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Illinois Coaching Search Update: Bill Cubit and the current staff gaining ground

We continue to follow potential coaching candidates for the Fighting Illini this coming offseason, but is the staff that's already in Champaign the group best suited to keep the permanent gig?

Mike Granse-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. Let's take a look and see how those candidates' teams fared after the fifth week of the season.


1. Justin Fuente, Memphis (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Win, 24-17 versus at USF

The Tigers are looking very impressive to start out 2015. Still undefeated, Fuente's squad went on the road to knock off South Florida this past Saturday to open conference play at 1-0 and stretch their winning streak out to twelve games dating back to last year. QB Paxton Lynch threw two touchdowns and ran for another as Memphis outgained the Bulls 425 yards to 377. They will take on the Ole Miss Rebels next weekend in a huge game for both teams.

2. Dino Babers, Bowling Green (3-2)

Week 5 Result: Win, 28-22 at Buffalo

The Falcons got back in the win column this past Saturday following a narrow six-point victory on the road in Buffalo against the Bulls. Babers' team put together 536 yards of total offense and were up 28-9 early in the third quarter. The defense, which has been the suspect unit on this team in 2015, allowed Buffalo to come back in the fourth with two late touchdown drives, but a missed PAT and a failed onside kick allowed the Falcons to come away with the W. They'll take on UMass next weekend as they try to move to 2-0 in MAC-tion.

3. Tom Herman, Houston (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Win, 38-24 at Tulsa

Herman, a year removed from being the offensive coordinator at Ohio State, is off to a strong start in Houston. His Cougars, which rank fourth in the country in total offensive yards per game, blew out Tulsa on the road this past Saturday to move to 4-0 on the year and 1-0 in AAC play. They'll host SMU this Thursday in a game that you can see on ESPN2.

4. Bill Cubit, Illinois (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Win, 14-13 versus Nebraska

Interim Illini head coach Bill Cubit is certainly a candidate to keep his current job, especially after Illinois' amazing comeback agaisnt the Cornhuskers that vaulted the team to a strong 4-1 start to the 2015 season. While there were certainly things that needed fixing, if Cubit can continue to win in the Big Ten he might be one of the strongest candidates to maintain the permanent job in Champaign. Next week will be an even bigger test as they travel on the road to face No. 22 Iowa.

5. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan (1-3)

Week 5 Result: N/A, bye week

The Broncos had the week off following a loss at No. 1 Ohio State. They will take on Central Michigan to open conference play next weekend.

6. Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Win, 49-10 versus Rice

Quarterback Brandon Doughty threw for 409 yards and four first-half touchdowns to help the Hilltoppers blow out Rice and move to 4-1 on the season. Brohm's squad ranks 17th nationally in points per game, as his offense is looking like one of the most high-powered units in the country. They'll welcome in Middle Tennesee State next weekend to try and move to 2-0 in the Conference-USA East standings.

7. Rod Carey, Northern Illinois (2-3)

Week 5 Result: Loss, 29-19 at Central Michigan

Things have begun to spiral out of control for the Huskies. After starting the season 2-0, Carey's squad has lost three straight road games. They will have a chance to right the ship at home next Saturday against Ball State, but the loss to Central Michigan was a disappointing one. The Chippewas forced four turnovers and hung 23 third-quarter points on the Huskies to win the MAC opener.


If you're keeping track, that's an impressive 5-1 record for the candidates during Week Five. Think we've left anybody off the list? Drop by in the comments below and tell us what you think!