By Bruce Feldman
Nov 22, 2015 at 8:32p ET
With Thanksgiving coming up, the silly season of the coaching carousel is about to kick into high gear. With the firing of Iowa State's Paul Rhoads Sunday morning, there are now 12 head-coaching vacancies with many more to come. Here are 51 coaches to keep an eye this winter as things heat up.
1. Les Miles, LSU:
Less than one month after his team was No. 1, there has been a flurry of reports that his job is in serious jeopardy due in large part to a stagnant offense. His buyout is huge at $15 million, but the Times Picayune says the Tigers Athletic Foundation can handle that. Can his team show enough spark against A&M to turn the tide? It sounds like it may be a long shot at this time. Then again, if LSU is going to can Miles and eat that buyout and an additional $3 million or $4 million for his staff PLUS chase a guy like Jimbo Fisher who has a $5 million buyout and then set him up, you could be talking about money in the $50 million-$60 million range, which is a fortune to make this move.
2. Tom Herman, Houston:
His Cougars stumbled against UConn and fell from the unbeaten ranks to 10-1 as Herman finally lost when forced to play a backup QB. Still, he’s the hottest name in college coaching, and is in play at South Carolina and possibly even bigger jobs even after UH stepped up to boost his salary to $3 million per last week.
3. Gary Patterson, TCU:
He has done the heavy lifting building TCU into a powerhouse and has a good AD and now very good facilities. But he could be a guy that USC — and potentially LSU and Texas — target.
4. Justin Fuente, Memphis:
The Tigers lost again this weekend (to Temple) and dropped to 8-3. However, that doesn’t take away from the fantastic job he’s done with what had been a dismal program. Va. Tech looks like a good option, but we’ll see what other big dominoes fall.
5. Larry Fedora, UNC:
One of the better offensive minds in football, Fedora’s team won the ACC Coastal and with a win over Clemson in the ACC title game might be able to sneak into the playoff. Fedora has been operating under a dark NCAA cloud of Chapel Hill in the wake of an academic scandal that he had nothing to do with it. (Word is women’s basketball is expected to take the big hit from the NCAA.) Yet, Fedora told FOX Sports that about 95 percent of the time when talking to recruits, he and his staff get asked about it. He’d probably be a good fit at Va. Tech, but also could potentially be a factor if LSU or FSU open up.Click for #6-#51 (The Rest of this Season's Coaching Carousel List)