Coaching buzz in college football: open positions, top prospects, and games to watch

The college football coaching carousel this year may not be as quick or as extensive as those in years past, but scenarios are already beginning to take form.

On the last two Sundays, troubled Power 5 coaches have lost their jobs. Hours after losing to Eastern Michigan at home, Arizona State fired Herm Edwards, demonstrating once more that only things that happen off the field are actually responsible for coaching changes. In the meantime, Nebraska has enlisted the help of a search agency (Collegiate Sports Associates) to help them find a replacement for Scott Frost, who was fired on September 11 following a 1-2 start.

The two modifications thus far have been significant for their timing, but not for their names. The carousel for this year still won't likely compare to the one for 2021–22, which had 29 total changes, 14 at Power 5 institutions, and moves at three of the seven most successful programs in the history of the sport. Aside from Michigan, LSU, USC, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Florida, Oregon, Miami, and Washington all had openings.

The following cycle ought to be calmer, or at least typical, but a surprise or two are all but assured. Coaches, circumstances, and games to monitor will all be regularly updated on Coaching Buzz.

The current craze (Sept. 23)

Early coaching dismissals are still a common practice. No matter how many games are left or how much it will cost, when a team knows that change is imminent, they don't hesitate.

The crucial question at this point is: Who will come after Frost and Edwards? Geoff Collins of Georgia Tech and Bryan Harsin of Auburn both came into the season on the hot seat, similar to Frost and Edwards. Karl Dorrell from Colorado has joined them, so others may not feel too secure going into Week 4.

Here is a quick list of noteworthy coaching scenarios to keep an eye on as Week 3 and Week 4 come to a close.

Bryan Harsin, Auburn: Against Penn State, the Tigers faced their first significant test of the year and failed terribly. Although Auburn's defense, which is typically dependable, struggled to contain a Penn State rushing attack that has stalled for years, the quarterback issue still remains a worry. On just 10 carries, Nicholas Singleton tore through Auburn for 124 yards and two touchdowns, and Kaytron Allen added two more. Over the last 36:59, Penn State defeated Auburn 34-6. The discouraging setback makes this week's home game versus Missouri even more crucial. Even if no action is taken until after a permanent athletic director is hired, one more defeat might all but guarantee Harsin's demise. According to sources, Rich McGlynn, the interim AD, has strong backing and a genuine chance of being hired permanently.

Georgia Tech's Geoff Collins: Georgia Tech was the most hotly anticipated source of potential coaching news up until the Arizona State move leaked Sunday afternoon. Collins is safe for one more week, but it seems unlikely that he will still be employed in 2023. Georgia Tech gave up 316 running yards to Ole Miss on Saturday in a 42-0 home loss. The situation also could have been worse. Who better to express this than Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, who later claimed to have "empathy for what was going on in that game on the other sideline and the hot seat or whatever [Collins] is on." In its last four games against Power 5 opponents, dating back to last season, Georgia Tech has been outscored 183-10.Sequencing is the only thing that can save Collins because experts predict that Todd Stansbury, the athletic director, will be let go before a coaching change is made. Prior to hosting Duke and then having an off week, Georgia Tech has back-to-back away games against UCF and Pitt. This could be an ideal time for a press release.

from Colorado, Karl Dorrell To start the season, they suffered three drubbings. opponents outscoring opponents 128-30. An offense that had the worst record in the Pac-12 in 2021 appears to have gotten worse. The situation in Boulder around Dorrell is as bad as it gets. Rick George, director of athletics, gave him the dreaded vote of confidence on Sunday night.

This season, we have fallen well short of our goals, and we accept that. According to sources, George hired Dorrell and is still in good standing with the university. However, he won't have much of a choice but to make a change if the team doesn't quickly demonstrate some vitality. Prior to a possible decision week for George and the school, Colorado begins Pac-12 play against UCLA at home and Arizona on the road.

Scott Satterfield, Louisville: Louisville had a successful Friday showcase schedule, going 1-0 with victories over UCF on the road and Florida State at home last week. Satterfield's defeat to FSU could be detrimental since he had a chance to go on a nice run before his schedule got much tougher starting Oct. 22 against Pitt. There were several frustrating aspects of the game against the Seminoles, including 11 penalties, three turnovers, a subpar pass defense, and quarterback Malik Cunningham's erratic performance. It didn't help the coach that it happened in front of a restless home crowd either. Looking forward and doing the arithmetic, Louisville faces South Florida this week to start a string of games that appear to be must-wins.

Other issues to keep an eye on: It's excellent that West Virginia's Neal Brown no longer has his own section above, but he must continue to win. On the road Thursday night, Brown's Mountaineers trounced Virginia Tech 33-10, and the final score might have been even higher. WVU has only given up 17 points in its last two games after giving up 93 in its first two contests. Graham Harrell, Brown's choice for offensive coordinator, appears promising thus far. The schedule then picks back up with Texas and Baylor coming next.Before a very challenging trip to Air Force, Navy's Ken Niumatalolo competes for his first victory of the year on Saturday at East Carolina. Despite having a solid resume overall, he may be approaching his fourth consecutive losing season. Both coaches may be affected by the Missouri-Auburn game. Eliah Drinkwitz of Mizzou enters a crucial stretch — Auburn (road), Georgia (home), and Florida (road) — before an open week, while not being in as much danger as Harsin. Drinkwitz, who has a 13-13 record at the institution, was not hired by Missouri's Desiree Reed-Francois. He most likely receives a fourth season, but it's important to keep an eye on him.Last week at Florida, South Florida coach Jeff Scott came close to getting the defining victory he needed, but his team lost 31-28. Scott has a supportive squad and a coach-friendly contract, but the club's schedule—which includes games against Louisville on the road, East Carolina at home, and Cincinnati on the road—could make winning difficult. Jake Spavital of Texas State (1-2 this year, 10-29 overall) and Shawn Elliott of Georgia State, who had done well with the school but saw his team fall to 0-4 on Thursday night, are two Sun Belt situations worth monitoring.