College Football Rumors: Bret Bielema Expected To Be Fired, Texas A&M Interested In Jimbo Fisher & More

There are still two weeks left in the college football regular season going into the weekend, but the coaching carousel has already started. Florida and Tennessee are already looking for new coaches after firing Jim McElwain and Butch Jones, respectively, while Ole Miss is looking for a permanent head coach after one year under interim man Mark Luke. Of course, Arkansas, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and UCLA are also facing uncertain coaching futures. So, without further ado, here are the biggest stories you need to know from around the college football world:

Bret Bielema expected to be fired following AD Jeff Long's firing
Arkansas fired athletics director Jeff Long on Wednesday, and that likely means the team will fire head coach Bret Bielema, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.

The school's dismissal of Long likely signals football coach Bret Bielema is on his way out, too. Long hired Bielema from Wisconsin in December 2012, a move praised at the time because Bielema had won three consecutive Big Ten championships. But Bielema is just 29-32 as Razorbacks coach, and the team is 4-6 this season.

However, there is a large monetary hurdle that would come with firing Bielema. He is under contract through the 2020 season and has a $15 million buyout in his contract.

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Texas A&M preparing to pursue Jimbo Fisher
The Aggies are already planning to fire Kevin Sumlin at the end of the season and are reportedly targeting Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher to replace him, according to USA Today's Dan Wolken.

Texas A&M is expected to inquire about the interest level of Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher once its separation from current coach Kevin Sumlin is official at the end of the season, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Fisher has spurned interest from LSU each of the last two seasons but has a good relationship with Texas A&M athletics director Scott Woodward, who held the position at LSU when Fisher was an assistant there. The Aggies have also expressed interest in making a run after Chip Kelly.

Fisher is 81–23 in eight seasons in Tallahassee, winning at least 10 games in six of those eight seasons.

Mike Riley will finish season as Nebraska's head coach
The Cornhuskers also plan to fire their head coach, Mike Riley, but will wait until the end of the season to do so, according to ESPN's Mitch Sherman.

First-year Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said he's intent to stick with Mike Riley through the end of this season despite growing public pressure to fire the third-year football coach now -- after a 54-21 loss to Minnesota on Saturday.

"It's not like I've got a coach to hire this afternoon at 3:30," Moos said Monday. "Mike Riley deserves to finish the 2017 season. That's how I operate."

Nebraska fired athletics director Shawn Eichorst in September citing a lack of on-field success, and many thought that meant Riley would be shown the door as well. The Huskers are 19-17 in nearly three seasons under Riley, including a 4-6 mark (3-4 in Big Ten play) this season. 

They plan to pursue former Nebraska quarterback and current UCF head coach Scott Frost to replace Riley.

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Jon Gruden already calling possible assistant coaches for Tennessee job
Gruden is Tennessee's top target to replace Jones, and while there are still questions about whether Gruden will leave his ESPN gig to take the job, college football expert John Brice reports that Gruden is already calling coaches about potentially joining him as assistants in Knoxville.

The overtures to Jon Gruden, a Super Bowl champion coach, the NFL’s most recognizable broadcast voice and one-time UT assistant coach in the 1980s, are very real and much further along than at any point in any of Tennessee’s previous courtships to the mega-star football mind.

Six different sources, ranging from current coaches to former all-time great Vols to college administrators, in the past 72-96 hours tell me that Gruden is far more seriously considering this Tennessee offer than ever before; so much so that Gruden is making some preliminary calls to coaches and other college athletics folks about potentially joining him in Knoxville.

Gruden started his career as a grad assistant for the Vols and has called coaching Tennessee his "dream job."

The final Monday Night Football broadcast of the season is on Christmas Day, five days after Currie's deadline for hiring a head coach. However, could very easily leave his role with ESPN before then.

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