Coaching Carousel - Preseason Preview

Predicting the future for college football coaches is always tricky business. If someone had suggested last July that Tommy Tuberville would soon be shoved out the door at Auburn to make room for a coach with five wins in two years, they would have been laughed at.

This year, Tuberville's name will be one that's thrown around for the jobs that come open along with other familiar faces like Tommy Bowden, Glen Mason and Dennis Franchione. Recently, the trend has been for schools to choose someone perceived as a fresh up and comer over the experienced veterans. Here are the five guys outside the BCS schools to keep an eye on as the hot item in 2009.

TURNER GILL, Buffalo - It's nothing short of amazing that Gill is back for another season with the Bulls. He led a program which won 10 games in the six years before he arrived to a MAC championship and their first bowl ever. After losing out for jobs in Syracuse and Auburn to coaches with alum or work ties to the schools, Gill's going to have to keep winning to remain top of mind for ADs looking for a coach this year. Fortunately for him, Buffalo's schedule doesn't have any "cash for thrash" sacrificial lamb road games against teams they can't beat. Pittsburgh's visit to Buffalo in week two looms large - Dave Wannstedt's team has gagged against MAC teams before, and a win would attract major attention to the stunning job Gill's done with the program univerally considered the worst in D-1 when he took over three seasons ago.

DEREK DOOLEY, Louisiana Tech - For ADs looking for an impressive coaching lineage, Dooley's a perfect fit. He's Georgia legend Vince's son and worked under Nick Saban at LSU and with the Dolphins. His record at Louisiana Tech is only 13-12, but last season saw the Bulldogs make major progress by winning their first bowl since 1977. Dooley can also deal with a prospective employer on their level, since he's the Louisiana Tech AD as well as the football coach (the only guy in D-1 with both jobs). Last year Tech opened their season by knocking off an SEC team in Mississippi State. Dooley will get a chance to repeat the feat as they travel to Auburn for Gene Chizik's debut. A trip to LSU in November will likely be harder, but gives Dooley the oppotunity for major attention as hiring season is about to start should Louisiana Tech prove competitive. Dooley is a Virginia alum, which could be helpful to his chances at their job should Al Groh run out of time in Charlottesville.

LARRY FEDORA, Southern Miss - Fedora got Southern Miss to a bowl game in his first year with the program and then won it. The Golden Eagles had been stale on offense for years, but set their all time yardage record last season. Fedora's got successful offensive coordinator experience in the SEC with Florida and the Big 12 with Oklahoma State. He has an excellent recruiting reputation with great ties into Texas. This year's schedule has two excellent chances for attention getting wins against name programs, as Virginia comes to Hattiesburg and USM travels to Louisville. Fedora's a very personable and impressive guy - if he gets an interview with a school, he's got a great shot to land their job.

KEVIN SUMLIN, Houston - Sumlin is heading into his second year as head man of the Cougars. His first saw them win the Armed Forces Bowl and go 8-5. Art Briles had the program performing well before leaving for Baylor, so Sumlin may not get as much credit for that as he does for his five year stint under Bob Stoops with Oklahoma. He was their offensive coordinator when Houston hired him. With games on the road at Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State, Sumlin gets plenty of chances for a statement victory over a BCS opponent this year. Sumlin's also one of the few minority candidates who will already have D-1 head coaching experience on his resume as he's considered for jobs.

BUTCH JONES, Central Michigan - Jones has won eight games in each of his two seasons at CMU, losing in a pair of bowls. The 41-year-old has already come close to getting a big job, as he was mentioned heavily in the search for Rich Rodriguez's replacement at West Virginia. With coaching ties to Rodrigiuez and Brian Kelly of Cincinnati, Jones has an impressive pedigree. A schedule that includes road games wih Arizona, Boston College and Michigan State won't be an easy one, but if Central Michigan wins one of those then Jones's stock will go up quickly.

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