Earlier Sunday night, Yahoo! Sports's Pat Forde reported that Colorado State's Jim McElwain was a "leading candidate" for Florida's now-vacant head coaching position. Since that original report, Forde's added a bombshell: Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley spoke to McElwain on Saturday night.
That's a major development, especially given Foley's insistence in the November 17 press conference announcing Will Muschamp's firing that he would not speak to other coaches until the end of the regular season. Florida's regular season ended Saturday with a 24-19 loss to Florida State; Colorado State's regular season ended with a 27-24 loss to Air Force on Friday. It seems unlikely that Foley, who knows how coaching searches go, having presided over three of them, would speak to a potential candidate — rather than working with an intermediary — without genuine interest from Florida's side.
Colorado State finished the 2014 season 10-2 and 6-2 in the Mountain West despite its loss to Air Force, and has improved year-over-year in each season since McElwain's arrival from Alabama, where he served as Nick Saban's offensive coordinator, prior to the 2012 campaign. And McElwain's got the Rams' offense revved: Colorado State is 25th nationally in points per game this year, averaging 35.9 a contest; 13th nationally in total offense, at 497.8 yards per game; and fourth in yards per play, at 7.21, behind only Marshall, Oregon, and Georgia Southern.