Coaching Carousel Thread - The Big Chips are starting to fall

Brett Bielema can keep the same colors in his closet as he moves from Wisconsin to Arkansas - US PRESSWIRE

With most of the firings out of the way, the next round of chips are falling as programs with vacancies announce their new hires, which of course keeps the carousel going as new schools now have vacancies after getting poached. The biggest of those dominoes (so far) fell today as Arkansas announced their new head coach.

The NCAA head coach "Silly Season" is in full swing now as (arguably) the biggest of the dominoes has fallen with news that Wisconsin head coach Brett Bielema has accepted the job at Arkansas. This surprising news will of course lead to more intrigue as Wisconsin is now in the market for a new head coach, and as a strong program in the 2nd most lucrative conference in the country, they should be an appealing destination.

Lots of other rumors out there, and as always, I suggest you visit first for your coaching rumor fix. Here's the scuttlebutt on other vacancies:

  • Colorado has set their sights on Cincinnati's Butch Jones, and they've made a big offer: 6 years, $15M, fully guaranteed; Purdue was also hotly pursuing him, but he's reportedly eliminated them from consideration
  • Tennessee has reportedly been courting Jim L. Mora of UCLA, but he's told them "no thanks"
  • N.C. State hired away Dave Doeren from Northern Illinois
  • Paul Petrino accepted the job at Idaho; it will be interesting to see how many of his brother's old staff he'll be able to lure with him to a program that may not last much longer at the FBS level; will Nick Holt find employment again as a DC?
  • Kentucky is giving a shot to the third of the Stoops brothers, as Mark Stoops takes over for the fired Joker Phillips; Phillips has landed on his feet at Florida under Will Muschamp as his WR coach and recruiting coordinator
  • Auburn appears close to a deal with Alabama DC Kirby Smart; that would obviously add some intrigue to what is already one of the nation's most heated rivalries
  • Houston Nutt may get back into coaching as he appears to be a front-runner for the South Florida job

There will probably be more interesting twists and turns to come - if Chip Kelly leaves Oregon for the NFL as many expect, that will add more intrigue to the mix, and Kelly won't be the only college coach that will be linked to NFL openings. When the NFL coaching silly season gets into swing it will undoubtedly have a ripple effect at the NCAA level.

So far, none of this looks to impact Sark and his staff; he was linked to the Arkansas job, but that obviously didn't happen and may have been nothing more than wild speculation. DC Justin Wilcox has had his name thrown around, but so far it doesn't appear that he's been interviewed for any jobs. If Chris Petersen were to leave Boise State, I expect Wilcox would be heavily in the mix, but I'm skeptical at this point that Petersen will leave.

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