, the Bearcats move to the Big 12 could be enticing.
Matt Campbell, Iowa State
Much like Luke Fickell, Matt Campbell has been mentioned for numerous jobs the last few years - even in the NFL. But, Campbell has stayed at Iowa State where he has led the Cyclones to some of their most successful seasons in school history. Eventually Campbell will probably leave Iowa State but I’m not sure Florida or USC are the spots he is interested in.
Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss
Ole Lane Kiffin is doing Lane Kiffin things and getting his name rumored for other high paying jobs. I’m not buying into this one just yet but the Lane Train has been known to move on pretty quickly. I am buying into Lane Kiffin getting a new contract and raise to stay at Ole Miss - which is why agents start rumors of their guys being interested in other schools (LSU). This is one I will be watching closely though. There have already been rumors of Kiffin to Miami and LSU, Florida could be next.
Bill O’Brien, Alabama
Bill O’Brien is a name most of you will remember for his poor job as the Texans GM but before he was losing every trade he’s ever made, he was a solid head coach for Penn State and doesn’t get the credit he deserves for keeping that program alive. BOB went 15-9 at Penn State despite heavy NCAA sanctions and even won the 2012 Coach of the Year. Now the offensive coordinator at Alabama, O’Brien could be looking to get back into coaching at the collegiate level.
Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Mark Stoops, brother of Bob, took over at Kentucky in 2013 and has done a very nice job of making the Wildcats relevant in the SEC. With LSU and Florida looking to make coaching hires, Stoops could be a favorite for his fellow SEC opponents. If I were Stoops, or a program looking to hire him, I would bring up the possibility that Kentucky has topped out. Stoops has been able to bring in good recruits - but not at the same level as Florida and Georgia. Kentucky has paid Stoops well - but not like Florida or LSU could. Kentucky has good facilities and resources - but not like Florida and LSU. You get the point.
Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina
A name that gets a little attention but maybe not as much as he should is Jamey Chadwell at Coastal Carolina. Chadwell has been at Coastal for four seasons now and I honestly had never heard of them before Chadwell. Now the Chants are one win away from back-to-back 10-win seasons. Chadwell might not be ready to take over at USC or LSU, but Virginia Tech? That could be exactly what they need in Blacksburg.
Jim Leonhard, Wisconsin
One more name I want to mention is Jim Leonhard at Wisconsin. Leonhard has been a fan favorite at Wisconsin since he was an undersized walk-on in 2001. Now he leads one of the best defenses in the Big Ten but the 39 year old may be looking to build a program of his own. With no head coaching experience Leonhard will most likely have to take over at a smaller program, but it might be time to say goodbye to Madison, WI if you’re Leonhard.
Lastly, all these candidates are great and Florida should be able to land a top candidate. But another story to watch is what happens with quarterbacks Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson. Both quarterbacks have eligibility left but may want to take their talents elsewhere now that Mullen (a QB guru) is no longer head coach. And the same could be said for any of these coaches and schools. I won’t be surprised if we see some players transfer with their coaches this offseason. I’m also betting on a heavy amount of transfers this year.
The Heisman Trophy race has been...boring this year but I think we finally have two deserving candidates - at a position that will actually get votes. This weekend, second-year quarterbacks CJ Stroud and Bryce Young lit it up through the air and in my opinion - had a Heisman moment. Stroud led Ohio State over No. 7 Michigan State with 432 yards and 6 TDs and most of that came in the first half. Not to be shown up, Bryce Young went for 559 yards and 5 TDs against Arkansas. The two star quarterbacks punched their ticket to be on the Heisman ballot for sure but they also have NFL draft fans very excited for the 2023 class! If you don’t believe me maybe you’ll believe Jordan Reid.
—Georgia, Alabama and the CFP
Weeks ago I tweeted that the gap between Alabama and the rest of the nation was bigger than it had ever been. As we all now know, that was wrong. Alabama still looks very good and is very deserving of the number in front of their name, but the gap isn’t big. In fact, I can’t even put them in a tier of their own, not with the way Georgia is playing. I know Georgia and Alabama fans, and all college football fans, are excited about a potential Georgia vs Alabama game in the Playoff but I think we’re forgetting about the SEC championship game, if that’s possible. But there is a very good chance that Alabama doesn’t make the Playoff and there is an even better chance that Michigan won’t make the Playoff (assuming they lose to Ohio State) either. Setting things up nicely for...CINCINNATI!
—The Ohio State and Alabama Receivers
I want to take a minute and pay respect to the greatness we’re seeing at the wide receiver position at Ohio State and Alabama. Alabama has already seen four receivers drafted in the first round of the past two NFL drafts and Jameson Williams and John Metchie could be the next great Alabama duo to be drafted in the first round - making it six receivers over three drafts. Absolutely ridiculous what they’re doing. Especially for a team whose success was built on running the ball and playing good defense. Below you’ll find the crazy numbers this group put up this weekend.
Jameson Williams: 8 catches, 190 yards, 3 TDs
John Metchie III: 10 catches, 173 yards, 1 TDs
The Buckeyes are also building something special with receivers coach Brian Hartline becoming one of the best recruiters, and position coaches, in college football. Ohio State doesn’t have the number of drafted guys that Alabama does yet, but their time is coming. In fact, Jameson Williams is an Ohio State transfer and was kind of buried on the Ohio State depth chart. With Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson catches have been hard to find for any other receiver. Olave and Wilson look like they could join the Alabama trend and have two receivers drafted in the first round of the same draft. But the Buckeyes aren’t stopping there. Sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njjba might be the best of the bunch. WR3 (JSN) for Ohio State has put up 69 catches, 1,132 yards and six touchdowns this season - those numbers might be even better next year without Olave and Wilson. Smith-Njigba won’t be alone though. Ohio State also has Julian Fleming, Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. - and they have all looked very good in limited reps.
Chris Olave: 7 catches, 140 yards, 2 TDs
Garrett Wilson: 7 catches, 126 yards, 2 TDs
Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 10 catches, 105 yards, 1 TD
Week 13 Games to Watch
Thursday, November 25th
Ole Miss @ Mississippi State, 6:30 CT, ESPN
Friday, November 26th
Iowa @ Nebraska, 12:30 CT, BTN
Missouri @ Arkansas, 2:30 CT, CBS
TCU @ Iowa State, 3:30 CT, FS1
North Carolina @ NC State, 6:00 CT, ESPN
Saturday, November 27th
Georgia @ Georgia Tech, 11:00 CT, ABC
Florida State @ Florida, 11:00 CT, ESPN
Alabama @ Auburn, 2:30 CT, CBS
Texas A&M @ LSU, 6:00 CT, ESPN
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State, 6:30 CT, ABC
Ohio State @ Michigan, 11:00 CT, Fox
“The Game” is carrying a little more weight than usual this year with both teams ranked in the top 5 and the winner controlling their destiny in the College Football Playoff. Early betting lines have Ohio State as a 7.5 point favorite - despite the game being played at Michigan - but Ohio State has been on an offensive terror of late, scoring 50+ points in back-to-back games. Michigan hasn’t been this good since Harbaugh got to Ann Arbor so maybe we will see a different outcome this year, right? No chance. Harbs is 0-5 against the Buckeyes and Ryan Day has his team peaking at the perfect time. The line may have some movement this week but my bet is with Brutus - no matter what. I think Ohio State dominates this weekend and heads into the Big Ten championship with another Michigan victory under their belt.