College football head coaching hires can be divided into three categories: Saw it coming, may have been predicted and didn't see it coming.
Last year, Tom Herman to Texas fell into the first category, Tim Lester to Western Michigan in the second and Matt Rhule to Baylor in the third. All of them, however, were extremely realistic candidates for each of their new jobs. Even if Rhule had no strong connections to Waco and spent almost his entire career in the northeast, it was a logical fit.
Who are realistic and logical fits for programs with coaches on the hot seat?
Current Position: Head Coach – Colorado State
Mike Bobo — who spent 16 of his first 17 years as an assistant coach at Georgia — made the shocking jump from Georgia offensive coordinator to Colorado State three years ago. He's a modest 16-14 in two seasons with the Rams.
The two biggest questions: Can Arizona do better? And would Mike Bobo prefer an SEC job if he leaves?
Current Position: Head Coach – Memphis
As mentioned last week, Arizona State's VP for Athletics Ray Anderson likely has a list in his head of potential candidates to replace Todd Graham if 2017 isn't fruitful. If the list does exist, Mike Norvell is undoubtedly on it.
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator – Oklahoma
Ruffin McNeill's dismissal was a mistake in 2015. It's an even bigger mistake in 2017.
East Carolina athletics director Jeff Compher could admit his mistake and bring back the extremely popular coach. A former ECU player and assistant coach, McNeill went 42-34 in six seasons, including 26-13 from 2012-14. His replacement, former Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery, is 3-12.
The biggest issues are, obviously, whether McNeill wants to come back to a program that shoved him out the door and if Compher is comfortable admitting they blew it.
Current Position: Head Coach – UCF
Scott Frost was rumored to be a candidate for the Nebraska job two years ago when they hired Mike Riley (Frost left Oregon a year later for the UCF job). However, Frost said he didn't get a call, let alone an interview.
Though he's repeatedly said how much he loves UCF and believes they have the resources and recruiting relationships to be a big-time program, he has a terrific relationship with Huskers' legend Tom Osborne and there's no denying he'd be a great fit in Lincoln.
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator – Oregon
This might be a stretch.
Jim Leavitt's jump from Colorado to Oregon indicates he's chasing something — whether that's simply a bigger payday or higher-profile job that could land him another head coaching shot is unclear.
Bob Davie has done a phenomenal on-field job for the Lobos but is now saddled with player mistreatment allegations and a disappointing start to 2017. Though Leavitt's allegations of mistreatment at USF are sliding further into the rearview mirror, it's still a legitimate concern.
Current Position: Head Coach – Mississippi State
It's never wise to bet on a long-tenured head coach bolting from a comfortable job for a high-pressure, high-expectation situation. Still, Dan Mullen's potential at Notre Dame is intriguing.
He has built Mississippi State into a consistent program, has strong ties to the midwest and — for what it's worth — has spent time at Notre Dame (1999-2000).
Rice – Willie Simmons
Current Position: Head Coach – Prairie View A&M
Willie Simmons has risen from high school quarterbacks coach to FBS coordinator to FCS head coach in just 12 years.
The former Clemson and Citadel quarterback is Prairie View A&M's 36-year-old, third-year head coach. Given the Panthers' slow start to 2017, this might be a reach and Simmons could be another year or two away from an FBS job.
Keep in mind, Rice is just 50 miles down the road from Prairie View.
Texas A&M – Chad Morris
Current Position: Head Coach – SMU
Texas A&M fans will be underwhelmed by the prospect of hiring a 48-year-old first-time head coach from the Group of Five who went 7-17 in his first two seasons. While that's fair and the Aggies could write a blank check to a big-time name, it's unlikely they'll be willing to hand over a fortune if Sumlin is paid a $11.25 million buyout.
Chad Morris is a Texas native, Texas A&M alum and former Texas high school coach who's spent all but one season of his coaching career in the state.
UCLA – Dave Aranda
Current Position: Defensive Coordinator – LSU
Similar to Texas A&M, UCLA probably can do better than a coordinator with no head coaching experience — or at least they'll try.
LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda grew up just east of Los Angeles and spent some time in the state before rocketing up the assistant ranks. He led dominating units at Wisconsin and while his Tigers' tenure is off to a mediocre start (465 yards and 37 points allowed vs. Mississippi State), his coaching stock is still high.
UMass – Joe Moorhead
Current Position: Offensive Coordinator – Penn State
Two years ago, Joe Moorhead left his head coach post at Fordham, his alma mater, to become Penn State's quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Now in a comfortable, high-paying position with the Nittany Lions, does he even want another head coach job?
He's worked wonders with the Penn State offense, has nearly two decades of experience in the region and is still just 43 years old. Current UMass head coach Mark Whipple is just 8-28 since 2014, the first year of his second stint as head coach.