Why assistant coaches for struggling college football teams might take the fall

Texas A&M forces 3 turnovers in win over LSU (1:43)

Texas A&M's defense and special teams come through forcing three turnovers as they pick up the slack of the offense in their 20-7 win over LSU. (1:43)

If you've been paying attention, you know this year's college football coaching carousel is expected to be light. Most head coaches will be safe in this cycle.

Some top assistant coaches, meanwhile, are less likely to get a pandemic pass.

The financial crunch of the pandemic and coach-friendly contracts will discourage most schools from making changes at the top. But teams that are struggling, even amid an unusual and challenging season, likely will need to take action before 2021. As someone close to LSU told me a few weeks ago about the defending champs' woes this fall, "It can't be a situation where nothing is done. Something is going to have to be done."

That's what happens in big-time college football. There's too much money, pressure and interest to maintain the status quo when things aren't going well.

LSU is among the struggling high-profile teams that won't be making head-coaching changes, but likely will have to replace coordinators or other key assistants. Not every team listed below actually will shake up the staff, but all will be considering what to do to get back on track in 2021.

I avoided including teams with first-year head coaches, who are more likely to keep their staffs intact, especially after an unusual season (Florida State, Baylor). I also left off teams that overhauled their staffs last year, such as Texas.

Let's dive in: