Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente is a possible replacement for Mike Riley at Nebraska.


We wouldn't be surprised if at least a few of these coaches are prominent on Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos' radar. Chip Kelly was originally on this list, but reports have him ready to ink a deal with UCLA.

Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech

The 41-year-old Fuente, who is the youngest coach in the ACC, is in his second season in Blacksburg, Virginia. Last year, the Hokies went 10-4 after Fuente succeeded the iconic Frank Beamer, winning the Coastal Division to get back in the ACC championship game for the first time since 2011. Before going to Tech, Fuente led an impressive turnaround at Memphis. A Tulsa, Oklahoma, native, Fuente played quarterback for Oklahoma before transferring. In fact, he started for OU in 1996 against Nebraska, completing 6 of 15 passes with three interceptions in a 73-21 loss. The question is whether Fuente would want to leave a good ACC job for the Big Ten.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

The 45-year-old Mullen has done more with less than most coaches in the SEC in his nine years at Mississippi State and has plenty of big-school experience — he was the offensive coordinator at Florida under Urban Meyer. He's had good quarterbacks in Alex Smith (Utah), Tim Tebow (Florida) and Dak Prescott (MSU). The downside: He's perhaps not a flashy name and he has only one 10-win season at Mississippi State. His name has come up in relation to other jobs before, but he's now pushing a decade with the Bulldogs.

Mike Norvell, Memphis

Norvell inherited the Memphis program from Fuente, and after an 8-5 season in 2016, the Tigers are 9-1 this year (6-1 AAC). They entered the weekend with the nation's No. 4 scoring offense, averaging 44.7 points a game. If there are concerns about Norvell, it's that his only experience as a head coach is his two seasons at Memphis, which competes in the AAC's West Division (Central Florida is in the East). What's more, Memphis ranks 113th in total defense. Norvell has a limited background in Big Ten regions — he was co-offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh in 2011.

Matt Campbell, Iowa State

His appeal is obvious, he has Iowa State beating top-five teams in his second season in Ames, Iowa, for crying out loud. Campbell, like Bo Pelini, hails from an old northeastern Ohio steel town — in Campbell's case, Massillon (population 32,000). He spent the early stages of his career coaching offensive lines and learning principals of the spread offense at Bowling Green under head coach Gregg Brandon, an Urban Meyer disciple. What's more, Campbell's recruiting wheelhouse is the Midwest. One potential stumbling block: He has a $9.4 million buyout if he leaves ISU after this season.

Bret Bielema, free agent

Bielema is the great mystery. He demonstrated the ability to win in the Big Ten with three straight championships at Wisconsin and a 68-24 record. Then he bolted for Arkansas, saying it was easier to win a title there than at Wisconsin. Well, the former Iowa defensive tackle was 29-34 overall and 11-29 in SEC play before his firing on Friday. Which do you believe? That the 47-year-old's philosophy, track record of hiring quality staffs and Big Ten DNA suit him perfectly for Nebraska, or that his record in the SEC makes him a disaster waiting to happen?

Craig Bohl, Wyoming

Fired as Nebraska's defensive coordinator in 2002, the 59-year-old is intriguing in part because of his reputation for developing fierce teams and recruiting tough players. "We're going to have our hand in the dirt and knock the s--- out of you," he has said. He backs up the tough talk. He guided North Dakota State to three FCS championships and a 104-32 overall record (.764). This season, his fourth at Wyoming, the Cowboys are 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the Mountain West.


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