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Coaching Search Update: Justin Fuente making a name for himself

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We continue to follow potential coaching candidates for the Fighting Illini this coming offseason as we track their teams throughout the 2015 campaign.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that Illinois is already beginning to look for a new head coach following the abrupt firing of Tim Beckman one week before the beginning of the 2015 season. The list of potential candidates seems to be growing by the week as more and more head coaches at lower-level programs start to make a name for themselves. Let's continue to look at the work their teams have done through the seventh week of play.

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Justin Fuente, No. 18 Memphis (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Win, 37-24 versus Ole Miss

What a win it was for the Memphis Tigers, who handled No. 24 Ole Miss rather easily at home in a 13-point victory. They now hold the third-longest winning streak in college football (13 games dating back to last season). It was also their first victory over a nationally-ranked SEC opponent since 1996. And if you want to apply the transitive property, this means Memphis is better than Alabama. They are one of fourteen undefeated teams left in the country and will take on Tulsa this coming Saturday to try to move to 7-0 on the 2015 campaign.

Tom Herman, No. 21 Houston (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Win, 42-7 at Tulane

Another coaching candidate on this list, another undefeated team. Herman's Houston squad has yet to lose in 2015, and their offense is looking like one of the strongest as it ranks thirteenth in the nation in total yards per game. Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. ranks third overall in ESPN's total QBR rating and also cracks the top 30 in rushing yards per game. This Cougars team is high-powered to be sure, but they will face a test this Saturday when they take on SEC foe Vanderbilt.

Dino Babers, Bowling Green (5-2)

Week 7 Result: Win, 59-10 versus Akron

Babers has really turned this 2015 season around for his Falcons. After starting out 1-2, Bowling Green has now won four straight games and are in first place in the MAC East Division. They dominated a bad Akron team this past weekend, scoring 59 points and putting up 532 yards of total offense. QB Matt Johnson ranks near the top of the nation in passing yards and completions per game. They will travel to face off against Kent State this weekend as they will attempt to become bowl-eligible.

Bill Cubit, Illinois (4-2)

Week 7 Result: N/A

The Illini had their bye week to heal up for a homecoming matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers.

P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan (3-3)

Week 7 Result: Win, 49-14 at Ohio

The Broncos dominated the Ohio Bobcats this past Saturday in a 35-point victory on the road. QB Zach Terrell threw for four touchdowns and RB Jamauri Bogan ran for a career-high 135 yards as Fleck's offense posted 567 total yards. This is the team's third win in their last four games and they'll try to move above .500 for the first time in 2015 when they welcome in Miami of Ohio this coming weekend.

Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Win, 55-28 at North Texas

Sensing a theme? Here's another candidate and another high-powered offense. Possibly the best offensive squad of any team listed here. The Hilltoppers put up 55 points at North Texas in a dominant victory that gave them bowl-eligibility and vaulted them into first place in the C-USA East Division. Brohm's team is averaging 44 points per game and over 530 yards of total offense per game, just behind Houston (fifth nationally) and Memphis (fourth). Their biggest test of the season will be this coming Saturday when they travel to Baton Rouge to take on the undefeated LSU Tigers.

Matt Rhule, Temple (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Win, 30-16 versus UCF

A newcomer to this list, Rhule has surprised many as he has the Temple Owls sitting at 6-0 and in first place in the AAC. Even though his overall record in Philadelphia is two games under .500 (14-16), he is definitely one to keep an eye on as this season progresses. Temple ranks seventh in the nation in total defensive efficiency and will travel to take on East Carolina this Thursday.

Other Names

There are always other names circulating around the college football coaching carousel. Here are some potential candidates that have been mentioned here in the TCR comments and elsewhere.

  • Rod Carey, Head Coach at Northern Illinois
  • Matt Campbell, Head Coach at Toledo
  • Brock Spack, Head Coach at Illinois State
  • Matt Wells, Head Coach at Utah State
  • DJ Durkin, Defensive Coordinator at Michigan
  • Al Golden, Head Coach at Miami (FL)
  • Doc Holliday, Head Coach at Marshall
  • Ed Warinner, Offensive Coordinator at Ohio State
  • Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator at Alabama

Other Jobs Available

  • South Carolina (Steve Spurrier retired)
  • USC (Steve Sarkisian fired)
  • Maryland (Randy Edsall fired)
  • North Texas (Dan McCarney fired)

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If you're keeping track, that's a perfect 6-0 record for the candidates during Week Seven. Think we've left anybody off the list? Drop by in the comments below and tell us what you think!