Skip to main content
Publish date:

Jimbo, Dabo, Mora and Shaw Headline Top Ten Coaching Matchups of the Weekend

1. Jimbo Fisher vs. Dabo Swinney - They've both won the ACC. They've both beaten each other. They've both beaten their respective in-state SEC rivals. And yet a win Saturday night will place one of these coaches in a spot they've never been before - at the top of the national championship picture in late October. 

2. Jim Mora vs. David Shaw - Jim Mora walks into the void Steve Sarkisian just left, taking back-to-back shots at behemoths Stanford and Oregon, after Washington's 0-2 turn through the last four Pac-12 champions. And yet there's more on the line here for David Shaw's team, where a loss means their national championship hopes are dashed and a spot in the Pac-12 championship game would need some serious help from their friends in Eugene.

3. The Missouri offensive staff vs. the Florida defensive staff - A redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk makes his first start against the SEC's top total, pass, pass efficiency and rushing defense seems like a clear edge for Florida, no? And yet, with the state of Florida's offense, the Gators will need to force Mauk to cough up a defensive touchdown in order to come home with a win. 

4. Les Miles vs. Hugh Freeze - Ole Miss' 41-35 loss at LSU last year was the national "Hey, this guy may have something going on here" moment for Hugh Freeze. From there the Rebels beat Mississippi State and Pittsburgh handily and signed one of the best recruiting classes in school history. It was the Winter, Spring and Summer of Freeze. After a 3-0 start to this season, though, the Rebels have lost three straight, his players invited a national PR dust storm to campus and Freeze ended last Saturday night getting in a verbal altercation with a fan (he's since apologized). You could say the Rebels could use a win. LSU, meanwhile, needs a win to take essentially a two-week break (Furman on Oct. 26, off on Nov. 2) before visiting Tuscaloosa on November 9.

5. The Auburn offensive staff vs. the Texas A&M defensive staff - Johnny Manziel is Johnny Manziel, nothing Auburn throws at him will stop the Aggies from scoring. If his last 19 games haven't taught you that, nothing will. But the Tigers do have one major advantage here - Gus Malzahn's running game. Auburn's 287 yards per game and 6.26 yards per carry lead the SEC by a wide margin, and Texas A&M allows an SEC-worst 5.75 yards per carry as well as 201.2 yards per game, good for 13th in the league. Arkansas used its rushing game to compile 201 yards at 6.7 yards per pop, but didn't have enough elsewhere to keep up with the Aggies in a 45-33 loss. There's more talent on the Auburn sideline than Arkansas', so how much will that extra talent help Gus and company exploit the Aggies' run defense.

6. Kliff Kingsbury vs. Dana Holgorsen - Texas Tech is an incredible 6-0, but they haven't blown people away in getting those six wins. See: Red Raiders 42, Cyclones 45. The Baylor game aside, West Virginia's defense has shown enough that it will make things difficult for Texas Tech's fragile offense, so the Red Raiders' Big 12-leading defense (on a yards per play basis) may have to carry Texas Tech to 7-0.

Also, this:

7. Ed Orgeron vs. Brian Kelly - No national or conference title implications up for grabs in this one, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything on the line. It's an opportunity for Ed Orgeron to move to 2-0 in the sneaky "Maybe if he wins enough, Coach O can play his way into the full-time job" storyline playing out in Los Angeles. For Brian Kelly, it's an opportunity to put together Notre Dame's first two-game winning streak in this rivalry (and yes, he's permitted USC to be a rival of Notre Dame) since the Irish won three in a row from 1999-2001. That was three head coaches ago.

8. Mark Richt vs. James Franklin - Just the facts for this one: Despite wins over No. 6 South Carolina and No. 6 LSU, Richt falls to 4-3 (3-2 SEC) with a loss. After a 9-4 season in which he won seven in a row to close the year and his last four SEC games, Franklin drops to 3-4 (0-4 SEC) with a defeat. One of these things is (obviously) bound to happen. We'll know by 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.

9. Kirk Ferentz vs. Urban Meyer - Ferentz may have forgotten how to field a competent offense - it's been five years since Iowa so much as finished fifth in the Big Ten's total offense rankings - but he can still rip the heart out of a national championship contender as good as anyone in college football. The Hawkeyes are 3-0 - repeat: 3-0! - against top five opponents since 2008. It'd be a heck of a way to give Meyer and his No. 4 Buckeyes their first loss in two years. 

10. Mike Riley vs. Sonny Dykes - It's the end of the Pac-12 Passapalooza, as Washington State and Cal combined for 130 passes and 1,042 yards on October 5, and Washington State and Oregon State totaled a meager 108 passes and 766 yards a week ago. Now the nation's No. 1 (Oregon State) and No. 5 (Cal) passing offenses square off to complete the round robin (Washington State is all the way down at No. 8).