Auburn finally did what everyone knew the Tigers were going to do and fired head coach Bryan Harsin. The hire was a reach in the first place as Harsin was riding the coat tails of the success Chris Petersen had at Boise State, but good for him for parlaying it into an SEC gig with a pretty large buyout.
Now Auburn has reportedly reached an agreement with Mississippi State Athletic Director John Cohen to be its next AD, the same week Auburn and State are set to compete on the field (some soap opera level drama in Starkville). Cohen was responsible for the awful Joe Moorhead hire that failed miserably and then the Mike Leach hire, that well quite frankly is just meh.
So now the search is on in Auburn and everyone wants to throw Lane Kiffin into the mix as the primary target. Why would Auburn want a Saban assistant when Saban assistants basically never, ever beat him? There are certainly much better fits and upside swings available for the Tigers to go for.
Up and Coming Group of Six Coaches
There is an AAC team headed for the Big 12 next season that just cracked into the AP Top 25 polls after a victory over Cincinnati. He has been able to keep the train rolling at this program after the previous two coaches moved on to Power 5 jobs. I mean look at the last coach, he’s got Tennessee in the top 3 in the country!! I think UCF coach Gus Malzahn is a prime candidate for an SEC job and a great fit for Auburn.
Auburn needs a Saban Slayer. Who is the only coach in the country, still coaching, that has two straight wins again Nick? None other than Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze. The sins of his past should surely be forgiven now that buying players is now legal. Just ask Bruce Pearl. He has proven that he can recruit and put a winning program on the field. He’s also proven he’s got the secret sauce when it comes to knockin’ off ole Saban. What more could Auburn want?
Hitting the P5 Transfer Portal
Would Cohen dare entice Mike Leach to follow him out the door of Starkville? Leach has made three irrelevant programs relevant in Texas Tech, Washington State and Mississippi State during his time at each stop. Auburn wants to be more than just relevant but I would argue that with his greatest pool of resources, the pirate could finally win it all!
Speaking of former Auburn coaches, Jeff Grimes is doing his thing over at Baylor. He won a national title as the O-Line coach under Gene Chizik and may be in line to land a coveted SEC job after the work he has done over in the Big 12 calling Baylor’s offense. What a great candidate in the rising coordinator ranks.
Speaking of Baylor and rising coordinators, Kendall Briles anyone? He has been awesome orchestrating the Arkansas offense, turning KJ Jefferson into a very good SEC quarterback. Sure the stigma of his dad follows him around, but if a Christian university can hire Hugh Freeze, Auburn can hire Kendall Briles.
Kicking the Tires
So Les Miles and Steve Spurrier beat Nick Saban multiple times, maybe they are bored with retirement! But really, there are a handful of out-of-work coaches that should be on their radar.
Would John Cohen be interested in a reunion with Dan Mullen? Captain Scientology is probably itching to be back on the sidelines again and he is a QB guru. Making Tim Tebow into a Heisman winner and winning a lot of games with Dak Prescott. Ignore the fact that he struggled at Florida with expanded resources, Dan the Man is the man for the job.
58-year-old frat boy Urban Meyer is still looking for work after he learned his lesson about kicking kickers. He won at Utah, Florida and Ohio State. Sure, the NFL isn’t his thing but the dude has proven at three different stops, he knows how to coach the college game. Based on his lifestyle, he’s still young and has plenty of years left to offer giving Saban headaches.
The greatest recruiter on the planet had a little too much fun at his previous stop. After being the head coach of one of the greatest college teams ever, it is time for Ed Orgeron to snag his third SEC head coaching job. Eventually he’s gonna coach every team in the West, so combine Auburn’s resources with Coach O’s recruiting chops and watch the magic happen.
Well there ya have it folks. An extensive, super serious list of candidates for the Auburn football program and their brand new AD to consider.