Out: Joker Phillips
In: Mark Stoops (Florida State DC)
Quality of hire: Unless the Wildcats were going to go after Alabama’s Kirby Smart, there wasn’t a better candidate to take the job other than Stoops. Despite being a big school in the SEC, Kentucky isn’t a favorable coaching destination, so this was a great pickup.
Out: Derek Dooley
In: Butch Jones (Cincinnati HC)
Quality of hire: After missing out on Jon Gruden, Mike Gundy, Charlie Strong and others, the Vols finally landed the coach they should have gone after first -- Butch Jones. He doesn't have recruiting ties to the SEC, but he brings what every rebuilding program needs: a winning background.
Out: John L. Smith
In: Bret Bielema (Wisconsin HC)
Quality of hire: While it definitely raised some eyebrows, this is a good hire for the Razorbacks. Bielema brings a defensive mind to a team that has lacked exactly that for quite some time, and could install a Nick Saban-like power running game that has worked so well for Alabama in the SEC West.
Out: Gene Chizik
In: Gus Malzahn (Arkansas State HC)
Quality of hire: Malzahn is an offensive guru and was the best solution to Auburn’s scoring woes. In 2008, the Tigers ranked 108th nationally in total offense. When he took over in 2009, they finished 16th. The circumstances are very similar this time around.
Out: Tommy Tuberville
In: Kliff Kingsbury (Texas A&M OC)
Quality of hire: The 33-year-old former Red Raider quarterback is the perfect fit for the job. Kingsbury was a Mike Leach assistant and offensive coordinator for Kevin Sumlin's pass-friendly offenses at both Houston and A&M, which is also TTU's main focus.
Out: Danny Hope
In: Darrell Hazell (Kent State HC)
Quality of hire: With Butch Jones declining the job, Purdue couldn’t have done better with the hiring of Hazell. He served as an Ohio State receivers coach for six years, so he has great ties with recruiting in Ohio. It’s hard to tell if he’ll find success with the Boilermakers, but at this point, it’s a nice fit.
Out: Bret Bielema
In: Gary Andersen (Utah State HC)
Quality of hire: AD Barry Alvarez told fans not to panic and that a hire was coming soon. And boy, did he deliver. Andersen took a program that was going nowhere fast and turned it into a 11-win team, worthy of a No. 18 BCS ranking. Utah State came within two missed field goals of busting the BCS this season, but settled for a decisive Potato Bowl win over Toledo -- its first since 1993. This is an excellent hire for Wisconsin, especially given the circumstances.
Out: Jeff Tedford
In: Sonny Dykes (LA-Tech HC)
Quality of hire: As of Wednesday night (Dec. 5), Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes has accepted the Cal job. The Bulldogs owned the nation's top-ranked offense this season, and Dykes will have some young talent to work with in his first season.
In: Mike MacIntyre (San Jose State HC)
Quality of hire: CU put all of its marbles with Cincinnati coach Butch Jones, and when it didn't land him, you knew they'd have to settle. But the hire of MacIntyre really isn't all that "settling," as he took a San Jose State team and got it ranked. The Buffs are arguably the worst team in FBS, but MacIntyre definitely has the talent to turn them around.
North Carolina State
Out: Tom O’Brien
In: Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois HC)
Quality of hire: Doeren’s resume doesn’t show any reason to believe that this hire will turn NC State’s program around. Sure, he’s pummeled the MAC, but couldn’t beat Wisconsin (lost 49-7 in 2011) or Iowa (lost 18-17 this year). He only has recruiting ties to the Midwest, too. There’s hope that he can bring his offensive success to the Wolf Pack, but he’ll need to install a solid defense first.
Out: Frank Spaziani
In: Steve Addazio (Temple HC)
Quality of hire: I really like this pickup for BC. In 2011, Addazio led Temple to its first bowl win since 1979. He’s a very talented recruiter and has two national championships as an offensive coach under Urban Meyer at Florida.
Out: Skip Holtz
In: Willie Taggart (Western Kentucky HC)
Quality of hire: Taggart was the front-runner for the position the day Holtz was fired. A Florida native, he has recruiting ties and could turn USF into a Big East title contender shortly.
Out: Steve Addazio
In: Matt Rhule (New York Giants OL coach)
Quality of hire: Before moving on to the NFL as an assistant, Rhule spent six seasons with Temple, the last being as a co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach in 2011. Although they'd still like to have Addazio leading the helm, the Owls won't see much of a drop off with this hire. Rhule has plenty of coaching experience and knows the area's recruiting pipelines well.
Out: Butch Jones
In: Tommy Tuberville (Texas Tech HC)
Quality of hire: Aside from Bret Bielema to Arkansas, this is hands down the most surprising coaching hire of the season -- but a great one for UC. Texas Tech officials were "completely blindsided" from Tuberville's decision to leave, while the Bearcats are celebrating what could potentially be a huge upgrade from Butch Jones.
Other schools with coaching switches
- Idaho fired Robb Akey and replaced him with Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino.
- Northern Illinois gave its vacancy left by Dave Doeren to offensive coordinator Rod Carey.
- Western Michigan fired Bill Cubit. With Bielema gone, this gives the Broncos a chance to grab Wisconsin OC Matt Canada to fill the position.
- Mike Price retired from UTEP after nine seasons. Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler has accepted the vacant position.
- Georgia State coach Bill Curry retired after three seasons. Indiana State’s Trent Miles, who has an impressive resume, will replace him as the Panthers head to the Sun Belt in 2013.
- Southern Miss fired Ellis Johnson after an 0-12 season. Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken is set to start anew with the Golden Eagles.
- Arkansas State has hired Texas OC Bryan Harsin to replace Gus Mahlzahn.
- Kent State took ex-Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes to replace Darren Hazell.
- Florida International fired Mario Cristobal. Florida State offensive coordinator James Coley could be the man for the job.
- Louisiana Tech has hired Skip Holtz, who was fired from South Florida after a 3-9 season.
- Western Kentucky's Willie Taggart fled for warm waters at South Florida. His replacement: Bobby Petrino. It was just a matter of time before the infamous coach got back into the game, but when and where were the hot questions. Now we know, and as a former coach at Louisville, it's not a bad fit. At all.
- San Jose State has hired Ron Caragher -- former UCLA player/asst. -- to replace Mike McIntyre after an impeccable 10-2 season.
- Utah State: