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National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with the 3-Point Stance looking at first-year coaches who inherited the most, programs with coaches who just aren’t working out, and which teams need a bounce-back win the most.


— I wrote about the coaches inheriting the least in their new jobs, but what about the ones set up for success? It starts with a guy landing in LA.

1. Lincoln Riley, USC

— You could argue against this as USC needed work in the trenches but how many guys arrive with a Heisman QB candidate following them and add a Biletnikoff winner and an elite PAC 12 running back to the mix? Riley, hands down, has the most talent to work with in year one.

Oct 1, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley walks on the field before a game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Oct 1, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley walks on the field before a game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

2. Dan Lanning, Oregon

— Mario Cristobal left him with a very good setup when it comes to the offensive line and defense as well as a talented group of wide receivers. Despite the UGA blowout this team was ready to win.

Sep 17, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning watches the game from the sidelines during the first half against the Brigham Young Cougars at Autzen Stadium. Oregon won the game 41-20.

Sep 17, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning watches the game from the sidelines during the first half against the Brigham Young Cougars at Autzen Stadium. Oregon won the game 41-20.

3. Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame 

— Jilted ND fans will scream that Brian Kelly left them in a tough spot but he didn’t. The offensive line recruiting was always solid, there was depth at running back and solid wide receivers. On defense a solid unit was left as well. The QB recruiting can always be questioned but this wasn’t a bad gig for Freeman to get.

Oct 15, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman pauses after the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium.

Oct 15, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman pauses after the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium.

4. Tony Elliott, Virginia 

— The defense was a mess I’ll give you that but Brennan Armstrong and one of the deepest WR rooms in all of college football isn’t bad for an offensive coach to handle right? It hasn’t gone well.

Sep 3, 2022; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Elliott looks on from the sidelines during the second half at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 3, 2022; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Elliott looks on from the sidelines during the second half at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

5. Brent Venables, Oklahoma 

— Hard to believe right? Caleb Williams, Spencer Rattler, Jadon Haselwood, Austin Stogner and others all gone? Let’s not get it twisted. This is a roster with arguably more talent than any other in the Big 12 and this was an easy 9-3 transition season. So far that hasn’t been the case.

Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables shouts during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Kansas State Wildcats at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Kansas State won 41-34.

Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables shouts during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Kansas State Wildcats at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Kansas State won 41-34.

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—The bottom tier of coaches is never where you want to be. Luckily for most power five programs these are interim situations. But not for all. This is the bottom of the bottom.

SEC

Bryan Harsin, Auburn

It's only a matter of time before Harsin is out on the Plains. He's never been a fit.

ACC

Scott Satterfield, Louisville

Brent Key, Georgia Tech

Satterfield has the Cardinals trending in the right direction on the trail with some big verbals, but on the field, they're among the most inconsistent teams in the nation. Key has done a nice job picking up a couple of wins as the interim in place of Geoff Collins, but he's likely not the long-term answer and would be a risky retain for the new athletic director.

Big Ten

Mickey Joseph, Nebraska

Cornhuskers interim coach Mickey Joseph has a chance to get the full-time job, but it's going to take a miracle turnaround. Nebraska needs to clean house and start their rebuild from the ground up.

Big 12

Neal Brown, West Virginia

Despite a surprising win over Baylor last Thursday, Brown is still in deep trouble in Morgantown without an unlikely winning streak to close out this season.

Sep 10, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown watches during the first quarter against the Kansas Jayhawks at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Sep 10, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown watches during the first quarter against the Kansas Jayhawks at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Pac-12

Mike Sanford, Colorado

Shaun Aguano, Arizona State

Two interims that are all but guaranteed not to be back next season.


— And finally here are teams that need a bounce back win in order.

1. Alabama

The Tide still have everything to play for, but their margin of error got much smaller from that loss to Tennessee. Mississippi State can air it out, but they don't have the same vertical passing game as the Vols, so I expect Alabama to take care of business. 

2. Oklahoma State

A highly-ranked Mike Gundy-coached Cowboys team squandered a huge opportunity to take control of the Big 12. But they can't let that second-half letdown against TCU carry over to this weekend because Quinn Ewers and Texas' potent offense will be at full throttle from the opening kick.

3. Penn State

Losing to Michigan effectively puts them two games behind both the Wolverines and the Buckeyes in the Big Ten East. But they face another physical team in Minnesota in Happy Valley on Saturday, which will not be an easy test.

4. USC

The playoff hopes could be dashed due to the collapse at Utah but to keep hope alive a win over Arizona is a must and should happen following a bye week. But they need to shore up their defense quickly.

Oct 15, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts during the first half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium.

Oct 15, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts during the first half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium.