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Predicting The Future Head Coaches Of College Football's Best Programs

We've transitioned from the college football offseason into the college football preseason. Soon, the actual season will be here. That'll go quickly and, before you know it, it'll be the offseason again. 

And what comes in the offseason?

Coaching moves. 

Some will be fired, some will be hired. Some will leave their current job for better ones. 

Nothing lasts forever in college football, so even if you think your current program is set for the foreseeable future, there's probably a decent chance that you're wrong. Even the best in the sport have to deal with coaching moves once a decade or so. 

Who do you think is the next head coach of your college football program?

We've made our guesses here, predicting the future head coaches of college football's top programs. 

Start With Nebraska ??? >>> 


Next coach: Scott Frost. Current role: UCF head coach.

This is kind of an easy one. It's prediction a lot of Nebraska fans are making, too. 

Mike Riley, 62, isn't going to be with the Huskers for that long even if he does turn it around (it appears he is, too, with a nice bowl win and some good recruiting). 

If Riley has a good five to six seasons and decides to retire as he approaches 70, it's easy to foresee Nebraska turning to Frost, the Huskers' former national champion quarterback. Frost was a candidate for the job when they gave it to Riley, having been Oregon's offensive coordinator for three seasons. 

The 41-year-old coach became UCF's head coach this offseason. 


The money quote from @UCF_Football’s @coach_frost: “I don’t want anyone in our program to be afraid to play anyone”

— 96.9 The Game (@969thegame) February 4, 2016

">@coach_frost: “I don’t want anyone in our program to be afraid to play anyone”

— 96.9 The Game (@969thegame)

The money quote from @UCF_Football’s @coach_frost: “I don’t want anyone in our program to be afraid to play anyone”

— 96.9 The Game (@969thegame) February 4, 2016

">February 4, 2016

With a couple nice seasons in Orlando, he'll be on everyone's list. Next: Michigan State ??? >>>Michigan StateNext coach: Pat Narduzzi Current role: Pittsburgh head coachMark Dantonio's long-time defensive coordinator left the Spartans' program a year ago for his first head coaching gig. We're predicting he'll be the one to replace Dantonio in East Lansing, Mich. when the 59-year-old coach decides to move on.

">October 29, 2015

It makes sense on a number of levels: Narduzzi is familiar with the program and would make for an easy transition; he's 10 years younger than Dantonio, so the timing could work; he's off to a good start with Pittsburgh and should be in-line for a better job in the future.

Would you be OK with Narduzzi eventually replacing Dantonio, Michigan State fans? 

Next: Texas ??? >>>


Next coach: Tom Herman Current role: Houston head coach

Another easy one. This is a prediction that could be coming true in the next season or two, also. 

Charlie Strong is struggling with the Longhorns. Maybe he'll turn it around, but many are expecting him to be out in Austin, Texas within the next 1-2 years if there aren't big changes made. 

Enter: Herman, the wunderkind former Ohio State assistant who's thriving at Houston. 

">@CoachTomHerman and we talked about big things in

Met @CoachTomHerman and we talked about big things in @UHouston's future. Also he let me see his grill.

— Natalie Harms (@HBJNatalie) February 19, 2016

">@UHouston's future. Also he let me see his grill.

— Natalie Harms (@HBJNatalie)

Met @CoachTomHerman and we talked about big things in @UHouston's future. Also he let me see his grill.

— Natalie Harms (@HBJNatalie) February 19, 2016

">February 19, 2016

Herman, 40, reportedly turned down interest from some Power 5 programs this offseason. He won't be able to turn down Texas. Herman's a former graduate assistant with the Longhorns and spent more than a decade coaching at various programs in the state. He'd absolutely kill it. Next: Florida State ??? >>>Florida StateNext coach: Chris Weinke Current role: Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coachWe think this is a long way off. Jimbo Fisher reportedly turned down the LSU position this past season and it's tough to imagine him leaving Tallahassee, Fla. for another job. It'll happen eventually, though. Maybe he replaces Nick Saban at Alabama. Maybe he replaces Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Maybe he goes to the NFL. When that happens (whatever that is), Chris Weinke could be Florida State's guy. 


