Nearly a quarter of the 124 teams playing major college football this season will have first-year coaches.
Who ended up where and why, and what they need to do to keep their new gigs.
AKRON — Previous coach: Rob Ianello. New coach: Terry Bowden.
How he got the job: The former Auburn coach has been angling to get back into major college ball for a while and finally found a taker.
How he can keep it: The better question is will Bowden land a bigger job if he's successful?
ARIZONA — Previous coach: Mike Stoops. New coach: Rich Rodriguez.
How he got the job: Rising star athletic director Greg Byrne struck quickly and swept the former Michigan and West Virginia coach off his feet.
How he can keep it: The Wildcats have never been to a Rose Bowl, so expectations aren't Michigan-level. With seven to 10 wins per season and regular victories against rival Arizona State, Rich Rod can retire in Tucson.
ARKANSAS — Previous coach: Bobby Petrino. New coach: John L. Smith.
How he got the job: Kind of a long story having to do with an ill-fated motorcycle ride, but the main thing is it's Smith's job for now.
How he can keep it: Win an SEC title. Anything less than winning the West will be considered a disappointment in Fayetteville, and an excuse for AD Jeff Long to try to make a splashy hire after the season.
ARIZONA STATE — Previous coach: Dennis Erickson. New coach: Todd Graham.
How he got the job: With little regard for his former employer (Pittsburgh).
How he can keep it: At the very least, he's got to keep up with Rodriguez and Arizona.
ARKANSAS STATE — Previous coach: Hugh Freeze. New coach: Gus Malzahn.
How he got the job: By being overqualified.
How he can keep it: The Red Wolves might be fighting to hold on to the Arkansas native soon, though keeping wife Kristi Malzahn from doing any more TV interviews might be wise for Gus.
COLORADO STATE — Previous coach: Steve Fairchild. New coach: Jim McElwain.
How he got the job: A mere touch from Nick Saban can elevate a man to greatness.
How he can keep it: The former Alabama offensive coordinator needs to beat Colorado now and then, and regularly contend in the watered-down Mountain West.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC — Previous coach: Howard Schnellenberger. New coach: Carl Pelini.
How he got the job: A recommendation from Tom Osborne, the former Nebraska defensive coordinator's previous boss, makes for a nice resume line.
How he'll keep the job: Out-recruit Mario Cristobal at FIU, or hope Cristobal gets hired away — which could happen this year.
FRESNO STATE — Previous coach: Pat Hill. New coach: Tim DeRuyter.
How he got the job: Pedigree (worked for Fisher DeBerry at Air Force and Chris Ault at Nevada), ties to the West, defensive background. Bulldogs haven't played much defense under Hill recently.
How he can keep it: Occasional high-profile nonconference victories are nice. Conference championships are better. Fresno State hasn't even shared a league title since 1999. DeRuyter needs to change that.
HAWAII — Previous coach: Greg McMackin. New coach: Norm Chow.
How he got the job: Chow has been one of the most respected offensive coordinators in the country for years and it's about time somebody gave him a head coaching gig.
How he'll keep it: Give the program a makeover, while continuing to churn out those prolific quarterbacks.
HOUSTON — Previous coach: Kevin Sumlin. New coach: Tony Levine.
How he got the job: Houston wanted to keep the Sumlin mojo working and hired his right-hand man and assistant head coach.
How he can keep it: Keep a fan base that is notoriously apathetic to the Cougars engaged. If nothing else, the gregarious and witty Levine is engaging.
ILLINOIS: Previous coach: Ron Zook. New coach: Tim Beckman.
How he got the job: A couple of winning seasons at Toledo and roots in Big Ten country.
How he can keep it: The Illini have had a propensity to put together a couple good seasons, than flameout dramatically. A long string of non-losing seasons should keep everyone happy.
KANSAS — Previous coach: Turner Gill. New coach: Charlie Weis.
How he got the job: Kansas wanted to grab some headlines after two terrible years under Gill.
How he can keep it: Develop NFL quarterbacks. That's supposed to be his specialty and in the Big 12 it's imperative.
MEMPHIS — Previous coach: Larry Porter. New coach: Justin Fuente.
How he got the job: He is young (36) and has been part of TCU's rise to national power.
How he can keep it: Unlock the mystery of why Memphis, located in the heart of the Deep South, can't have a successful football program.
MASSACHUSETTS — Previous coach: Kevin Morris. New coach: Charlie Molnar.
