Willie Fritz (Tulane Head Coach) – Speaking of high-level Group of Five coaches. You can’t mention top Gof5 programs without mentioning the Green Wave. It took a little while, but Fritz has turned Tulane in a Gof5 Powerhouse coming off an upset win over USC in the Cotton Bowl last year, and potentially on-track for another NY6 bowl bid this year. Fritz is one of the most experienced coaches on this list with 205 wins to his credit and time as a head coach dating back to the 1990’s. Fritz is in his 8th season at Tulane, where he has a 52-46 record. The key part though is the last two seasons, where Tulane has a combined 21-3 record and wins over USC and Kansas State and one of their losses being a tight loss to Ole Miss this year in which they were without their starting QB (Michael Pratt). While Fritz is not the young up-and-comer that several others on this list are, there aren’t many more respected coaches out there with strong recent success than Fritz.
Barry Odom (UNLV Head Coach) – Odom could be a good fit at Mississippi State if they elect to go the route of a defensive minded coach. While the 46-year old’s first tenure in the SEC as a Head Coach did not go well, going 21-25* in four years at Missouri from 2016-2019 (he was 25-25 before the NCAA stripped Missouri of their four wins in 2016), Odom has done well to get himself back in the Power Five conversation based on what he’s done since. Odom served as the Defensive Coordinator at Arkansas from 2020-2022 before taking over as the head man at UNLV this season. Odom has quickly turned the Rebels into one of the top Group of Five teams in the nation. He has UNLV sitting at 8-2 (already a three win improvement over last season) and controlling their own destiny in the Mountain West title game race. While some fans would be upset with the Odom pick based on his track-record at Mizzou and with the way hiring a defensive minded guy just went, Odom has HC experience, has bushels of SEC experience, and is showing right now his ability to quickly turn-around a roster.
Sean Lewis (Colorado Offensive Coordinator) – Sean Lewis was recently somewhat controversially stripped of his play-calling duties at Colorado, leaving many to wonder about his future in Boulder. Lewis was one of the big staff gets for Deion Sanders at Colorado, as Lewis left a Head Coaching gig to come be a Coordinator under Sanders. Lewis was the Head Coach at Kent State for five years (from 2018-2022), where he amassed a 24-31 record. While that record does not jump off the page at you, Lewis is known as one of the bright young offensive minds out there (just 37 years old). He helped turn Kent State into one of the top offenses in the Group of Five (were fifth in the nation in yards per game in 2021 after averaging a whopping 49.8 points per game and 608.5 yards per game in the Covid-shortened 2020 season). He also had Colorado playing well offensively as well before he was shockingly demoted. Lewis isn’t the sexiest name, but he has Head Coaching experience and is a bright young offensive mind.