— Dylan Gonzales (@gonzowins)

16 days ???✋???✋? @ChrisWeinke16 @FSU_Football

— Dylan Gonzales (@gonzowins) August 20, 2015

">August 20, 2015

He's moving up the coaching ranks, now the QB coach of an NFL team. Weinke previously served as the head coach of one of Florida's best high school programs (IMG Academy). So he 1. is getting experience and 2. has ties to both Florida State (obviously) and the recruiting region, having served as a high school coach. As long as Weinke, 43, continues to move up the coaching ladder, this is likely a hire Florida State's fans would be happy with. Next: Penn State ??? >>>Penn StateNext coach: Matt Rhule Current role: Temple's head coach Rhule's current program, Temple, beat James Franklin and Penn State this past season in Philadelphia. So, yeah, he'd be a pretty solid replacement for Franklin when the Nittany Lions decide to part with the former Vanderbilt coach. Rhule, 41, is one of the hottest young head coaches in the country, taking Temple from a two-win team in 2013 to a 10-win team in 2015. He played at Penn State, too. Rhule was a defensive lineman for the Nittany Lions from 1994-97. Penn State fans would be thrilled with this hire. Next: LSU ??? >>>LSUNext coach: Mike Gundy Current role: Oklahoma State head coachThis is a move that some people thought would already have happened. When Les Miles was reportedly on the verge of getting fired by the Tigers, Gundy's name popped up as a possible replacement for him in Baton Rouge, La. It makes sense. 

">@dbeltran10 #tuckedin “This Les Miles/Mike Gundy photo from the early 2000s is amazing:

— CT (@iCorbinTarrant) August 26, 2013

Gundy, 48, replaced Miles at Oklahoma State. He's taken the Cowboys to new heights, winning 10-plus games in four of the last six seasons. 

This might not be as sexy a hire as some LSU fans would be hoping for, but it'd be a good one. Gundy could win big with the Tigers. 

Next: Florida ??? >>>


Next coach: Randy Shannon Current role: Florida's defensive coordinator

Jim McElwain is only one year into his tenure with the Gators, so it's really hard to imagine where the Gators will turn when he decides (or is forced) to leave Gainesville, Fla. 

Shannon could be the guy Florida turns to when that happens. 

If McElwain's era with the Gators is a big success and he leaves on good terms, Shannon could get his recommendation. He has experience leading a big-time program, has likely learned a lot since his time at Miami and has plenty of needed ties to the state that would pay off on the recruiting trail. 

Florida fans probably aren't thrilled with this idea right now, but in seven or eight years, it's a move that could make a lot of sense. 

Next: Clemson ??? >>>


Next coach: Brent Venables Current role: Clemson's defensive coordinator 

The Tigers could turn to former offensive coordinator and current SMU head coach Chad Morris when Dabo Swinney decides to leave, but Venables is just so, so loved by the Clemson program. 

He's turned down some offers to become a head coach and is fully entrenched in the Tigers' program for the long haul. 

">February 18, 2016

Venables is an excellent recruiter, a brilliant defensive mind and, we think, a future really, really good head coach. At 45, he's only one year younger than Swinney, so the timing might not work out exactly right, but if Swinney decides to leave for - look away, Clemson fans - Alabama, hiring Venables could be the move. Next: Texas A&M ??? >>>Texas A&M Next coach: Chad Morris Current role: SMU head coachThe honeymoon period is over for Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M and Aggies' fans are anxious for results. If they don't come in the next season or two, the 51-year-old coach could be out in College Station, Texas. Morris is a logical replacement. 

">February 15, 2016

The 47-year-old coach has been at SMU for one season and it didn't go well (the Mustangs went 2-10). Still, Morris is extremely highly thought of in the coaching community. He's a great offensive mind and a really good recruiter (see that photo above). 

He's from Texas and went to Texas A&M, too. 

Next: Oklahoma ??? >>>


Next coach: Lincoln Riley Current role: Oklahoma offensive coordinator

The Sooners are one of the top programs in the country and will have a long line of coaches aspiring to replace Stoops when he decides to leave, but giving the job to the current offensive coordinator is a good possibility. 

Riley, 32, is one of hottest assistant coaches in the sport. He's thrived everywhere he's been and is one of the best offensive minds in the country. In his first season leading the Sooners, Oklahoma had one of the most-prolific offenses in the nation and appeared in the College Football Playoff. 

">@LincolnRiley last night. Very impressive what he has accomplished in a short time.

Enjoyed meeting @LincolnRiley last night. Very impressive what he has accomplished in a short time.

— Kyle Watson (@KM_Watson) February 12, 2016


— Kyle Watson (@KM_Watson)

Enjoyed meeting @LincolnRiley last night. Very impressive what he has accomplished in a short time.

