Luke Fickell at Cincinnati is in his third year. He went 4-8 the first year, 11-2 last year, and is 8-1 this season. He was the DC at Ohio State and the interim coach there at the end of the Urban Meyer era. Interestingly for an AAC team, they actually seem to play a little defense. I know nothing about his buyout.
Dave Clawson at Wake Forest is in his fourth HC gig, and has built winners everywhere he’s been(Fordham, Richmond, Ball State and now six years at Wake). One disadvantage would be that he and most of his staff are eastern/northeastern guys, though he has a couple of defensive assistants who’ve coached in Texas and they’ve got three Texans on their roster. No idea on his buyout.
These are two very thoughtful choices. We can pay more than these two athletic departments. They would, however, have to be willing to risk their careers by coming to a depleted cupboard in the SEC West.
Indiana seems to have had at least a mild uptick in recruiting lately, which would be a good sign. I also would not discount Allen’s stock much if Indiana has a couple of more losses down the stretch-they just lost their starting QB to injury. The main knock on Indiana in Allen’s tenure is they just haven’t beaten any one who was very good. A home win over Nebraska is probably their best effort this year. Still winning games at a basketball school in the Power Five is no easy thing, and he certainly has IU going in the right direction.
Got to be careful with those coaches coming from Conference USA. Look at the backgrounds of current SEC head coaches. What are their backgrounds? How many of them had coached previously in the SEC either as a coordinator or head coach of another SEC school?
I’m a fan of Clawson, but he just signed an extension through 2026. Another big buyout. I think that rules him out. He was an OC for TN. He’s also taken over four programs in bad shape (first year was horrible at each, but before he left they were double digit winners). I believe WF this year is 7-2 with three games and a bowl left.
The Vandy of the Big 10 is Northwestern, except that Pat Fitzgerald has more or less permanently elevated them above the cellar. But not this year; NU’s record is even worse than ours (1-8). However they won the Big Ten West and a bowl game last year so it was a sudden dip.
Right now Rutgers is the undisputed dregs of the Big Ten and might even be worse than we are.