This is CBSSports.com's annual college football coaching changes tracker for the 2014 coaching carousel. Bookmark this page for updating news, rumors, and reaction to who's in and who's out.
OUT: Will Muschamp, fired with two nonconference games remaining in his fourth and final season after a loss to South Carolina -- his sixth in eight home games -- dropped his overall Florida record to 27-20 and SEC record to an ugly 17-15. A coach with more sympathy from the Gator faithful might have survived for another season, but Muschamp's unwatchable offense -- currently 91st in FBS total offense, and never better than 104th over his first three seasons -- gave him no margin for error.
IN: Jim McElwain, who turned Colorado State from a ramshackle Mountain West also-ran into a New Year's Six auto-bid contender in the span of three seasons. Before arriving in Fort Collins, McElwain won a pair of BCS titles as Alabama's offensive coordinator and has consistently placed his offenses among the FBS's best in yards per-play; the Rams are No. 4 in that statistic in 2014.
WHAT WE THINK: Basically nobody who's had any up-close-and-personal experience with McElwain has the first negative thing to say about the hire. It's clear he knows how to coach an offense, very likely he understands how to run a program, and highly probable his floor with a potential juggernaut like the Gators is the 9-to-10 win range and a return to SEC East contention. But what's McElwain's ceiling? There's no telling how well he'll recruit head-to-head against Jimbo Fisher, staff his defense, or handle the pressure of a Cocktail Party; for all McElwain's positives, he's also still a coach with a 22-16 all-time record over a grand total of three seasons, all of which came in an environment a galaxy away from Gainesville. McElwain may well have been the best hire Florida could have made -- but that may say as much about the current pool of candidates as it does McElwain himself.
OUT: Bo Pelini, dismissed two days after posting a 9-3 record in his seventh season with the Huskers -- a move that suggests Nebraska's administration had tired of waiting for a league championship to justify its patience with Pelini's volatile personality. Pelini went 67-27 in Lincoln and never won fewer than nine games in a season, but over his first six years also never lost fewer than four games in a season.
IN: In the most stunning hire of the coaching carousel so far, Oregon State's Mike Riley. The 61-year-old Corvallis High School graduate went 93-80 over two stints with the Beavers, one of the weakest power-conference programs in college football prior to his arrival.
WHAT WE THINK: There's no doubting Riley's tactical acumen or ability to wring the most out of limited recruiting resources -- you don't win as many games in a location like Corvallis as Riley did without some serious coaching chops. The Huskers won't ever be worse than respectable on his watch. But they were already respectable, and at Riley's age, does he have the energy and creativity necessary to take that next, championship step -- one he never quite managed at Oregon State, forgivably so or not -- that the Huskers so desperately crave?
OUT: Brady Hoke, fired after a four-season tenure in which each team posted a worse record than the one before it, 2011's Sugar Bowl champions eventually giving way to 2014's 5-7 disappointments. Hoke went 31-20 overall but defeated the Wolverines' rivals at Michigan State and Ohio State just twice in eight tries.
IN: Jim Harbaugh, who merely turned downtrodden Stanford into Orange Bowl champions in a span of four seasons and the downtrodden 49ers into NFC champions in two. What can he do at his alma mater?
WHAT WE THINK: There were two premier college jobs available this year. Florida's was filled by a coach that hadn't made the Mountain West Championship Game in three tries; Michigan's was filled by a coach who made the Super Bowl in his second. That's not to knock the Gators' search as much as it is to praise Michigan's, which under interim AD Jim Hackett locked in on Harbaugh early and never wavered. The result: arguably the biggest smash hire in college football since Urban Meyer landed at the Wolverines' archrivals three seasons ago.
OUT: Gary Andersen, who equaled (or topped) the shock of Mike Riley bolting for Nebraska by bolting to become Riley's replacement at Oregon State. Andersen went 19-7 in just two seasons in Madison after arriving from Utah State.
IN: Paul Chryst, the former Badgers offensive coordinator whose units at Wisconsin set school records and won Big Ten championships left and right. But he's also the now-former Pitt coach whose Panther teams went 19-19 in his three seasons at the helm.
WHAT WE THINK: Does the man make the job, or the job make the man? Since Barry Alvarez transformed the one-time Big Ten laughingstock into a bulldozing ground-and-pound force in the 1990s, neither Alvarez nor Bret Bielema nor Andersen has had any trouble maintaining the Badgers' momentum. Chryst's familiarity with the program and play-calling expertise combined with Wisconsin's seemingly permanent Wisconsinness should make him a success ... but a success on the Alvarez/Bielema level? His Pitt tenure suggests that jury is very much out.
OUT: Paul Chryst, hired away by his alma mater Wisconsin after posting a 19-19 record in three seasons with the Panthers.