How he got the job: UMass wanted a fresh start in its first season playing in FBS.
How he can keep it: Somehow get New England sports fans to pay attention to college football for a few minutes.
MISSISSIPPI — Previous coach: Houston Nutt. New coach: Hugh Freeze.
How he got the job: The former Ole Miss assistant went 10-3 last year at Arkansas State. Arkansas State!
How he can keep it: Win the state. Dan Mullen and Mississippi State have won three straight Egg Bowls and many Magnolia state recruiting battles.
NEW MEXICO — Previous coach: Mike Locksley. New coach: Bob Davie.
How he got the job. Lobos were looking for stability after the horrific Locksley era. And nothing says 'We're done taking chances' like hiring Bob Davie.
How he can keep it: Not punching any assistants alone should get Davie four or five years.
NORTH CAROLINA — Old coaches: Butch Davis, Everett Withers, interim. New coach: Larry Fedora.
How he got the job: UNC needed a rising star to rally a program racked by NCAA sanctions.
How he can keep it: Win now, before scholarship sanctions kick in. Fedora inherits a good team with a manageable schedule.
OHIO STATE — Previous coach: Jim Tressel, Luke Fickell, interim. New coach: Urban Meyer.
How he got the job: Essentially, the Buckeyes cheated and ended up with one of the best coaches in college football.
How he can keep it: Eat right, exercise, spend quality time with his family.
PENN STATE — Previous coach: Joe Paterno. New coach: Bill O'Brien.
How he got the job: Penn State needed to hire somebody smart, with impeccable character and absolutely no ties whatsoever to Paterno. O'Brien checks all those boxes.
How he can keep it. Considering the NCAA sanctions Penn State was hammered with last month, the question might be: How can he get out of it?
PITTSBURGH — Previous coach: Todd Graham. New coach: Paul Chryst.
How he got the job: By directing one of the most prolific offenses in the country at Wisconsin since 2005.
How he can keep it: Pull Pitt from the muck of mediocrity it's been stuck in for way too long.
RUTGERS — Previous coach: Greg Schiano. New coach: Kyle Flood.
How he got the job: FIU's Cristobal turned it down and former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano gave Flood a glowing recommendation.
How he can keep it: Keep bringing in recruiting classes like the one he kept together after Schiano bolted days before signing day.
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI — Previous coach: Larry Fedora. New coach: Ellis Johnson.
How he got the job: After Fedora injected life into the program, the 59-year-old Ellis was hired for stability.
How he can keep it: Southern Miss has made a living on finding gems the SEC misses. Johnson, a former USM assistant, must continue that tradition.
TEXAS A&M — Previous coach: Mike Sherman. New coach: Kevin Sumlin.
How he got the job: Sumlin knows the territory after four years as Houston coach and stints as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma and A&M.
How he can keep it: Prove those Big 12 spread offenses can cut up SEC defenses.
TOLEDO — Previous coach: Tim Beckman. New coach: Matt Campbell.
How he got the job: Looking for an up-and-coming star, Toledo turned to Beckman's 32-year-old offensive coordinator.
How he can keep it: Keep lighting up the scoreboard. The Rockets were eighth in the nation in scoring and always entertaining.
TULANE — Previous coach: Bob Toledo. New coach: Curtis Johnson.
How he got the job: Flailing program needed someone with local ties.
How he can keep it: The New Orleans native and former Saints assistant has to remind people that Tulane football does indeed still exist.
UAB — Previous coach: Neil Callaway. New coach: Garrick McGee.
How he got the job: McGee directed potent offenses as coordinator at Arkansas and Northwestern.
How he can keep it: Won't take much. UAB hasn't been to a bowl since 2004. And if he does go well, Arkansas might try to lure him back.
UCLA — Previous coach: Rick Neuheisel. New coach: Jim Mora.
How he got the job: Former NFL coach pushed hard for the job, and after Chris Petersen — among others — turned it down, Bruins gave it to him.
How he can keep it: Make Lane Kiffin sweat, at least a little. It's been more than a decade since a USC coach worried about UCLA.
WASHINGTON STATE — Previous coach: Paul Wulff. New coach: Mike Leach.
How he got the job: Washington State AD Bill Moos had Leach in his sights before he even fired Wulff.
How he can keep it: Leach simply needs to do what he did for 10 years at Texas Tech: Average nine victories a season and have his quarterbacks throw for plenty of yards.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP