Thanks to Hugh Freeze’s alleged propensity for hookers, an SEC West job is going to be open next offseason. With the Big 12 having some of the youngest and brightest head coaches in college football, it’s fair to wonder whether or not the Rebels will try and make a move on one of them. Here are the loose odds, on a scale from one to ten, of each Big 12 coach drawing interest from Ole Miss.
For the record, I imagine Ole Miss will also look into names like Lane Kiffin, Les Miles, Chip Kelly and others. But there could be a few Big 12 names that end up in the rumors.
Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, Texas’ Tom Herman, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, and Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury have a solid 0/10 chance of ending up with the Ole Miss job. There are different reasons for this. Oklahoma and Texas are premier jobs and no one in their right mind leaves OU or Texas for Ole Miss, especially with potential sanctions looming. Meantime, Kliff Kingsbury is a Tech guy who will be fortunate if he still has a job after the 2017 season. Kingsbury would, in no way, be a candidate at Ole Miss. Then of course, Bill Snyder… do I really need to explain why this won’t happen?
David Beaty: 1/10
Beaty is unlikely be going anywhere. But there is a bizarre and, admittedly, very unlikely scenario that he could draw interest from Ole Miss. If Kansas miraculously wins 4 games this year, that would be like winning 10 games at many programs. Beaty is likely to be option Q, R, or S for Ole Miss, but considering what they’re facing with postseason bans, potential scholarship losses and more, they could be turned down by plenty of folks. Beaty knows Texas, but he’s also learning to recruit Louisiana well thanks to Tony Hull. So… you’re saying there’s a chance? Probably not, but it’s a 1/10.
Gary Patterson: 1/10
He’s the King of Fort Worth and his wife reportedly absolutely loves it there. But do his competitive juices want to take a stab at the “mighty” SEC West? At 57 years old, I highly doubt it. He’s already making $5 million per year, so there’s nothing more that Ole Miss can do on the salary front. TCU is in a very good spot as a program and it’s finally starting to show on the recruiting trail as well.
But after 2017 Patterson will have 18 seasons on the job (the same number as Bob Stoops had before “retiring” last month), and if the Horned Frogs continue to be mediocre, maybe both sides think it’s time for a divorce? I highly doubt it, but we’ve seen crazier things in college football.
Mike Gundy: 2/10
He seems as happy as he ever has during his tenure in Stillwater, Oklahoma. But that can change with a few gusts of wind across North-Central Oklahoma. What if Oklahoma State doesn’t live up to lofty expectations this fall? What if T. Boone decides to spout off about Gundy’s job performance? How does Mike Holder react? It’s still a combustible group and in many ways a tinderbox with these personalities. That good vibes on campus are just one comment away from diminishing.
That being said, Gundy is saddled with a new contract, he’s content and his quirkiness is starting to pay off on the recruiting trail. It seems very unlikely, but if a perfect storm arises, don’t be shocked if Ole Miss at least inquires as to what is on Gundy’s mind.
Matt Rhule: 2/10
Rhule has already gained plenty of notoriety for how he has handled his first few months on the job at Baylor, as tough a job as there currently is in college football. He has faced the sexual assault issues head on and has not tried to shy away from them.
If Rhule exceeds expectations on the field this fall, while continuing to handle the issues off the field in a first-class manner, I could certainly see teams, including Ole Miss, showing some interest. I’d have this number higher than just 2/10 if it wasn’t Rhule’s first year on the job. He doesn’t strike me as the Todd Graham-type to bolt a university after one year.
Matt Campbell: 3/10
We’ve seen coaches (or a coach) make the move from Iowa State to the SEC West (Gene Chizik), so why is this so crazy? Remember, Chizik left Ames after two years and going just 2-14 in Big 12 play.
Campbell is also facing a tough rebuilding job himself. But he is mature beyond his years, and has the perfect combination of youth and professionalism for Ole Miss to be intrigued. As for on the field, if Campbell leads Iowa State to a surprisingly season that results in a bowl game, he’d be even more of a hot commodity. Campbell is making about $2 million per season, one of the lowest salaries in the Big 12. There’s no doubt there are plenty of downsides to the Ole Miss job, but could $4 or $5 million per year give a coach enough reason to take a chance on it?
Remember, since Hugh Freeze would have been fired for cause had he not resigned, Ole Miss doesn’t owe him a dime. They will have money to toss around.
Dana Holgorsen: 4/10
Holgorsen is the coach in the Big 12 I could most likely see Ole Miss trying to poach. If the Mountaineers once again exceed their preseason expectations (they’re currently picked to finish 6th in the Big 12 conference), then Holgorsen’s reputation as a head coach will continue to improve.
Is Holgorsen at all intrigued by the SEC? I don’t believe so.
Plus, his son is a quarterback in the Class of 2019, meaning the 2018 season would be his senior campaign. Another reason Holgorsen is unlikely to have interest. But he does have ties to the state. Hoglorsen coached at Division II Mississippi College from 1996-1998 under Hal Mumme. Does the Magnolia State hold a special place in his heart? I kid, I kid. I hope!
Ultimately, with the Ole Miss job opening, I don’t believe a Big 12 coach will take it. There’s no obvious candidate, and with sanctions likely coming in Oxford, it’s not that appealing of a job. It’s hard enough to win at Ole Miss in the SEC West without cheating (right, Hugh Freeze?), but trying to rebuild that program with sanctions on top of that? It will be nearly impossible.
That being said, Ole Miss will overpay somebody to take the job. I just hope (and honestly don’t believe) it will be anybody from the Big 12 conference.
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