These college football coaches will likely make headlines this season, for better or worse.
Mario Cristobal, Miami
Miami hasn’t been exactly low-key in its quest to land Mario Cristobal, but in the end, new athletic director Dan Radakovich to her boyfriend. The former offensive lineman won two national championships with the Hurricanes and returns to his alma mater looking to add another to the trophy. But it’s been a long time for Miami. Cristobal has proven he can win, previously guiding Florida International and Oregon to conference crowns, but now he’s being asked to restore that once-proud national program to its glory days.
Scott Frost, Nebraska
It’s now or never for Nebraska alumnus Scott Frost. Unlike Cristobal, Frost is on borrowed time with the Cornhuskers. The former Nebraska quarterback hasn’t won more than five games at his alma mater and is 15-29 in four seasons. Sporting director Trev Alberts seems lukewarm on Frost, saying the 47-year-old will be back in 2022 but cutting his salary by $1million and lowering the buyout. Frost warned – show improvement or find a new job.
Brian Kelly, State of Louisiana
After 12 years at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly decided to take the money and run away. Louisiana State lured him to the bayou with a 10-year, $95 million contract. LSU’s last three coaches (Nick Saban, Les Miles and Ed Oregon) led the Tigers to a national title. Now it’s his turn to try.
Billy Napier, Florida
Billy Napier was a winner in Louisiana, going 40-12 with a pair of Sun Belt Conference championships in four seasons. But can he replicate that success in Florida? He certainly has the pedigree, serving under Saban in Alabama and Dabo Swinney in Clemson. Napier’s success will likely begin on the recruiting track, where he will have to catch up with the rather large hole his predecessor Dan Mullen left him to fill college.
Lincoln Riley, Southern California
Trojans have been plaguing the south-central for some time now, but the splash car Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma seems to have invigorated alumni and fans alike. Riley was 55-10 in five seasons at Oklahoma, winning four Big 12 Conference titles and earning a ticket to three straight college football playoff berths in each of his first three years there. There will be a short window for him to make a first impression at USC. Winning will undoubtedly be more difficult for the Trojans in 2024, when they leave the Pacific 12 conference for the Big Ten conference.