I often find myself watching college football games and wondering if a certain coach could do better — or at the very least — be a better fit elsewhere. Plenty of coaches have success wherever they go, but that doesn't make some of the stops awkward or eventually stale.
I've put together a list of five successful college coaches, who despite their success at their current gigs, could be just as successful and perhaps even better fits elsewhere.
Briles coaches a wide-open, exciting style of football that resonates with recruits and fans. He does it all with Texas kids and has established Baylor as one of the nation's elite programs. I believe he could drop everything in Waco today, make the trip to Austin and have the Longhorns back on top of the college football world in two seasons with the same formula. There isn't a coach in college football more "Texas" than Art Briles. He belongs in Austin.
Nobody runs the option like Paul Johnson's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. In addition to running the option, Johnson mixes in just enough of a passing game to keep opposing defenses honest. It's an offense that still works and is still tough to defend when executed properly. The Yellow Jackets are consistently one of the ACC's top programs as a result of it. Johnson could move to Lincoln, Nebraska — a place that you could argue has had more success historically with the option than anywhere else — and have the Huskers playing for a Big Ten title regularly. The Cornhusker state would party like it was 1995.
Petrino knows the southeast pretty well from a recruiting standpoint. Additionally, he was on the cusp of taking the Arkansas program to the next level before an "unfortunate off-field incident." Is there any doubt that he could take over the helm in Knoxville and have the Vols owning the SEC East within a season or two? Tennessee has waited to be relevant again for a long time. The wait continues, and Petrino lives in the next state to the north.
Kelly has made Notre Dame a contender again. That said, his act and overall swagger might go over a bit better in Coral Gables. Kelly cares about one thing: WINNING. They haven't won at a high level in Miami in a long time, and the Hurricanes haven't had the traditional swagger that "The U" has come to be known for in quite some time, either. Kelly could almost immediately provide both.
It really can't get better for Meyer. He's at one of college football's most storied programs and is the reason that other players and coaches get out of bed to work hard. He's "the man," but he's not in charge of "the program." Everything about him mirrors the history, tradition and attitude of Irish football. Flashy yet reserved. Confident yet humble. Modern style packaged as a throwback. The most recognizable college football coach in America belongs at the front of college football's most recognizable program.