College Football America’s 2014 Coaching Carousel: O’Brien heads for NFL

Former Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien.

Former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien.

Bill O’Brien’s agreement to become the head coach of the Houston Texans opens up another big-time college job, this time at Penn State.

While it’s true that Penn State is only halfway through its NCAA sanctions, O’Brien proved he could keep the Nittany Lions relevant and afloat, going 15-9 over two seasons. But the NFL was where O’Brien wanted to be and going to Houston allows him to start basically from scratch after the Texans went 2-14.

Now that we know which NFL jobs are open it adds a new wrinkle to the coaching carousel in FBS. For instance, it is now rumored that the Cleveland Browns are hoping to talk with Auburn’s Gus Malzahn after the BCS National Championship game, much like the Philadelphia Eagles did with Notre Dame’s Chip Kelly. Cleveland is also rumored to be interested in Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.

The Texas job is still the big dog. In the past 24 hours Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher signed a 5-year contract extension that does not preclude him from leaving for the Texas job. Meanwhile you can add Louisville’s Charlie Strong to the list of coaches being considered – or rumored to be under consideration – along with Baylor’s Art Briles and Franklin.

So it’s definitely heating up. Penn State is our 16th FBS coaching opening, and given that Penn State and Texas are unlikely to hire FBS assistants to fill those jobs, as long as the two schools hire within the college ranks their hires could have a ripple effect throughout the FBS ranks.


Arkansas State Bryan Harsin Bruce Anderson
Army Rich Ellerson Jeff Monken
Boise State Chris Petersen Bryan Harsin
Bowling Green Dave Clawson Dino Babers
Connecticut Paul Pasqualoni Bob Diaco
Eastern Michigan Ron English Chris Creighton
Florida Atlantic Carl Pelini Charlie Partridge
Georgia Southern Jeff Monken TBA
Massachusetts Charley Molnar TBA
Miami (OH) Don Treadwell Chuck Martin
Penn State Bill O’Brien TBA
Texas Mack Brown TBA
USC Lane Kiffin Steve Sarkisian
Wake Forest Jim Grobe Dave Clawson
Washington Steve Sarkisian Chris Petersen
Wyoming Dave Christensen Craig Bohl

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