Why some ADs may be tempted to sit out this year’s coaching carousel

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Stewart Mandel’s Nov. 4 Mailbag. For his full Mailbag, click here, and to submit a question for next week, email Stewart.Mandel@fox.com.

Hello, Stewart. With Norm Chow being fired at Hawaii and Frank Beamer’s upcoming retirement, the number of FBS head-coaching vacancies increased to 10 before the first game of November. Like you’ve discussed in your podcasts, this number will only increase as the season progresses. That being said, do you think there are any programs that may refrain from firing their head coach out of fear there will be a lack of qualified candidates left to choose from?

— Jeff Pretzel, Houston

I do. Even with a particularly strong group of mid-major coaches (Justin Fuente, Tom Herman, Matt Rhule, Matt Campbell), at the rate things are going the marketplace in this carousel is going to be higher on demand than supply. My colleague Bruce Feldman, aka the czar of coaching searches, is projecting as many as 35 openings once the dominoes start falling. That’s a nearly 30 percent turnover of FBS coaching jobs.

GRADING CFB COACHING HIRES

Mind you, there are lots and lots of talented assistants and FCS coaches that could in theory fill those 35 spots, but identifying them is a lot more difficult than throwing money at Justin Fuente.

So yes, I think some ADs may decide to sit this one out. That’s not to say a school should hold on to its coach for another year if the future seems untenable. For instance, I cannot imagine Virginia giving Mike London yet another year if he suffers his fifth losing record in six seasons — even though the school must now compete against Virginia Tech and Maryland.

But if you’re Purdue, do you give Darrell Hazell another year if he follows up last week’s Nebraska victory with even a couple more Big Ten wins? At this rate, there could be five other openings within its own conference, and Purdue is going to fall pretty far down the pecking order in this year’s carousel. But if things still have not turned around a year from now, that same school could face far less competition for candidates.

Stewart Mandel is a senior college sports columnist for FOXSports.com. He covered college football and basketball for 15 years at Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter @slmandel and Facebook. Send emails and Mailbag questions to Stewart.Mandel@fox.com.