Who are the best candidates for Coach of the Year?

Published on Oct. 20, 2012, at 3:02 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

With eight weeks of college football in the books, let’s take a look at the top candidates for Coach of the Year honors…

1-Will Muschamp (Florida) In his second year at the helm, Muschamp has the Gators in the mix for everything — the SEC East, the SEC and the national title. Remember, Florida went 7-5 and 6-6 in the two previous regular seasons.

2-Bill Snyder (Kansas St.) Wow, what a beatdown the Wildcats dealt out against West Virginia. That doesn’t happen in Morgantown very often.

3-Mike Riley (Oregon St.) The Beavers went 5-7 and 3-9 in 2010 and 2011, but they are unbeaten in late October despite losing their starting quarterback a few weeks ago.

4-David Cutcliffe (Duke) The Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the first time since 1994.

5-Nick Saban (Alabama) What he’s doing in Tuscaloosa will be talked about for generations to come.

6-Brian Kelly (Notre Dame) Kelly has the Irish looking like a national-title contender for the first time since Lou Holtz roamed the sidelines in South Bend.

7-Chip Kelly (Oregon) One of the best offensive minds in college football.

8-Bill O’Brien (Penn St.) Considering the circumstances, he should probably be in the top five.

9-Kyle Flood (Rutgers) What Greg Schiano did at RU was incredible and the Scarlet Knights haven’t quit choppin’ wood under Kyle Flood’s leadership.

10-Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) The Aggies have found an outstanding head coach for the next decade.

11-Charlie Strong (Louisville) Get ready to give this man a raise, U of L, because several SEC schools are going to be gunning for Strong in December. I think he’ll turn down Kentucky and/or Arkansas, but I don’t think he could say no to Tennessee. We’ll be watching…

12-Todd Berry (ULM) The Warhawks could’ve/would’ve/should’ve won at Auburn in overtime. They did win outright in OT at Arkansas and at Western Kentucky.

13-Willie Taggart (Western Kentucky) I think he’ll be the next head coach at Kentucky after Joker Phillips gets a pink slip in early December.

14-Sonny Dykes (La. Tech) Don’t be shocked if Dykes is a candidate at Tennessee. I don’t think he’ll be the Vols’ first or second choice, but he might be Plan D or E. Derek Dooley was Plan H, wasn’t he? If Dykes does get the UT job, don’t be surprised if Dooley returns to Ruston to take his old job.

15-Tommy Tuberville (Texas Tech) I know he wants back in the SEC. If Arkansas fans don’t think this would be a solid hire, then they’re crazy. ‘Tubs’ owns a 6-2 straight-up record against top-five foes during his tenures at Texas Tech and Auburn.

Honorable Mention: Steve Spurrier (South Carolina), Gary Andersen (Utah St.), Matt Campbell (Toledo), Frank Solich (Ohio) and Urban Meyer (Ohio St.).

**Hottest Hot Seats**
1-Derek Dooley (Tennessee)
2-Joker Phillips (Kentucky)
3-Gene Chizik (Auburn)
4-Frank Spaziani (Boston College)
5-Jeff Tedford (California)

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