Penn State- Reportedly Dan Mullen is tops on their list and while he's a good coach, he's a far cry from Urban Meyer, and all of the other names that have been mentioned for the past few weeks. I'm not even sure if Mullen will take the job. If he doesn't, I think there will be a big gap to the next choice. Charlie Strong is another option but he lost to a Tino Sunseri led team at home so I wouldn't get excited about him. Both are good coaches but they are not at Penn State standards. Virginia head coach Mike London and Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald are also being mentioned but London can wait for a job with less headaches and Fitzgerald already turned down Michigan in the past and that job then is better than Penn State's job now. Bottom line, it only takes one excellent coach to make the leap but it may be hard to find that one person under the circumstances.
Illinois- Reportedly Illinois AD Mike Thomas has already talked to Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, somebody I thought that Pitt should take a look out before hiring Mike Haywood (and they did). Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi is also being mentioned. If they want to go for head coach experience Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones is a strong candidate.
Washington State- It appears Washington State AD Bill Moos wants Mike Leach, who again is hot after he was No. 1 on my list before the hiring of Haywood. Yes, Leach is a nut job, but in the light of current events, putting a spoiled kid in a shed almost seems quaint now. He is an offensive genius and he puts people in the seats with his craziness. But he may be able to do better and I'm assuming he will wait to see if he can. Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen and Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox are also possibilities.
Arizona State- This is definitely one of the better jobs available. For that reason, Leach will definitely be interested and Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, who has been highly coveted for a few years, may also finally make the move. Sumlin would be a home run. Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has expressed an interest in the job, but it's unlikely that he's at the top of the list. Former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti will also be mentioned here as well as every opening on the west coast.
UCLA- This is the best job available and UCLA has long been considered a sleeping giant in college football. The word is, the Bruins will offer Boise State head coach Chris Peterson 3 million dollars a year to make the move. If they do, and he doesn't take it, he needs to have his head examined. Winning big at Boise State is admirable but that can't last forever. Better make the move when you still can. But don't think Pederson would be a guaranteed success at UCLA, or many other places. The truth is, Boise State has a lot of kids that most schools wouldn't take. UCLA for one has much higher standards. If he does turn it down, Sumlin will be on the short list. Bellotti is another option.
Mississippi (I refuse to call them Ole Miss)- Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart looks to be first on the list with Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora and Arkansas State head coach Hugh Freeze also in the top three.
North Carolina- Another excellent job and a program that's a sleeping giant. Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has been mentioned often because he knew North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham when both were at Tulsa, but part of being the head coach at a place like North Carolina is to schmooze the blue bloods. Malzahn lost major points in that department when video surfaced of an interview that his wife did recently in which she seems certifiably insane. Cunningham went to school with South Florida head coach Skip Holtz and he is expected to be on the short list as is Sumlin.
Kansas- Another school that has Leach very high on their list but once again he may want better. He does have a long relationship with Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger, however, and obviously knows the Big 12, so they may just get their man. Southern Miss's Fedora is also a possibility.
Big names that still may go:
Randy Edsall, Maryland- What a bad hiring this was. He did wonders at UConn but he's been a total disaster in College Park. To make matters worse, Maryland is dropping sports programs because they are losing tons of money. And now, newspaper journalists are trashing him and calling for his head.
Mike Sherman, Texas A&M- The only reason he hasn't been fired yet is because he has a huge buyout and the school needs the money to bolt the Big 12. But 25-25 at the school including a hugely disappointing 6-6 this season are two reasons why they can't be happy to be stuck with him.