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Coaching carousel: 6 names to watch this weekend, including Lane Kiffin and Billy Napier

Our gameday guide also acknowledges the glorious shot UCF took at UConn over the Civil ConFLiCT.
Lane Kiffin is definitely a coaching name to watch this weekend and next.
Lane Kiffin is definitely a coaching name to watch this weekend and next. [ ROGELIO V. SOLIS | AP ]
Published Nov. 19

Six names to watch from outside the state, with an eye toward the coaching carousel:

Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin: He and Oregon’s Mario Cristobal would be the two most appealing targets if a major job opens in the state this year. Kiffin’s No. 10 Rebels should light up Vanderbilt this weekend.

Baylor’s Dave Aranda: The former LSU defensive coordinator has SEC ties and is a California native, which makes him a fit for any number of high-profile openings. He’d look even more impressive if his No. 11 Bears pass a tricky test at Kansas State.

Related: Here’s why Dan Mullen thinks he can fix Florida. Is he right?

Louisiana Lafayette’s Billy Napier: The second-most intriguing Group of Five coach is 37-12 and has already clinched a spot in the Sun Belt title game. Napier has a tough non-conference matchup this week at Liberty and another coach we’re keeping an eye on this cycle: Hugh Freeze.

Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien: The former Penn State coach and Houston Texans coach/general manager is Saban’s latest reclamation project and a potential head coaching candidate this cycle. Arkansas will be a formidable challenge for his No. 3 scoring offense.

Clemson coordinators Tony Elliott and Brent Venables: Would a lackluster candidate pool make Elliott and Venables more attractive for the types of big jobs that would pull them off Dabo Swinney’s staff? The Tigers have struggled, but a game against No. 13 Wake Forest is a big opportunity.

Tracking Travis

Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis had a career-best day last week against Miami.
Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis had a career-best day last week against Miami. [ MARK WALLHEISER | AP ]

Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis returns to the site of his first breakout performance when the Seminoles travel to Boston College. His 66-yard touchdown run two years ago was the longest rush ever by an FSU quarterback. He’s coming off a career day (336 yards of total offense) against Miami and will try to keep FSU’s bowl hopes alive.

Related: The one play that changed the trajectory of FSU, Miami

Eye on the NFL draft

Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec is a pro prospect to watch this weekend.
Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec is a pro prospect to watch this weekend. [ DANNY KARNIK | AP ]

Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec entered the season as an intriguing prospect — maybe even a first-round pick — before missing six games with a wrist/hand injury. In his second game back, he threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Georgia Tech. His NFL potential is another reason to keep an eye on FSU-Boston College.

Shot of the week

Long live the Civil ConFLiCT.
Long live the Civil ConFLiCT. [ JOHN RAOUX | AP (2015) ]

In UCF’s game notes to the media, the Knights note that UConn beat them in 2014-15 “while inventing the Civil Conflict rivalry series out of thin air.” It’s a great dig because it’s true, it’s petty and it doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that it was Civil ConFLiCT, with weird capitalization to acknowledge the state abbreviations. UConn’s only chance at victory is if the Knights are looking ahead to USF next week for their real rivalry game.

Related: Goodbye, Civil ConFLiCT. And good riddance.

USF record watch

USF's Jaren Mangham is having a historic season for the Bulls.
USF's Jaren Mangham is having a historic season for the Bulls. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Running back Jaren Mangham’s 15 rushing touchdowns are tied for sixth nationally, and he needs only three more to tie Quinton Flowers for the Bulls’ single-season record. It’s not crazy to think he can accomplish that this weekend. Tulane has allowed 22 rushing touchdowns (tied for No. 107 nationally) already. A big day from Mangham could make USF history — and result in a Bulls win.

Related: Is Florida staff shakeup enough for Dan Mullen to turn Gators around?

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