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This has been a very controversial offseason in college football, with the scandal at Ohio State and potential scandals at Oregon, Auburn and many other schools. At Ohio State, Jim Tressel is gone, so a new era is beginning. There are also new coaches at other big schools, so there will be some interesting storylines in the upcoming season.
1. Luke Fickell – Ohio State
Everyone is predicting that Fickell will be at Ohio State for only one year. Right now they’ve only named him as the “Interim” head coach. But Fickell has deep roots at Ohio State, and despite the Terrelle Pryor fiasco and the early suspensions for some key players, Ohio State is still loaded. Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller is a real talent, with mobility and a very accurate arm. If he takes the job and grows as a quarterback, Ohio State might be at the top of the Big Ten again, and Fickell might be able to lock down this job.
2. Brady Hoke – Michigan
The Wolverines have been taking a beating for years from Ohio State during the Jim Tressel era. It was so bad that they got desperate and hired Rich Rodriguez, who made things even worse. RichRod changed up everything at Michigan, going to lighter lines on both sides of the ball along with him gimmicky offense. The results were disastrous, as Michigan got pushed around by teams like Ohio State and Wisconsin. Brady Hoke was hired to bring back Michigan-style football, and he has started to recruit real lineman. It remains to be seen, however, how quickly he can turn things around, as he’ll have to deal with RichRod’s recruits for a while.
3. Will Muschamp – Florida
This guy has huge shoes to fill with the departure of Urban Meyer. Florida became a football powerhouse under Meyer, though last year everything fell apart, as the new players couldn’t excel with Meyer’s offensive schemes. Muschamp will surely make changes on offense, so we’ll see if he adapts to his players, or tries to install his own system.
4. Al Golden – Miami
Miami used to be a powerhouse, but now they get slapped around by the elite schools. Can Golden change things? He’s supposed to be a great recruiter, so over time he can make a huge impact in South Florida. But, he doesn’t have much experience at elite programs. He’ll need some time to build things, and in the meantime he’ll need to show he can handle the pressure.
I think both Fickell and Hoke will do fine, and we might enter a new phase of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry where it’s more evenly matched after Ohio State dominated for 10 years after Michigan had it’s own run. As for Florida and Miami, they usually get the players down in Florida, so we’ll see if these guys can actually coach.