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What If...Muschamp is Fired this Year? Who Should be our next Head Coach?

We're currently 4-4 (3-3 in SEC play) and Muschamp's team has regressed significantly in Year 3.

I want it clear that at the time of posting this entry, I DO NOT THINK Muschamp should be fired, but admittedly his job security is on a knife's edge -- as is my patience with him.

If we finish 6-6, I believe Muschamp gets one final year to save his job. Of course if that's the case then significant changes need to be made to the offensive coaching staff in the off-season, specifically reevaluating Brent Pease and the OL Coach, but that's a different post for a different day.

For the next 4 weeks the goal for the Gators is to save face and make a bowl. It's been 22 straight years of a bowl bid -- which is the second longest current streak (behind FSU) and the fifth longest overall. The bowl schedule has become bloated and diluted, and if Florida makes a bowl, I probably won't be making the trek to Tampa, Shreveport, Nashville, or wherever they play -- but being bowling eligible means something, and it's a streak worth fighting for. So if Muschamp breaks this magnificent bowl streak, he needs to be fired. That's Florida basement. Jeremy Foley has to pull the plug if we don't get to at least 6-6 -- and a loss to Vanderbilt or Georgia Southern (assuming losses to USC and FSU) -- should seal the deal.

So hypothetically, if UF is on the job market for a HC this off-season, who are the candidates?

Well first there are two lessons that need to be applied in the event Muschamp is fired.

Lesson #1. The next head coach must have HEAD COACHING EXPERIENCE AT THE FBS LEVEL. Of the 4 coaches we've had in the last 20 years, 2 were head coaches before the UF job (Spurrier and Meyer), and 2 weren't (Zook and Muschamp). Florida is not a program that allows the luxury to learn how to become a head coach; the stakes are much too high. So however tempting a trendy coordinator might be, our next coach should be someone with Head Coaching experience.

Lesson #2. We not only need a coach with head coaching experience, but we need A SUCCESSFUL FBS HEAD COACH. So how do we measure success? The basic goal for every Gator team is to win championships and the only way you win a national championship is by winning your division and conference. So Foley needs to look for FBS Head Coaches that have won a division/conference championship at some point in their career. Admittedly a broad measurement, but we need someone who has won something in their career at the FBS level.

So with those two lessons in mind, here's a list of all current FBS head coaches that have either (a) won at least a division title with a BCS team or (b) won a conference title with a non-BCS team. I've organized them into my own categorization of Yes-Maybe-No, and they are listed alphabetically.

YES

MAYBE

NO

Art Briles, Baylor

Gary Andersen, Wisconsin

Frank Beamer, Va Tech

Larry Fedora, UNC

Rod Carey, NIU

Tim Beckman, Illinois

Mike Gundy, OK State

Mark D'Antonio, Michigan St

Bret Bielema, Arkansas

Gus Malzahn, Auburn

Tim DeRuyter, Fresno St

Larry Blakeney, Troy

Chris Petersen, Boise St

Dave Doeren, NC State

Bill Blankenship, Tulsa

Nick Saban, Alabama

Mark Helfrich, Oregon

Terry Bowden, Akron

David Shaw, Stanford

Brady Hoke, Michigan

Mack Brown, Texas

Charlie Strong, Louisville

Dana Holgersen, WVU

Larry Coker, UTSA

Kevin Sumlin, TAMU

Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Bill Curry, Georgia State

June Jones, SMU

David Cutliffe, Duke

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

Sonny Dykes, Cal

Rocky Long, San Diego St

Randy Edsall, Maryland

Bronco Mendenhall, BYU

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

Les Miles, LSU

Jimbo Fischer, FSU

Jim Mora, UCLA

Dennis Franchione, TSU

Gary Patterson, TCU

Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss

Gary Pinkel, Missouri

Jim Grobe, Wake

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina

Darrell Hazzell, Purdue

Dabo Sweeney, Clemson

Skip Holtz, La. Tech

Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati

Butch Jones, Tennessee

Mike Leach, Wazzu

Dan McCarney, UNT

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

George O'Leary, UCF

Bo Pellini, Nebraska

Bobby Petrino, WKU

Mark Richt, Georgia

Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

Bill Snyder, Kansas St

Frank Solich, Ohio

Rick Stockstill, MTSU

Bob Stoops, OU

Ron Turner, FIU

Kyle Whittingham, Utah

This list makes one thing clear: there are a lot of options out there, so if Muschamp isn't the right one to get the job done, there are other individuals with the credentials who deserve a chance.

One caveat with this lengthy list is that it only lists current head coaches in FBS and excludes individuals who are currently assistants, coordinators, or in the NFL, that had previous success as an FBS head coach. If someone wants to identify current coordinators with successful Head Coach track records please indicate them. I just limited this search to current head coaches.

The Yes Men

Out of the 9 coaches I identified as a Yes, I think the majority of Gator fans would gladly welcome any of these coaches with open-arms. I understand Larry Fedora and Mike Gundy might have less reception, but all in all I think this is a solid list of 8 candidates. Of course the reality is that probably only 3 of those names would actually consider coming to Florida presently, so Foley might have to find a hidden gem from the Maybe list.

So, Who's it Gonna Be?

In my opinion, I think Charlie Strong would be the best and most realistic pick for our program. The most egregious thing Urban Meyer ever did to this program was resigning (and then ultimately coming back) just weeks after Charlie Strong was hired by Louisville. Strong 100% deserved a head coaching position and I can't fault him for going to Louisville, but I'm still mad at Meyer for not even relaying to his prized defensive coordinator that he was thinking about resigning. I wonder what the alternate Florida Gator universe looks like where Strong didn't go to U of L, Urban Meyer resigned (and stay resigned), and Strong was our head coach the last 4 years...oh sweet, sweet alternate universe dreams.

Charlie Strong is the one that got away for Florida, and whenever the Head Coach vacancy sign is next lit in Gainesville, Foley has to make Strong his #1, #2, and #3 candidate. That's of course assuming Strong would want to come to Gainesville. He has stated his satisfactions with Louisville's administration, the university, and the city in general. Plus with Louisville's upcoming ACC move next year, it seems likely Strong might want to stay and carry through the program he has cultivated the last four year.

So assuming Muschamp is fired this year, who would you want as the next Head Coach?

Is there anyone I left off? Anyone you would rank differently?

Please be kind and use good grammar.

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