Hiring season is here.
For more than two months, the college coaching carousel has included firings, impacting four of the five power conferences (only the Big 12 has been spared). But the time has come for schools to hire replacements, or at least close in on their top two or three targets. Charlotte kicked off the hires last week with a surprising and intriguing choice in Michigan associate head coach Biff Poggi, an accomplished high school coach who has never led a college team. The school interviewed Power 5 coordinators and others with college head-coaching experience but went outside of the box with Poggi.
There's an increased urgency to the hiring decisions, as the transfer portal will open Dec. 5 and the early signing period for high school recruiting begins Dec. 21. Assistants with teams still looking for head coaches have emphasized the need for hires to be made soon.
"We're going to lose all our good players to the portal," a Power 5 assistant said last week.
Wisconsin interim coach Jim Leonhard, who many think is the top candidate for the permanent job, has repeatedly stressed the need to make decisions soon.
"Teams are tampering with other teams' players," Leonhard said last week after a loss to Iowa, in the wake of rumors about Badgers running back Braelon Allen considering a transfer to Michigan.
Leonhard recently told ESPN: "The sooner decisions are made around here, I think a lot of people will feel more comfortable with the direction of the program."
Decisions are coming soon, so here's the latest we're hearing about the open jobs around college football.
It hasn't been a great past few weeks for either of Auburn's prime candidates, Lane Kiffin or Hugh Freeze.
If Kiffin is indeed the front-runner, he wasn't hesitant to take aim at himself following Ole Miss' 42-27 loss to Arkansas on Saturday, the Rebels' third loss in their past four outings. The Hogs led 42-6 early in the third quarter. Kiffin was asked afterward about being the Tigers' top target.