2. Luke Fickell, Cincinnati head coach
I was surprised USC didn’t make a strong push to land Luke Fickell after parting ways with Clay Helton and over the past few weeks when the coaching carousel started spinning faster and faster, but maybe a Pac-12 rival in Oregon could swing for the fences here.
Fickell is the hottest name from the Group of Five which has been in just about every single head coaching search, dating back a couple of years, but he might be waiting for the job: Ohio State.
Yes, Fickell spent a year as Ohio State’s coach back in 2011, going 6-7 with a Gator Bowl loss and was immediately replaced with Urban Meyer but it just feels like he wants another chance with his alma mater now that he’s proven. He was retained as an assistant coach by Meyer for five years before getting his next break with Cincinnati. He has succeeded there, going 48-14 in five years with the Bearcats and every big program looking for a coach has made a run at him.
Fickell nearly left for Michigan State before the 2020 season, but a deal fell through late and the Spartans ended up with Mel Tucker. Maybe Oregon is a big enough opportunity for him to bolt after leading Cincinnati to the playoff.
Or maybe he believes that he can win big at Cincinnati.
I wouldn’t be shocked to at least see Oregon inquire about Fickell because he would absolutely find success in Eugene.