Why Week 2 could shake up the 2019 coaching carousel

Finebaum doesn't envision Texas A&M upsetting Clemson (1:10)

Paul Finebaum breaks down whether Texas A&M can upset Clemson this weekend and if he would rather have Jimbo Fisher or Dabo Swinney as head coach for a game. (1:10)

Is this the week an up-and-coming coach delivers a signature performance that vaults him up a Power 5 AD's wish list come December?

Trips to Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State loom for Cincinnati, Army and Buffalo, respectively. Texas A&M's defense takes on a Clemson offense that, gulp, looks even better.

Daunting? Sure. But these Week 2 matchups also provide résumé-boosting platforms for some of college football's promising coaches. Welcome to Opportunity Week, where several on-the-rise Group of 5 coaches and Power 5 coordinators chase wins that could help them when the coaching carousel starts to spin.

Let's take a closer look.


Luke Fickell, Cincinnati
Record: 16-10 (12-2 since 2018)
Up next: Saturday at No. 5 Ohio State

Eight years ago, Fickell found himself in an impossible situation.

He had been named Ohio State's head coach after Jim Tressel's Memorial Day resignation. Ohio State was the dream job, especially for a Columbus kid who played defensive line at Ohio State and spent almost his entire coaching career on the Buckeyes' staff. But not like this.

Ohio State had been rocked by the Tressel situation. The roster had holes. Urban Meyer was available. Fickell would be a fill-in before the program could reset. A 6-6 regular season -- Ohio State would finish 6-7, its most losses since 1897 -- ensured Fickell's big moment would have to wait.

On Saturday, Fickell leads Cincinnati into Ohio Stadium. After going 11-2 in 2018, his team opened the season with a somewhat sloppy but still definitive win over UCLA, its third against a Power 5 opponent during the span. Fickell, who generated Power 5 interest last winter, is among the top Group of 5 coaches in the sport.