Friday Five: Finding the next Herm Edwards to join the college football coaching ranks

Former NFL coaches who have spent most of the last decade -- if not all of it -- in a television studio and not on the sideline are the new market inefficiency in college football. This is just a fact that cannot be disputed. Arizona State hired Herm Edwards, and it is now 2-0 and capable of beating top 25 teams like Michigan State.

OK, so maybe it's just a bit too early to declare the Herm Edwards experiment at Arizona State a success, but as I wrote earlier this week, Herm is making a lot of us look like idiots, and it's all Arizona State's fault.

Sure, the Sun Devils could cool down after a hot start, but what if they don't? What if Herm Edwards leads them to a Pac-12 title and a playoff berth? What if Arizona State becomes the new Alabama?

Shouldn't athletic directors across the country be compiling a list of names belonging to coaches who could be the next Herm Edwards? They better be, because you don't want to get left behind. For those who haven't put their list together yet, don't worry, I'm here to do it for you.

In this week's Friday Five, I'm ranking the next Herm Edwardses.

5. Bill Cowher: My CBS Sports colleague hasn't been on an NFL sideline since the 2006 season, and has never coached at the college level. So he might be even better than Herm Edwards and could mold young men into the sturdiest of chins. He's also younger than Herm by three years, so age shouldn't be considered a problem.

If there is one knock on Cowher, however, it's that he might have been too successful in the NFL for this to work. Edwards went 54-74 (.422) as an NFL coach. The Chin went 149-90-1 (.623), won a Super Bowl and coached in another. Can somebody with a Super Bowl ring be the next Edwards? I don't know, but our next option better hope so.

4. Tony Dungy: Like Cowher before him, Dungy has won a Super Bowl as a coach (he's also won one as a player). Hell, you could argue that Dungy won two as a coach if you want to, it's just Jon Gruden got the credit for his first one. Also like Cowher, the NBC analyst is younger than Edwards and has been out of coaching for a decade.

Dungy's similarities to Edwards don't end there, either, as both were NFL defensive backs. If not for Dungy's success as an NFL coach (139-69, .668), he might be the perfect next Edwards candidate.

3. Rex Ryan: All right, now we're getting to the former NFL coaches now on television with the mediocre records. Ryan has received a lot of attention during his coaching career for a guy who won only 48 percent of the time (61-66). But that's what makes him such a strong candidate to be the next Edwards. Like Edwards, Ryan didn't become known as much for his wins on the sideline, but for his passion for feet the game and his personality.

If Ryan can get a bunch of professionals pumped up to go out there and hit somebody, he could fire up some college kids. Also, being able to say you coached guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed couldn't hurt with recruiting, particularly in the state of Florida. Maybe an ACC school should start placing a few phone calls. The only question for Ryan is, has he been out of the game long enough? He was coaching in Buffalo in 2016, and it could be one of those situations where he hasn't had enough time to develop in the TV studio to become a great college coach.

2. Dave Wannstedt: Would it be a significant loss for the American Football fan not to have the chance to hear Wanny's voice on their television and radio airwaves? Of course it would. That's an accent the soul needs, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the greater good, and that greater good might be Wannstedt leading a program to the mountaintop.

Unlike the coaches I've already mentioned, Wanny has college head coaching experience. He went 42-31 at Pitt. In fact, his .575 winning percentage with the Panthers was better than the three full-time Pitt coaches who preceded him, and it's better than the three full-time Pitt coaches who succeeded him. Hell, maybe Pitt should be the one hiring Wannstedt to be the next Edwards. He hasn't been on a sideline since 2013 and hasn't been a head coach since Pitt canned him in 2010. I mean, the fact he had a .488 winning percentage in the NFL and a .575 winning percentage on the college level only further confirms his Herm-like abilities in my book.

1. Steve Mariucci: Mooch might make too much sense. Not only has he been out of the coaching game since 2005, but he didn't have a ton of success while there, either, going 72-67 (.518) during his NFL career. He also has some college experience, like Herm, but it was over 20 years ago when Mooch spent one season at Cal (1996), going 6-7.

Furthermore, Mooch has also spent time recently working as a coach in the Under Armour All-American Game. In fact, he spent a couple of years coaching against Herm in that game.

This is it, folks, we have found the next Herm Edwards. It is Steve Mariucci.

Honorable Mention: Brian Billick, Jack Del Rio, Mike Ditka, Jeff Fisher, John Fox, Eric Mangini

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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