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Dec 17, 2013 12:04 PM EST

Texas Head Coach Candidates: Top 5 Fits For Coveted Longhorns' Job


Mack Brown will coach the last game of his storied career as head football coach of the University of Texas Longhorns Dec. 30, but the rumor mill is already in full swing for who his replacement will be.

Texas is very much a "win now" type of team, so whoever their next head coach is, he had better come with a successful resume and/or extensive experience. With a deep financial well, Texas can also be expected to spare no expense on their ideal candidate, regardless of current job situation.

With the rumor mill already churning, some names have already been thrown around, but at least five have appeared more than others and make a better fit than most. First, there are a handful of candidates that can somewhat easily be eliminated.

Les Miles: He has a winning pedigree, but stated recently he does not want to be considered for the Longhorns' job.

Mike Tomlin: He may be ready to leave an aging Steelers team, but not for a college job. Jim Harbaugh: He too said he is not interested in the Texas job and the 49ers are reportedly satisfying his financial needs as well.

Chip Kelly: He laughed off rumors of his name being connected to Texas and, if Nick Foles is any indicator, he may have a major reason to stick with the Eagles.

Nick Saban: He has refuted his interest in going to Texas all along and also signed a lucrative extension with Alabama.

David Shaw: Like Tomlin, he could be on the way out. Stanford is arguably the best college job for coaches who want to go to the NFL and that appears like a strong possibility for Shaw.

Pete Carroll, Bill O'Brien, Gus Malzahn and Jimbo Fisher: All four of these "candidates" are happily employed (seemingly) and are on the brink of huge success with their respective teams.

Now the top five candidates to replace Mack Brown.

1.     Art Briles: Parts of his resume read "coached Robert Griffin III," "spent 16 years as a coach in Texas high schools" and "turned Baylor into a perennial contender." All three make him ideal for the Longhorns job because he can develop quarterbacks, recruit from Texas' wealth of talent and can turn around a program.

2.     Mike Gundy: Longhorns fans may not like Gundy, but he is a good fit and he has experience in taking over from a previous great coach. His predecessor at Oklahoma State was Les Miles.

3.     Charlie Strong: He turned Louisville into a successful football program and helped them get into the ACC next year. Plus, a $5 million buyout is not going to stop Texas if they really like him.

4.     James Franklin: At 41, he is probably as young as Texas would go, but he has been fairly successful with a weak Vanderbilt team over the past couple years. Take that coaching ability and put it with Texas' talent and the Longhorns may once again be a formidable team.

5.     Will Muschamp: Possibly the biggest dark horse, but he was once Brown's defensive coordinator and head-coach-to-be. He struggled at Florida, but that may not be a reflection of his coaching ability as much as the team he was left with. Texas knows Muschamp and that will play to his advantage.

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