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Matt Rhule fired: Which college football head coaching jobs could he take?

Matt Rhule's time in the NFL is over. Is a return to college football in the cards?
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The Matt Rhule Experience didn't translate to the NFL as well as he hoped after the Carolina Panthers fired the head coach this week. That move naturally begs the follow-up question: will he return to college football?

Looking at the Panthers under Rhule, you could be forgiven for thinking, "Why bother?" Carolina went 11-27 under his watch and the offense ground to a halt this season, scoring 16 or fewer points in three of five games and over 20 twice, going 1-4 overall before his firing.

But don't forget what Rhule did at Baylor when he led that program, a virtual dumpster fire after the scandal-plagued tenure of Art Briles. 

After a 1-11 debut, Rhule won seven games and the Texas Bowl, and in Year 3 had Baylor at 11-3, playing for the Big 12 title, winning 11 of its first 12 games, and finished in the top 15 of the AP rankings.

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Rhule also helped revive the Temple football program before then. After going 4-7 in the year prior, Rhule took the Owls from 2 wins to 10 in two seasons, winning 20 games in his last two years on the job there.

College football coaching jobs Matt Rhule should consider

Matt Rhule

Matt Rhule is out at Carolina: is a return to college football next?

Nebraska: If there's anything the Cornhuskers need, it's a turnaround artist with a track record like Rhule, a proven program and culture builder (and, more crucially, re-builder) who was aggressive and successful on the recruiting trail and has always been well-liked by boosters, administrators, and fans. And at Nebraska, he would have a bigger recruiting budget than he did at Temple or Baylor, combined with local money able to do NIL deals for incoming players. Rhule ticks just about every box that Nebraska needs in its next head coach as it looks to compete in the wide open Big Ten West.

Georgia Tech: Rhule notably took the Baylor job over Oregon a few years back because he wanted his recruiting base to be more local. Being in the city of Atlanta fits that bill, with a wealth of recruiting talent in and around the city within a short drive. Tech is losing (badly) to in-state rival Georgia for those players, not to mention other SEC schools that are going toe-to-toe with the Dawgs, and it hasn't been very close.

Wisconsin: There's some belief that UW fired Paul Chryst when it did because it's considering Jim Leonhard as his successor, or has all but already made that decision. There's already an established tradition of strong defense and a power run game in Madison, but by adding Rhule the school could build on that identity and open things up a bit more to contend in the Big Ten West and give Ohio State a challenge in the conference. Wisconsin isn't a full "rebuild" at this point, making the job easier than some others.

Arizona State: Walking into a pending NCAA investigation isn't the greatest gig in college football, but even so, whatever could be coming for the Sun Devils couldn't be worse than what Rhule walked into at Baylor. Plus, he would have a strong recruiting base both in the state and in nearby Southern California, where he could go up against USC and Lincoln Riley.

Colorado: If Rhule likes a challenge, this is it. In the last 15 years, the Buffaloes have a single winning season and are somewhat isolated when it comes to the recruiting map. But, as Rhule's career has shown, he's more than capable of taking a program in the doldrums and turning into must-see TV.

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