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Dec 10, 2014 12:20 PM EST

Michigan Football Coaching Candidates: Cutcliffe, Miles, Harbaugh Get Calls, But Has the Real Search Begun?

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The University of Michigan (UM) is evidently hitting the head football coach search, but it is highly unclear if they have a candidate in the crosshairs.

Here is an updated look at the candidates still believed to be in play for the head football coaching job at UM.

David Cutcliffe: Gil Bradnt reported for NFL.com Tuesday night that UM made an offer to Duke's head football coach, who then turned it down. Art Chase, a spokesman for Duke, told MLive.com that was not the case and neither the coach nor the school's athletic director have spoken with a UM rep.

"Neither coach Cutcliffe nor Kevin White, our vice president and director of athletics, have been contacted by anyone at the University of Michigan regarding that institution's head football coaching vacancy," he said.

Still, this is an indicator that UM is truly not looking for a "Michigan Man," a term that interim athletic director Jim Hackett outright rejected as a "qualification" of any sort. This report does not mean Cutcliffe falls to the wayside, it just means UM has not officially engaged the coach.

Cutcliffe has led Duke's football program out of irrelevancy in the ACC and, with their resources, Michigan is known to be looking to make a quick turnaround.

Les Miles: According to GoBlueWolverine.com, contact has been made between the two sides. Unlike with Cutcliffe, there has been no public refuting, likely because the unnamed source said UM only contacted Miles' agent. Miles is 103-28 as LSU's head coach, making him the kind of highly accomplished candidate Michigan would no doubt prefer.

The only question is whether or not Miles would want to leave Baton Rouge and the SEC for Ann Arbor and the Big Ten, even if it is his alma mater. Jim Harbaugh: Ian Rappaport reported for NFL.com what many believed to already be true: Harbaugh does not want to go back to college. The 49ers coach may or may not be on the hot seat, but Rappaport said UM contacted Harbaugh and the coach simply said no.

Bo Pelini's status as a (major) dark horse took a crippling blow when chatter about the Youngstown State job arose. No media outlet had even linked Pelini to Michigan and now none probably ever will, as he may or may be considering coaching in Ohio State's backyard.

After taking a year off, Greg Schiano is likely awaiting a call from UM. Brandt even opined that Schiano should soon emerge as the favorite for the job.

But Football Scoop reported last week that Boston College head coach Steve Addazio is on UM's radar, as is Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. All told, UM does not seem to have formally approached any prospective candidate and they may even be waiting for Harbaugh to become un-preoccupied to make a real push for him.

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