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Insider

Grading the college football coaching hires

Grades are due for the 2016-17 college football coaching cycle. The only question: Is it safe to turn them in?

The carousel initially stopped spinning in mid-December, much earlier than normal but not a shock given the low number of Power 5 changes. Then, Connecticut fired Bob Diaco and Minnesota dumped Tracy Claeys, scooping up P.J. Fleck as his replacement. Cal then surprised many by firing Sonny Dykes on Jan. 8, six weeks after the season ended. The school's hiring of Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox as Dykes' replacement six days later marked the end -- we think? -- to the cycle.

Time for grades for the 21 coaching changes. You won't see D's or F's here, or even many C's. There were no blatant misses with this set of hire. Several factors shaped the grades, including a coach's schematic expertise, recruiting clout, familiarity with school/league/region and ability to hire quality assistants, an invaluable piece to the puzzle. Events that have happened since the coach's hiring also were considered.