If Miami of Ohio is known as the cradle of coaches, then the Mid-American Conference must be the nursery of coaches.
The MAC often represents the first opportunity to run a FBS program for a lot of coaches, and it's been used as a springboard to jobs in bigger conferences as well. The Big Ten, in particular, is especially fond of using the MAC as a sort of proving ground for coaches before hiring them to front programs in Champaign, Ann Arbor, Columbus or wherever.
Ohio State has been on the better end of this hiring relationship a few notable times in their history. Before his success at Utah and Florida, Urban Meyer cut his teeth and practiced his competitive excellence philosophy at Bowling Green for two seasons.
And, of course, before Woody Hayes became a legend on Ohio State's sideline, he had his own two year MAC stint at Miami of Ohio.
For Ohio State and a lot of other Big Ten schools, it's worked out pretty nicely most of the time. Sure, sometimes, you get a Brady Hoke, but there have been plenty of successes too.
On the other hand, for the MAC schools the process is more complicated. Having your head coach poached by a bigger school means you've probably had some pretty good recent success and won some big games, but it also means you have to hit reset and start anew.
Northern Illinois, the Buckeyes Saturday opponent, knows this better than most.
Joe Novak guided the Huskies for 12 years, including their first 11 in the MAC with considerable success. When Novak retired after the 2007 season, he was replaced by Jerry Kill, then the coach of Southern Illinois. Kill spent three years at NIU and returned the program to 10 wins in 2010 before moving on to Minnesota, where he's sort of turned around the Gopher program and picked up a Big Ten Coach of the Year award. You might have heard about that a few times.
The Kill-era for Northern Illinos turned to the the Dave Doeren-era as the former Wisconsin defensive coordinator took the job in 2011. After two years, a 23-4 record, and a Orange Bowl birth, Doeren also found himself with Power Five schools calling and bolted for North Carolina State.
Rod Carey was promoted from offensive coordinator to succeed Doeren and has sustained the Huskies substantial success on the field. With a 25-6 overall record coming into the weekend - it won't be too long before bigger programs start to inquire about Carey. A win over #1 ranked Ohio State would certainly get everyone's attention.
So when the time comes for Carey to move on, NIU will start over. It's a vicious cycle, but one all too familiar to Northern Illinois, the rest of the MAC, and programs in the difficult landscape that exists outside the Power Five conferences. When those MAC coaches are successful, these are some of the schools that might come calling soon.
Prepare your resumè
Kyle Flood, Rutgers - At this point, it'd be a minor miracle for Flood to survive until October, let alone the end of the season. Following an embarrassing loss to a bad Washington State team on the field, Rutgers' off-the-field troubles continued with star wide receiver Leonte Carroo being involved in a altercation resulting in his indefinite suspension. Luckily, Greg Schiano is available if needed. He'll probably be needed.
Mike London, Virginia - The Virginia-Notre Dame game on Saturday might have been the perfect microcosm of London's career at UVA. The Hoo's put up a good fight when they weren't supposed to, but found a way to lose the game at the most inopportune time and in the most painful way possible. London has recruited well, but the results haven't been there on the field, and thanks to a murderous schedule before ACC play, even making a bowl game seems like a tall order. A chance to start over might benefit both London and Virginia in the long haul.
Paul Petrino, Idaho - This was not a good weekend or start to the season for the Petrino brothers, who both stand at 0-2 on the year, but let's just assume Bobby has a little more goodwill built up at Louisville to buy him some more time. Unfortunately, younger brother Paul doesn't exactly have a history of past success and time is quickly running out with the Vandals, who have also been beset by off the field embarrassments over the last few weeks. Losing games at Idaho isn't shocking, but losing games at Idaho while fighting with the press and having players steal things? Can't be a good look.
Jim Harbaugh, TTUN - Yes, he was able to finally win his first game at Michigan against a heavily overmatched Oregon State squad, but the Wolverines are minus-3 in turnover margin this year. We can only assume Michigan fans will be ready to fire him after what, two more losses?