— Kyle Watson (@KM_Watson) February 12, 2016

">February 12, 2016

He might have to take a smaller head coaching gig before replacing Stoops at Oklahoma, but if the timing works out, it's an easy transition to foresee. Next: Oregon ??? >>>Oregon Next coach: Matt Lubick Current role: Oregon's offensive coordinatorThe Ducks hire their offensive coordinator. It's what they do. Every Oregon head coach since 1994 was previously an assistant coach in the program, leading the offense. Mike Bellotti did it. Chip Kelly did it. Mark Helfrich did it. And we think Oregon will do it again. 

">January 2, 2016

When Helfrich, 42, decides to leave the Ducks' program, expect Oregon to hire their current offensive coordinator: 44-year-old Matt Lubick. 

Next: Michigan ??? >>>


Next coach: Justin Fuente Current role: Virginia Tech head coach

We shudder at the thought of Jim Harbaugh ever leaving the Wolverines (he's as good for content as a he is a head coach), but, unfortunately, it's going to happen some day. 

It'll probably happen within the next decade or so, too. As much as Michigan fans would love Harbaugh to coach the program for 20 years, the eventual pull of the NFL will likely be too much. He's going to want to win a Super Bowl before he retires.

So, Michigan fans, how about Justin Fuente as Harbaugh's replacement in Ann Arbor, Mich.? 

">@andydalton14 played for Justin Fuente w

. @andydalton14 played for Justin Fuente w @TCUFootball

The @Bengals QB speaks on VT's new head coach.

— Virginia Tech Football (@VT_Football) December 1, 2015



. @andydalton14 played for Justin Fuente w @TCUFootball

The @Bengals QB speaks on VT's new head coach.

— Virginia Tech Football (@VT_Football) December 1, 2015

">@Bengals QB speaks on VT's new head coach. — VT Football (@VT_Football)

. @andydalton14 played for Justin Fuente w @TCUFootball

The @Bengals QB speaks on VT's new head coach.

— Virginia Tech Football (@VT_Football) December 1, 2015

">December 1, 2015

He's rising up the coaching ranks - taking the Virginia Tech job this offseason - and has Midwest ties, being from Oklahoma. 

Next: Alabama ??? >>>


Next coach: Dabo Swinney Current role: Clemson head coach

This one just makes so much sense. 

Swinney, of course, played for the Crimson Tide as a walk-on wide receiver. He's from the state and spent 1993-2000 on Alabama's staff. 

">February 10, 2016

The 46-year-old has built Clemson into a national power and could win a national championship within the next couple of years. Leaving the Tigers will be tough, but it's even tougher to imagine Swinney turning down an offer from his alma mater (and perhaps the best college football program in the country). Next: Notre Dame ??? >>>Notre DameNext coach: Urban Meyer Current role: Ohio State's head coachDoes Urban Meyer have any reason to ever leave Ohio State? Not really. The Buckeyes are one of - if not, the - best college football program in the country. He's won 50 games in four seasons, including the national title in 2014. He's from Ohio and, clearly, is very happy in his current role. 

">January 1, 2016

Notre Dame is the only college job he could leave Ohio State for. And, in three to four years, it's something that could happen. 

By then, his youngest son, Nate, will have graduated high school. He'll have been at Ohio State for at seven or eight years. He'll have won at least one national championship (and probably a couple others). 

Meyer has long called Notre Dame his dream job. He spent five seasons with the Fighting Irish as a wide receivers coach. 

Could he turn Notre Dame down if he feels like he's done all he could at Ohio State? 

Next: Ohio State ??? >>>

Ohio State

Next coach: Bob Stoops Current role: Oklahoma head coach

The toughest prediction to make. Where will Ohio State turn when Meyer leaves the Buckeyes? 

We thought about Tom Herman, who's a clear choice for the job, but we expect him to have landed the Texas gig before the OSU one opens up. And he's not leaving the Texas job for another one. 

We thought about Jimbo Fisher, too, but it's tough to imagine him leaving the South. 

So...why not Bob Stoops? 

">January 31, 2016

If Urban Meyer leaves in three to four seasons, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith could turn to the Oklahoma coach. At 55, he might not be a very long-term answer, but if he gets hired at 57 or 58, he could lead the Buckeyes' program for six or seven years, at least. 

He's an Ohio native, too, and one of the most-respected coaches in the sport. 

How would you feel about this, Ohio State fans? 

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