IN: Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator for a Michigan State defense that over the past few seasons has become one of the best in college football and keyed the Spartans' back-to-back BCS/New Year's Six bowl berths.
WHAT WE THINK: There's at least some question as to whether Narduzzi can replicate his blockbuster success in East Lansing -- top-10 finishes in FBS total defense four years running, namely -- without the help of old boss Mark Dantonio. But no one in Pittsburgh will care, or should; Narduzzi was one of the hottest coaching candidates available for a reason, with colleagues left and right vouching for his defensive coaching acumen and his pro-style mindset providing a smooth transition from the Chryst era. The Panthers could not realistically have done any better.
OUT: Charlie Weis, dismissed four games into his third season in Lawrence after losing 23-0 at home to Texas. Weis posted a 6-22 overall record with the Jayhawks, winning only three games against FBS competition and just one in 19 tries against the Big 12.
IN: Texas A&M receivers coach and recruiting coordinator David Beaty, who returns to Lawrence after two previous stints as a Jayhawk assistant -- one as Mark Mangino's receivers coach, one as Turner Gill's offensive coordinator.
WHAT WE THINK: Beaty has been universally described as the kind of assistant that would become a head coach some day, and given his Texas high school coaching roots and Texas A&M experience, there seems little doubt he'll improve the Jayhawks' recruiting in short order. But is this too tough a job too soon? His coordinating stints weren't successful -- at Rice in 2010 the Owls finished 78th in yards per-play, and the 2011 Jayhawks were a miserable 111th -- and Weis's tenure showed the Jayhawks need coaching even more than they need recruiting. Is Beaty ready to provide it?
OUT: Mike Riley, who after 14 seasons and 93 wins in Corvallis -- or some 70 more than the Beavers could have expected before his arrival -- elected to start over at Nebraska.
IN: Abrupt departure or not, Oregon State still owes Riley a Christmas basket -- because it's impossible to imagine the sad-sack pre-Riley Beavers making a hire half as splashy as Wisconsin's Gary Andersen. Andersen won 19 games in just two seasons in Madison, confirming that his resurrection of Utah State from one of the FBS's worst programs to an 11-win WAC champion was no fluke.
WHAT WE THINK: Andersen oversaw a handful of genuinely head-scratching losses in Madison -- the home defeat to Penn State to close 2013, the loss at 5-7 Northwestern in 2014, 59-0. Looking at the bigger picture, though, are those any more than nits for skeptics to pick? After his borderline miraculous work with the Aggies -- Andersen had one fewer winning season in four years at USU (two) than the program had enjoyed the previous three decades (three) -- Andersen was one notorious officiating debacle from back-to-back 10-win seasons. He's not just Riley's replacement; judging from his overall resume, it seems likely he's an upgrade.
GROUP OF FIVE
OUT: June Jones, who cited "personal issues" when he resigned Sept. 8 after two heavy defeats to open the Mustangs' 2014 season, Jones' seventh at the school. After a 1-11 debut, Jones won at least seven games each of the next four years, earning the Mustangs their first four bowl berths since the infamous "death penalty" of the mid-1980s. Defensive coordinator Tom Mason was named interim coach.
IN: Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, a former Texas high school coaching force whose spread offense set numerous school records for the Tigers in his four seasons and made stars out of the likes of Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins.
WHAT WE THINK: No point in selling it short: for a program with as little success as the Mustangs have amassed over the past three decades to hire a candidate as hot as Morris is an outright coup. No hire is a 100-percent sure thing, but the combination of Morris's offensive acumen and his recruiting-ready Texas high school roots should make this hire as close to 100 percent as any SMU could have realistically made. A coach frequently linked with SEC and ACC jobs the past two offseasons is going to the AAC instead; that's not bad at all, SMU.
OUT: Program icon Larry Blakeney, the only FBS coach the Trojans have ever had. Blakeney had racked up 175 victories since coming to Troy in 1991 -- the seventh-highest total among active coaches -- when he announced his retirement in October, effective at season's end.
IN: Kentucky offensive coordinator and former Trojan play-caller Neal Brown, hired after taking the Wildcats from 119th to 66th in FBS scoring offense over his two seasons in Lexington. At 34 years old, Brown is the FBS's second-youngest head coach behind only Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck.
WHAT WE THINK: Brown's offenses -- both at Kentucky and in his previous stop at Texas Tech -- have tended to be explosive one week and pedestrian the next, but there's no arguing with Brown's intelligence, potential, energy or familiarity with the program. Especially compared to the other candidates in the Trojans' pool, Brown's ceiling makes him the closest thing to a no-brainer.
OUT: Jeff Quinn, fired unceremoniously seven games into his fifth season after losing by 10 points to traditional MAC punching bag Eastern Michigan. Quinn went 20-36 with the Bulls, but appeared to have the program on the right track after a 2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl berth.
