The Mind of Mike is a scary place. Here are my random thoughts as we head into rivalry weekend.
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Let’s remind everyone of my list of the 10 best jobs in college football. Why? Because three of them are available.
1. Alabama – Nick Saban has set the program up for success for a long time.
2. Ohio State – The Buckeyes are the king of the North.
3. Georgia – The 1980 chants will stop soon and then watch out.
4. LSU – The Tigers have the best recruiting advantage in all of college football.
5. Texas – The in-state recruiting advantage is still there, and the SEC will help.
6. USC – The Trojans are still the king of the West for recruits.
7. Clemson – The Tigers are sliding a bit, but they are still the king of the ACC.
8. Oklahoma – The SEC move is a big one for recruiting.
9. Florida – This is a dream job for someone who will battle for recruits.
10. Texas A&M – You could make a case for others here, but the Aggies are a sleeping giant.
And now my current predictions for who takes over the three top 10 jobs.
USC: This is a tough call, but right now I think Luke Fickell will be the next coach at USC. He has an obvious connection to Mike Bohn and has proven he can win. The question is whether he can handle the big stage.
LSU: Right now, I’m thinking Dave Aranda comes back from Baylor and takes over in Baton Rouge. I don’t know how successful he can be there, but he’s earned the chance.
Florida: Billy Napier is the guy I see here, although it’s early. Funny thing is I feel Napier would be a better fit at LSU.
OK, how about some rivalry weekend predictions? Here you go:
Ole Miss beats Mississippi State in a shoutout.
NC State outscores UNC in a thriller.
Georgia beats Georgia Tech by 50.
Ohio State beats Michigan by less than a touchdown.
Alabama beats Auburn by 30.
Wisconsin beats Minnesota by 20 or more.
Oklahoma wins Bedlam rivalry by more than 10 points.
Oregon routs Oregon State.
Clemson sneaks past South Carolina – barely.
Texas A&M sends Ed O off with a three-touchdown loss.
Florida State beats Florida to become bowl eligible.
And finally, the extension for James Franklin was the right move for Penn State. PSU fans complain about him often, but the man is 67-32 in Happy Valley despite his 11-9 recent record. But I can tell you this: With this extension likely comes a stern warning from the administration that it doesn’t want to hear his name mentioned when it comes to job openings.
Franklin has been a popular name in many recent coaching searches, and whether his agent has anything to do with that is unknown. But I expect he will quash any and all rumors faster than ever before.
Here’s an interesting tidbit about his contract: The buyout is only $2 million by 2024 and $1 million after 2025. That’s bargain basement stuff. He’s in Happy Valley for the foreseeable future, but who knows in a couple of years, right?