There’s a good chance that by this time next year, your favorite SEC team will have a new coordinator on at least 1 side of the ball.

This season, Alabama has a new coordinator on both sides of the ball.

In total, there are 10 new offensive coordinators in the SEC. Including changes at defensive coordinator for Florida and Ole Miss, 12 of 14 SEC teams have at least 1 new coordinator (LSU and Vandy are the lone 2 who didn’t). Some of that turnover was due to a firing and some of it was due to promotions.

This past cycle, we saw these SEC assistants become FBS head coaches:

  • Alex Golesh, Tennessee OC to USF
  • Barry Odom, Arkansas DC to UNLV
  • Zach Arnett, MSU DC to MSU

It seems inevitable that at least a couple SEC assistants will get poached by schools to become FBS head coaches. These are the 5 best bets for that:

Blake Baker, Mizzou DC

Baker is a rising star, especially after he quietly pulled off one of the biggest year-to-year improvements of an SEC unit. Mizzou was eager to extend Baker just 2 months into his first season on the job. His $600,000 salary was essentially doubled. That’s how much he was valued. If he puts together another year in which Mizzou is one of the SEC’s best against the run — the Tigers were 4th in yards/rush allowed and rank No. 9 in FBS in percentage of returning defensive production — he’s going to have a market to take over a Group of 5 program. Maybe that could be at a place like his alma mater Tulane if Willie Fritz parlays a top-10 finish in 2022 into another New Year’s 6 bowl in 2023. Either way, Baker is in the midst of his 3rd different DC stint. One would think the 41-year-old former linebacker could have an opportunity on the horizon.

Austin Armstrong, Florida DC

Rarely do I put a 20-something assistant on a list like this, but if you know Armstrong’s story, you know why he got the Florida DC job in the first place. It’s not just because he still looks young enough to get carded. Nick Saban initially hired him to be Alabama’s linebackers coach after 2 years spent improving the Southern Miss defense. At Southern Miss, Armstrong was the youngest coordinator in FBS. He’s rise has been meteoric. The guy who was driving around the state of Alabama handing out résumés now has the task of rebuilding Florida’s disastrous defense of the past 3 years. If he does that — a task that’ll be easier said than done — he’ll get the attention of Group of 5 programs in need of a high-energy self-starter like Armstrong.

Glenn Schumann, Georgia DC

After he was reportedly courted by Alabama, at this point, I’d expect Schumann to follow the Dan Lanning path. That doesn’t mean he’s ticketed for a head coaching gig as good as Oregon, but something tells me it’s only a matter of time before Schumann’s 15 years with Nick Saban and/or Kirby Smart yields that first head coaching gig. Schumann is still only 33, so it’s possible that he’s not in any hurry to bounce for the next chance to lead a program. But after 8 years rising up the ranks on Smart’s staff, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Schumann gets the call to run his own program. Perhaps a potential elite Group of 5 opening like Memphis would spark enough interest.

Matt House, LSU DC

It would look pretty good for House if Harold Perkins and Maason Smith lived up to some lofty preseason expectations for an LSU defense who repeated as SEC West champs. I’m just sayin’. I’m also just sayin’ that House has been doing this at a high level in college and in the NFL for the past 2 decades, so his résumé is much deeper than the first 3 guys on this list. I could see House taking a head coaching gig in the MAC, or perhaps he’d be an interesting candidate at a lower-tier Power 5 program like Syracuse. I thought Louisville made a lot of sense for House if they didn’t land Jeff Brohm. Who knows? What we do know is that if LSU stays healthy with House at the helm, it should have its first top-25 scoring defense since 2017. That’d be a nice way to pad the résumé on the way out.

Bobby Petrino, Texas A&M OC

Had to do it.

Come on. We’re talking about Petrino. This is the guy who has changed jobs 8 times in the 21st century. Well, it’s 9 if you include when Petrino was set to be UNLV’s offensive coordinator until Jimbo Fisher brought him in to be his first true offensive play-caller. At least that’s what we think. If you think Petrino believes in multi-year contracts, you’re out of your mind. He’s already been 1-and-done as a college OC or head coach 5 times in his career. And for what it’s worth, it would actually be a great development if Petrino jumpstarted a desperate offense that ranks No. 8 in percentage of returning offensive production. The pieces are in place to make that happen. If Petrino does indeed lead an offensive revival in College Station, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Group of 5 program scooping him up. Clearly, Petrino still has desires to be a head coach or else he wouldn’t have spent the past 3 seasons at FCS Missouri State. We should never assume that Petrino’s head coaching days are over.