CFB Insider

Bowl Season Bringing Coaching Changes Across the Nation

Chaos. That’s one of the words that can be used to describe the coaching changes taking place before the end of the season. Let’s look at why these coaches are changing teams so early, as well as some of the biggest names that will sport new colors next year. 

Why are so many college coaches leaving before the season’s end? Read on to find out our take and make sure to tell us which coaching change will be the best gift their program this holiday season by voting in the poll on our latest @TexasBowl Twitter post.  

It’s no secret that many of the top college football programs have elected to switch coaches before their season has ended this year. 

Why, you ask? One reason for this is a new set of recruiting rules implemented by the NCAA. Under these new guidelines, high school seniors are eligible to sign their letter of intent from December 20-22, in addition to the signing period that starts in February. This gives programs looking for new coaches an incentive to find new candidates as quickly as possible to begin working on recruiting their next wave of talent. These changes are all about the programs trying to save their recruiting classes and their future.

Let’s look at some of the top college football programs that have changed coaches:  

USC: One of the most significant coaching changes this year was USC hiring Lincoln Riley after parting ways with Clay Helton just two games into the 2021 season. Of course, no one knows if Riley will find success coaching the Spartans, but it’s safe to say that Trojan fans hope he leads USC back to being the powerhouse it was years ago. 

Oklahoma: After the shocking exit of Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma found themselves looking for someone to head their premier football program. The Sooners acted quickly, naming defensive coordinator Brent Venables as their next head coach. Venables has worked his way up the ranks in college football and now gets the chance to carve his own legacy in America’s most adored sport. 

LSU: Another signing that sent shockwaves across the college football universe was the Tigers stealing Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame after Ed Orgeron departed during the season. Kelly had been one of the most decorated coaches in college football the last 10 years as head of the Fighting Irish. Now he gets to step into the ring with some of the best programs in the SEC. 

Notre Dame: After Brian Kelly left Notre Dame after more than 10 seasons, Notre Dame stayed in-house, hiring defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman as their next head coach. Freeman has a lot of work to do to fill the shoes left by Kelly, but he has worked his way up through the ranks and has a shot to keep Notre Dame among the best in college football. 

Miami: Miami joined the chaos of the coaching carousel by hiring Mario Cristabol after the team parted ways from Manny Diaz. Cristabol, the former Oregon coach, spent 3 seasons leading the Ducks before making the move to Miami. Cristabol will be tasked with leading the Hurricanes out of mediocrity and back to the potency that once exuded from the program. 

Oregon: After Cristobal left for Miami, Oregon found itself as one of the premier programs without a head coach. That changed when they announced that they had hired Dan Lanning, the defensive coordinator from Georgia. Lanning was the leader of one of the best defenses in recent memory and now will try to bring that experience to the Ducks. 

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders moved on from Matt Wells after 3 years and hired Baylor’s associate head coach Joey McGuire as their new head coach. McGuire had success in his 5 years at Baylor, along with a pretty incredible high school coaching resume, and now gets his shot to make it at the next level. Integral to Baylor Football’s familial culture, Joey McGuire was highly valued and respected by the older players and was essential to the transition phase under Dave Aranda after Matt Rhule left for the Carolina Panthers. Many football fans speculate that McGuire could bring some interesting changes to the Texas Tech football program, and possibly bring it to a place of stronger contention with teams such as Baylor. 

In addition to thrilling games, exciting new prospects, and spectacular upsets, this season has also brought exciting developments in coaching changes. Time will tell how these new coaches mold with their new teams, in some cases as soon as bowl season.