With the college football season past the halfway point, expect the coaching carousel to heat up soon. Here are a few names to watch this week and beyond:
Jackson State coach Deion Sanders: ESPN’s College GameDay is at Saturday’s Jackson State-Southern game in no small part because of the magnetic FSU legend. He’ll be the hottest name on the market, if he wants to leave the HBCU.
Florida Atlantic coach Willie Taggart: The former FSU and USF coach is 13-16 overall (3-5 this season) with the Owls, who are home underdogs to Alabama Birmingham. Last week’s loss to Texas El Paso cranked up the pressure on Taggart to do something in the final four games.
Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham: The former FSU assistant leads the nation’s No. 7 scoring offense into Cal this weekend. He’ll get head coaching looks this cycle, maybe at Arizona State or a top Group of Five program.
Auburn coach Bryan Harsin: Losing to Arkansas would be his fourth defeat in a row. His firing seems inevitable, once the Tigers hire an athletic director.
Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken: The former Bucs assistant has a top-10 offense with the potential to light up the Gators in Jacksonville. The ex-Southern Miss head coach would be an intriguing candidate this offseason.
Local of the week
Cincinnati cornerback Ja’Quan Sheppard (Zephyrhills High)
Since replacing top-five pick Sauce Gardner, Sheppard leads the Bearcats with six pass breakups. He’ll be instrumental if Cincinnati is going to slow down UCF’s top-20 scoring offense in a pivotal AAC game.
Lamest time window: Late, so this might be an early night.
Noon: Perhaps No. 13 Penn State’s strong secondary is a tougher matchup for No. 2 Ohio State (Fox) than the Nittany Lions were against Michigan. If not, see if West Virginia can knock off No. 7 TCU (ESPN).
3:30: The pageantry gives Florida vs. No. 1 Georgia (CBS) top billing. The better games are likely No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Kansas State (Fox) or No. 20 UCF at Cincinnati (ESPN).
4: No. 25 South Carolina will try to stay in the rankings by knocking off a tricky Missouri team (SEC Network).
7: We’re putting No. 3 Tennessee on upset alert against No. 19 Kentucky (ESPN).
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7:30: The schadenfreude will flow when Jimbo Fisher’s reeling Aggies host No. 15 Mississippi (SEC Network).
8: Star quarterback Drake Maye will try to build Heisman Trophy buzz at No. 21 North Carolina against Pitt (ACC Network).
By the numbers: Week 9
+13 Miami’s turnover margin during the turnover chain era (2017-21)
-4 Miami’s turnover margin this year without the chain after committing eight turnovers last week
5.6 Yards per carry by FSU. The last time the Seminoles hit that mark was 2013
2 Previous times Tennessee and Kentucky have met as ranked teams (1950 and 1951)
6 Consecutive wins for Houston over USF. The Cougars’ only longer, active win streaks are seven-game stretches against Rice and Detroit Mercy (which no longer fields a team)
1-8 Penn State coach James Franklin’s record against Ohio State
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