No shortage of quality college football jobs came open during this year’s coaching carousel.
LSU ranks among the top five jobs in the sport. It came open. So did another marquee SEC job: Florida.
And four of the best jobs west of the Mississippi River also came on the market: Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Washington and Oregon.
Four of those schools hired guys with head coaching experience (three of whom were coaching at Power Five programs), while Oregon and Oklahoma went the coordinator route.
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On this edition of “SEC Football Unfiltered,” a podcast from the USA TODAY Network, hosts Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams rank the hires for these six high-profile jobs.
From top left, clockwise: USC’s Lincoln Riley, LSU’s Brian Kelly, Miami’s Mario Cristobal and Florida’s Billy Napier
Here’s how their ranking shakes out:
1. Lincoln Riley (USC, from Oklahoma): California produces an abundance of talented quarterbacks, and Riley knows how to develop QBs. That should be a good match. He worked with Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts and Caleb Williams at OU. Riley’s exciting brand of offense should be a hit in So. Cal, where fans expect to be entertained.
2. Mario Cristobal (Miami, from Oregon): Cristobal couldn’t get Oregon back to the footing it had under Chip Kelly, but he restored the Ducks to a place among the West Coast’s best programs, highlighted by a Rose Bowl victory to cap the 2019 season. This hire gets a boost for the fit. A Miami native, he’s a skilled recruiter who played for the Hurricanes during their heyday. He should elevate this program’s talent.
3. Billy Napier (Florida, from Louisiana): A roll of the dice? Somewhat, considering Napier has not been a Power Five head coach. But…