This is total speculation at the moment, but assuming defensive coordinator Marcel Yates doesn’t go from interim to head man, the best educated guesses on who’ll everyone be talking about are …
5. Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic head coach
Brilliant in his one year at FAU, he turned the Owl running game into an unstoppable machine that rolled through the Conference USA season and destroyed Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl. He might be more drama than the program might want right now, but with the talent that’s in place, Arizona’s ground game would remain phenomenal.
4. Bryan Harsin, Boise State head coach
This would be the easy transition pick. He’s only 41, he’d almost certainly want to keep Yates around, and after bringing Boise State back to a Mountain West title level – and after destroying Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl – he’s ready for that next-step-up gig.
3. Jeff Brohm, Purdue head coach
You just saw what the guy can do, Arizona fans. He was a miracle worker at Purdue, taking the Big Ten’s free space win for the rest of the league and making it dangerous. While he might not be the exact right fit with the current personnel, his offense will keep up in the Pac-12 firefights.
Now, if you want the guy who really is the right fit …
2. Charlie Strong, USF head coach
Strong walked right into USF and kept the offense cranked up in a special season.
USF QB Quinton Flowers: 2,911 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, six interceptions, 1,078 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns.
Strong and Khalil Tate? With all the young defensive players in place to mold? Look out.
1. Jeff Tedford, Fresno State head coach
There were some fantastic coaching jobs done this year, but none better than what Tedford was able to pull off in just one year.
Fresno State was absolutely woeful, winning just one game in 2016. But all of a sudden, the defense was a killer, the offense rose up when it had to, and the program finished with a ten-win season, a trip to the Mountain West championship, and a Hawaii Bowl win.
Tedford obviously knows the Pac-12, and he proved again that he knows how to jump into a situation and make a program successful. Would he want to leave his alma mater? He’s worth the effort to try getting him.