The Duel

4 College Football Head Coaches That Could Be Looking for New Jobs This Time Next Season

By David Hayes
Illinois v Minnesota
Illinois v Minnesota / Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With former Rutgers Scarlet Knights' head coach Chris Ash finally being shown the door in Piscataway at the end of September, it's officially open season when it comes to making head coaching changes in college football.

Here's a look at four head coaches that could find themselves out of their current jobs before January of the new year rolls around.

4. Mike Locksley, Maryland

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Mike Locksley inherited a tough project in turning around a Maryland football program, not far removed from the tragic death of Terrapins' sophomore offensive lineman Jordan McNair in August 2018, after Maryland finally pulled the trigger and replaced former head coach D.J. Durkin with Locksley mid-season. While his Terps certainly had much of the nation fooled through Week 2, including a large number of AP Top-25 Poll voters, Maryland has lost three of its last four games, being outscored by a combined margin of 126-79 points. Unfortunately for Locksley, his 3-31 career record as a head coach prior to running the show for the Terps this season appears to have caught up with him in College Park.

3. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

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With former Ohio State Buckeyes' head coach and Wolverines' menace Urban Meyer out of the picture, the 2019 season was supposed to be both Michigan and Jim Harbaugh's year. Instead, No. 4 Ohio State and transfer quarterback Justin Fields have the Buckeyes looking better than ever, as Harbaugh's Wolverines have already dropped out of the top 15 on the back of a humiliating 21-point loss to Wisconsin on the road in Week 4. With some calling his job status into question prior to an unconvincing 10-3 home win over Iowa in Week 6, Harbaugh and the Wolverines still have to hit the road to face No. 7 Penn State in Week 8, prior to remaining matchups with No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 4 Ohio State. By the looks of things in Ann Arbor, year five for Harbaugh doesn't look like it's going to be the Big Ten title game appearance most had tied to his future tenure with Michigan.

2. Willie Taggart, Florida State

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When Willie Taggart left his comfortable job as the head coach of Oregon to return home to Florida State, expectations were through the roof for him and his new staff. Known as an All-Star recruiter, Taggart hasn't exactly had the same luck he did in Eugene. With countless Florida State fans and alumni hoping he'd bring a quick fix to the declining success of the program, Taggart's first year as the head coach of the the Seminoles was an absolute circus. The Seminoles posted a 5-7 record, finished 3-5 in the ACC and snapped the program's streak of 36 straight bowl games, missing their first postseason game since 1982. Taggart's team is off to a underwhelming 3-3 start this season, and the Seminoles are fresh off an embarrassing 31-point loss to Clemson in Week 7. With road matchups against Wake Forest (5-1) and No. 9 Florida (5-1) left on the schedule, Florida State looks like it will certainly be fighting for postseason eligibility once again this season come late November.

1. Lovie Smith, Illinois

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Lovie Smith's days of leading the Chicago Bears to multiple NFC North titles and even a Super Bowl appearance are long behind him. The former Bears' head coach has been nothing short of abysmal at the college level with Illinois. Since taking over for the Fighting Illini in 2016, Smith has gone 3-9, 2-10, 4-8 and 2-4 respectively. Smith has also led Illinois to just a 4-27 Big Ten conference record, which is only one win better than Rutgers' conference-worst 3-28 record over that span. Illinois battled back valiantly from down 28-0 against No. 16 Michigan to lose 42-25 in Week 7, but the Fighting Illini are currently 31.5-point home underdogs ahead of Saturday's matchup with No. 6 Wisconsin, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. If Lovie's team doesn't pull a complete 180, he'll likely be looking for a new job come this time next year.

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David Hayes is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David Hayes also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username DavidWHayes. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.