College Football 2011 Predictions: 10 Head Coach Candidates for Ohio State

Joey HnathCorrespondent IMay 31, 2011

College Football 2011 Predictions: 10 Head Coach Candidates for Ohio State

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    TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1:  Coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators directs play against the Penn State Nittany Lions January 1, 2010 in the 25th Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    With Jim Tressel’s resignation, one of the marquee jobs in all of college football is now available.

    Assistant coach Luke Fickell will be the interim head coach for the Buckeyes in 2011, but after the season the job is up for grabs.

    Ohio State will obviously attract some of the best coaches in the nation, but who are some of the realistic candidates for the Buckeyes?

    Here are 10 head coaching candidates for the Buckeyes.

10. Chris Petersen

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    LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 06:  Boise State Broncos head coach Chris Petersen watches from the sidelines against the Virginia Tech Hokies at FedExField on September 6, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    The Boise State head coach is linked to just about every BCS job opening, so Ohio State will be no different.

    Chris Petersen has stayed loyal to Boise State thus far, turning down every opportunity that has come his way.

    However, Ohio State could be a big enough gig that could lure him away from Boise.

9. Glen Mason

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 10:  Head coach Glen Mason of the Minnesota Golden Gophers looks on from the sideline during the game against the Colorado State Rams on September 10, 2005 at H.H.H. Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minnesota defeated Colorado
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Former Minnesota head coach Glen Mason won’t be at the top of the Ohio State wish list, but could become a strong candidate if the Buckeyes are slapped hard with NCAA sanctions.

    Mason was an Ohio State assistant coach from 1978-1985, so he is already familiar with the program.

    In his 10 years at Minnesota, Mason had the best winning percentage of any post-WWII head coach.

    If Mason can get the Golden Gophers to a bowl game every year, he can lead the Buckeyes to the BCS.

8. Bob Stoops

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Bob Stoops looks on while taking on the Connecticut Huskies during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Bob Stoops is another head coach who is linked to several high-profile coaching vacancies, but it would take something special to leave Oklahoma, where he competes for a national championship every year.

    Like Chris Petersen, Stoops could finally leave if offered the Ohio State job.

    Stoops is a native of Ohio and may return to Columbus for a homecoming.

    Though it sounds like a dream scenario for Buckeyes fans, Stoops is unlikely to leave Norman.

7. Bo Pelini

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04:  Head coach Bo Pelini of the Nebraska Cornhuskers leads his team against the Oklahoma Sooners at Cowboys Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Sooners beat the Cornhuskers 23-20.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Bo Pelini is another interesting possibility for the Buckeyes.

    Like Stoops, Pelini is a native of Ohio and would be tempted to go back home to coach the most popular team in the state.

    However, Pelini has found success at Nebraska and has turned them into a national contender once more.  It will be hard to pry him loose.

6. Mark Dantonio

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    EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans returned to the sidelines for a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Northwestern 35-27.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    A former Ohio State defensive coordinator, Mark Dantonio is a name that could be linked to the Ohio State job.

    Since leaving Columbus, Dantonio has found success at Cincinnati and most recently Michigan State.

    Dantonio could come full circle and leave Sparty for Brutus. 

5. Jon Gruden

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    ATLANTA - DECEMBER 14: Coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directs play against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December 14, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Jon Gruden has been out of the coaching game since 2008, and has been recently linked to the Michigan and Miami vacancies.

    After another year out of the game, Gruden could decide to go back to coaching.

    Gruden would make a big splash for the Buckeyes and give them a Super Bowl champion head coach that can put the program back on the right track.

4. Greg Schiano

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    PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 08:  Head coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights looks on against the Connecticut Huskies at Rutgers Stadium on October 8, 2010 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Like Gruden, Greg Schiano has been linked to the Miami and Michigan head coaching vacancies, and like Gruden, he chose to stay in his current situation.

    Schiano has built the Rutgers program into one of the best in the Big East, leading them to four straight bowl victories from 2006-2009.

    The 2010 season was not as successful and saw the Scarlet Knights finish 4-8.

    Despite the setback, Schiano remains one of the hottest head coaches in the country.

    If Ohio State comes calling, Schiano could take the job.  He would become a fan favorite since he took his name out of the running twice to become the Michigan head coach.

3. Mark Stoops

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    The most likely member of the Stoops family to become the Ohio State head coach, Mark has found success as the defensive coordinator at Florida State.

    Like his brother, Stoops is a native of the state of Ohio.  As one of the hottest coordinators in the country, Ohio State will surely take a look at Stoops.

    Though the Buckeyes would most likely want their new coach to have prior head coaching experience, Mark Stoops could come in and do just as good a job as anyone else.

2. Luke Fickell

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    COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30:  Assistant Head Coach Luke Fickell speaks to the media during a press conference before the start of Spring practices at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center at The Ohio State University on March 30, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Fickell wil
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Luke Fickell might have the best shot of anyone to become the next Ohio State head coach.

    Fickell was originally slated to be the interim head coach for the first five games of 2011 before Jim Tressel returned from his suspension.  Now, he will be the interim head coach for the entire season.

    If Fickell can lead the Buckeyes to a successful season amidst the NCAA investigations and turmoil surrounding the program, Ohio State could end up removing the interim tag at the end of the season.

1. Urban Meyer

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    TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1:  Coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators directs play against the Penn State Nittany Lions January 1, 2010 in the 25th Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Urban Meyer would be the dream scenario for Ohio State, and it could be a real possibility.

    Meyer was the tight ends and wide receivers coach at Ohio State in the late '80s, and has repeatedly stated that the Ohio State head coaching job is one of the best in the country.

    Currently an analyst at ESPN, Meyer recently retired from coaching the Florida Gators to take a break from coaching.

    If Meyer finds that his batteries are recharged and is ready to return to coaching after the 2011 season, the most likely place he would go is Ohio State.