Jim Harbaugh's stock is through the roof
The crazy season of the coaching carousel is in full swing -- the Miami Hurricanes, Minnesota Golden Gophers and some smaller programs already have fired their head coaches, and more firings are still to come. This year, the frenzy has gotten more chaotic thanks to the growth of Twitter. You will hear many of the same names floated in the discussions of coaching vacancies when athletic directors talk about targeting proven head coaches as well as guys who seem approachable. Some guys often fit best at certain places because of scheme, background or some connection to an athletic director who wasn't an athletic director back when the coaching candidate was a promising assistant.
Below are 10 guys who will be highly coveted this winter, some even at the NFL level. Two main caveats here: (a) This list doesn't include Gary Patterson (TCU Horned Frogs) or Chris Petersen (Boise State Broncos); those guys could move someday, but they seem fairly entrenched at their schools. It also doesn't include big-name, big-contract coaches at destination jobs such as Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel. It's very unlikely, of course, that any of those guys would move.
Also, all these guys are currently head coaches; we'll do the assistants' list another day.
1. Jim Harbaugh
Harbaugh is one of the few college coaches who is a viable NFL coaching candidate as well because of his pro background in addition to the system he runs. Harbaugh has done an unbelievable job transforming a program that hadn't had a winning season since 2001 into one of the most physical and finely tuned machines in major college football. The guy talks big and backs it up. The program that was 1-11 the year before he arrived in Palo Alto, Calif., went 4-8, 5-7, 8-5 and now 11-1. The fact that Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez hasn't turned the corner quite yet has added to the intrigue here, as does the fact that Harbaugh's quarterback, junior Andrew Luck, is likely to go pro after this season.