February 3, 2023

Including an 0-2 start this season, the Carolina Panthers lost nine-straight games dating back to last season and are 10-25 under head coach Matt Rhule, the worst record among coaches since 2020 (min. 20 games). With reports that Rhule’s time in the NFL may be short-lived, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Panthers owner David Tepper is expected to remain patient with Rhule barring a complete disaster. However, if the former Baylor coach is fired, programs like Nebraska and Arizona State likely begin overtures. 
“Sources informed of the Panthers’ thinking say no change is imminent for Rhule, with Panthers owner David Tepper planning to be patient rather than reactionary,” Rapoport wrote. “But wins must come and improvement must be evident.”
Following a 1-2 start to the season that included a 30-21 loss to Eastern Michigan in Week 3, Arizona State moved on from head coach Herm Edwards, who had guided his team to three bowl appearances in five seasons.
“A home-run hire (for Arizona State) could be Matt Rhule, somebody who maybe wants to get back into college football,” SunDevilSource.com publisher Chris Karpman said on 247Sports’ The College Football Daily. “Given the nature of what’s going on, he may not have opportunities immediately elsewhere given the timing of a lot of these things.”
Like Edwards, Nebraska ended things with head coach Scott Frost after a 1-2 start to the season. The final straw for Frost was a 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern, in which Nebraska fired him the next day.
“The candidate pool for Nebraska will be very interesting,” The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman wrote on Twitter. “A few real wildcards to keep an eye on. One is Matt Rhule who did an amazing job at Baylor and Temple, if he’s forced out in Carolina.”
At Temple (2013-16) and Baylor (2017-19), Rhule earned the reputation of being a program builder. Rhule went 2-10 during his first season with the Owls before guiding the team to back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016.
Baylor also followed a similar trajectory under the Panthers’ coach. The team’s win totals increased every year under Rhule, who leaped for a seven-year, $62 million deal in Carolina following an 11-3 record in 2019.
Rhule’s track record of turning collegiate programs around may be attractive to Nebraska, a proud program that hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2016.
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“It is imperative for them to find someone who can build the ship, not just someone who knows how to take the wheel once the ship is built,” 247Sports’ Josh Pate said on his podcast. “Because this is not a ready made program. This is not a superpower in this sport right now. It was in a bygone era. They’ve got to rebuild it from the ground up. And you’ve got to find a leader, you gotta find a guy who knows how to do that and has shown the ability to do it.”
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