1. James Franklin, Penn State- This is the “homerun” hire. He won and recruited well at Vanderbilt. Imagine how that will translate at a school that demands double-digit wins yearly? Sure, the school is still in probation. However, expect Franklin to have this team very competitive when the penalties clear.
2. Chris Peterson, Washington- The man who sustained excellence at Boise State will now have a Pac 12 school to sell. Peterson is an improvement over the man he replaces, so U-Dub fans should be quite excited about the future.
3. Charlie Strong, Texas- A little bit of a gamble? Sure. But Strong has done nothing but win as a head coach. He should be able to recruit Texas and the SEC hot beds. Strong’s personality may clash a bit in Austin, but as long as the Horns as long as the Horns are winning, no one will be complaining.
4. Bobby Diaco, UConn- The Huskies went out there and grabbed one of the hottest, if not the hottest young coordinators in the country. Sure, Pat Narduzzi said “no” to the job, but to get Diaco was a great consolation prize. Diaco brings immediate respect to a program that is looking for anything positive.
5. Bobby Petrino, Louisville- The hire came with much snickering. But the bottom-line is Petrino wins, and did a lot of it at Louisville in his first stint there. The Cards also get someone who probably will be content to stick around for a long time. Petrino should do well there…as long as he stays away from motorcycles…too easy.
6. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt- Another hot, young coordinator, Mason guided a solid Stanford defense for the past four years. Vandy’s recruiting shouldn’t miss much of a beat with Mason replacing Franklin. And he should also play well with the media. Look for Vandy to remain relevant in the SEC.
7. Bryan Harsin, Boise State- Who better to replace Peterson than someone who had been affiliated with Boise before, and has been a head coach at this level. Harsin knows the school, the recruiting grounds, the offense and much much more. It’s difficult to think there’s a better fit. It’s also difficult to think Boise State will fall off the map.
8. Craig Bohl, Wyoming- He just finished winning three straight championships at the FCS level. Bohl will bring instant credibility to the Cowboys. Besides, low expectations to start should give him some time to get acclimated.
9. Mark Whipple, UMass- The prodigal son returns to Amherst in an effort to save a program that has been a dumpster fire at the FBS level. It’s a solid hire. Whipple has recruiting connections up and down the east coast, including Florida. He also knows New England, and should have the support of the alumni.
10. Dino Babers, Bowling Green- He learned under Art Briles. Can someone say UberMaction?
Yes, I know omitted Steve Sarkisian.