IN: UW-Whitewater's Lance Leipold, who has gone an incredible 106-6 with the Division III powerhouse and won five national titles in eight seasons.
WHAT WE THINK: Going from non-scholarship football to one of the tougher gigs in all of FBS is a major leap, but it's simply not possible to have more success at the D-III level than Leipold enjoyed ... or to imagine that success came entirely by accident. Leipold's pro-style offense could be a useful change of pace in the spread-heavy MAC, too. Given the program's profile (or lack thereof), it's hard to think Buffalo could have made a more intriguing hire.
OUT: Bobby Hauck, who arrived with a stellar record at FCS Montana but never got the Runnin' Rebels on solid footing in his four seasons, going 15-48. A 7-6 record and bowl berth in 2013 (the program's first since 2000) gave way to a 2-11 mark in 2014.
IN: Tony Sanchez, the first high school coach hired directly into an FBS head coaching position since Todd Dodge at North Texas in 2007. Sanchez went 85-5 and won six state titles at Las Vegas's Bishop Gorman High, and just as importantly -- maybe more importantly -- could come with the backing of billionaire UFC founder and casino executive Lorenzo Fertitta, whose sons played for Sanchez at Bishop Gorman.
WHAT WE THINK: Rebel athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said it best to CBSSports.com: "We had to do something." The Rebels have made a string of promising on-paper hires (Hauck included) that didn't work out, so why not roll the dice on a coach who knows the area, understands the challenges, and might come with UNLV's own T. Boone Pickens as part of the deal? Besides: while coaches like Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn and even Bill Clark spent some time adjusting to college football as assistants, they've also made clear there is high-level coaching talent in the high school ranks. What, really, does UNLV have to lose in hoping Sanchez is the same kind of talent?
OUT: Bill Blankenship, the former Oklahoma high school coaching stalwart and Todd Graham assistant whose 19-8 start in his first two seasons at the Golden Hurricane helm gave way to a 5-19 plummet in his final two.
IN: Philip Montgomery, an Art Briles assistant for 16 seasons and Baylor's offensive coordinator-slash-quarterbacks coach for the past seven, a span that's seen the Bears rank in the FBS top-two in total offense four times.
WHAT WE THINK: Tulsa's recent success arrived largely on the back of a dynamic, high-scoring, up-up-tempo offense, so it's impossible to blame the Golden Hurricane either for trying to recreate that offense or for thinking that a coach who knows the Briles system inside-and-out is the best bet to do so. Montgomery has to prove he can hire the right defensive staff and take the offense to championship heights without Briles' help, but it's hard to think of any hire that could make Tulsa more exciting than it promises to be under Montgomery.
OUT: Jim McElwain, who took the Florida job after three seasons of rapid improvement in fort Collins.
IN: Mike Bobo, the longtime Georgia offensive coordinator. The Bulldogs finished first, 13th and seventh in FBS yards per-play the past three seasons.
WHAT WE THINK: The Rams' last hire was an up-and-coming SEC pro-style offensive coordinator and worked out a-OK, so why not go right back to the well? The growing pains Bobo experienced in his first few seasons as Mark Richt's play-caller (and his unpopularity among a large number of Bulldog fans ever since) have helped disguise the fact that he should have been one of the hottest assistants in FBS football -- his offenses have now ranked among the nation's best for years, he has eight seasons' worth of SEC-grade coordinating experience, and he's somehow still just 40 years old despite being on the Georgia staff since 2001. He has to prove he can run his own offensive ship without Richt's help, but the Rams may have themselves a steal.
OUT: Tony Levine, out after three seasons in maybe the most surprising dismissal of the 2014 coaching carousel so far. After a disappointing 5-7 debut, Levine went 8-5 and 7-5 over his next two campaigns, with seven of those losses coming by a touchdown or less. But athletic director Mack Rhoades said that after opening the Cougars' new TDECU Stadium (and doing so with a loss to UTSA), UH's expectations should be set higher.
IN: Rhoades' decision makes more sense after hiring away Tom Herman, fresh off a Broyles Award win as Ohio State's offensive coordinator. After leading the FBS in yards-per-carry in 2013, the Buckeyes finished in the FBS top-five in total offense, scoring offense and yards-per-play in 2014.
WHAT WE THINK: Given the outstanding track record of Urban Meyer assistants, Herman's smashing success as the Buckeyes' play-caller, and his deep Texas ties -- Herman enjoyed coaching stints at Texas, Sam Houston State, Texas State and Rice, the latter of which saw him put together an FBS top-10 offense -- Herman was the most obvious of obvious choices. And did we mention he's only 39? And considered one of the nation's smartest coaches? Between Herman's arrival at UH and Chad Morris's at SMU, it's been a heck for a month for the AAC's Texas contingent in the coaching sweepstakes.