Houston head coach Tom Herman celebrates after the Peach Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida State, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in Atlanta. Houston won 38-24. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

BEVO BEAT Football

Who’s next? Texas can dream big, but all eyes on Tom Herman

Houston's Tom Herman is the leader in the clubhouse among Texas fans

Posted November 26th, 2016

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Now that Texas is back in the market for a head football coach, who should the Longhorns target?

Here’s a look at various candidates ranging from dreamboats to guys that Texas should at least give a look-see.

Why is Alabama a national championship contender? The conversation begins and ends with Nick Saban, who's won five national titles, including four with the Crimson Tide. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Texas fans can dream about Alabama coach Nick Saban, can’t they? (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

ONLY IN YOUR DREAMS

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Nick Saban, Alabama

If you believe all the rumors, Miss Terry still owns three houses in Spanish Oaks purchased in 2013.

Record at Alabama: 116-18 in 10 seasons

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

Not sure why Meyer would leave the Buckeyes when he averaged 13.5 wins through the his first four seasons and captured the 2014 national championship.

Record at Ohio State: 60-5 in five seasons

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Washington Head Coach Chris Peterson on the sidelines during the second half of a game against USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean Haffey/Getty Images)
Washington coach Chris Peterson (Photo by Sean Haffey/Getty Images)

IT’S A LONGSHOT

Chris Peterson, Washington

Peterson was 92-12 in eight seasons at Boise State and moved to Washington in part because it was in the same geographic region. He’s spent most of his professional career on the West Coast. Peterson has no known ties to Texas. Strong had virtually no experience recruiting in the state, and it took him a full year to win over Texas high school coaches.

Record at Washington: 26-13 in three seasons

Dabo Swinney, Clemson

Bring your own guts to Austin? Swinney stumbled the first three seasons in Clemson but finally broke through with a 10-4 campaign in 2011 when the Tigers reached the Orange Bowl. Swinney’s firebrand persona really turned heads last season when Clemson reached the College Football Playoffs championship. He’s 10-1 this season as Clemson is ranked second.

Record at Clemson: 85-28 in nine seasons

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

Fisher was rumored for the Texas job after Mack Brown was forced out, but he ultimately got a raise just before the 2013 national championship game. In January 2015, Fisher signed a new deal that stretched to 2022 and paid him more than $5 million annually and offered more money for his assistants. Whatever Texas can offer, Florida State can match.

Record at Florida State: 76-17 in seven seasons

Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

Why not make the call? Politically, it may not be palatable, and UT President Gregory L. Fenves would have to make one heck of a sales pitch. Stoops probably wouldn’t do it without the blessing of OU President David Boren, who may be close to retirement anyway. The Sooners have posted double-digit winning seasons five times already this decade.

Record at Oklahoma: 188-48 in 18 seasons

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 10: Houston Cougars head coach Tom Herman walks the sidelines as he coaches against the Lamar Cardinals in the second quarter at TDECU Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 42 to 0. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Houston coach Tom Herman (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

THE CLUBHOUSE LEADER

Tom Herman, Houston

Far and away the hottest candidate out there, especially after Houston knocked off No. 3 Oklahoma in the season opener and demolished No. 5 Louisville on Nov. 17. Losses to Navy, to SMU and on Friday to Memphis didn’t so much dampen enthusiasm as it prompted real introspection among the Texas faithful. He’s been a head coach only two seasons. At least Strong had four years under his belt. Is this the coach you really want?

Record at Houston: 22-4 in two seasons

Read Kirk Bohls’ take on Tom Herman

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers takes the field before the second half of a game against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Tiger Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
LSU coach Les Miles (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

HE’S AVAILABLE TODAY

Les Miles

Schools usually go in the complete opposite direction of the coach they just fired. Strong was a fundamental X-and-O coach but wasn’t so hot at the CEO part of the job. He wasn’t always comfortable in large settings but excelled in one-on-ones. Miles, the recently fired LSU coach, has 142 wins and two national title appearances on his resume. At 62, Miles may skew a tad older, but the “Mad Hatter” would be ready to prove a lot of doubters wrong.

Record at LSU: 114-34 in 12 seasons

SSALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 8: Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes looks on from the sideline during their game against the Arizona Wildcats at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 8, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

OTHER REALISTIC CHOICES

Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Whittingham, who took over the Utah job full time in 2005, now has more than 100 wins in the Rocky Mountains. Even when things went bad, the school stuck with him and it paid off. After two 5-7 seasons in 2012 and 2013, the Utes bounced back to finish 10-3 last season. Realistically, when was the last time Whittingham’s name has ever been mentioned for a major job?

Record at Utah: 103-49 in 13 seasons

FROM THE ARCHIVES: This past spring Joe Harrington asked who Texas would hire if Charlie Strong wasn’t there. Here’s who he had.

Jim Mora, UCLA

It’s long been forgotten, but former Texas athletic director Steve Patterson wanted to hire Mora in 2013. Mora didn’t seem all that interested, though. Since that time, his star has faded to a degree. The Bruins went 10-3 in 2014 and 8-5 last season. UCLA got as high as 16th this season but had a 3-5 record heading into November.

Record at UCLA: 41-23 in five seasons

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 01: Head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels Larry Fedora watches his team before the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)
North Carolina coach Larry Fedora (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)

HEY, WHAT ABOUT…

Larry Fedora, North Carolina

Fedora’s name continues to surface with various key constituents, although it’s unclear why. He was 34-19 in four seasons at Southern Mississippi and posted only one 10-win season at North Carolina since 2012. He actually had a 6-7 mark in 2014.

Record at North Carolina: 40-24 in five seasons

Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech

Age is certainly on Fuente’s side. The Tulsa, Okla., native turned 40 last July. Fuente had an uphill battle at Memphis, posting two losing season before a 10-3 campaign in 2014. Then, he won nine more games in 2015 and took over for the retiring Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. It seems like he needs more seasoning and wouldn’t want to up and leave Blacksburg just yet.

Record at Virginia Tech: 8-3 in one season

WACO, TX - OCTOBER 17: Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears looks on as the Bears take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second half at McLane Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Baylor coach Art Briles (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT

Art Briles

He’d bring a dynamite offense that fits the current personnel. He’d want to drive opponents into the dirt. With his Texas drawl, he’d be a throwback to the olden days. But Briles is simply untouchable for UT officials given everything that allegedly happened at Baylor. How much did Briles know about the various sexual assaults happening among his players? Those are murky  waters that Texas officials don’t want to wade into.

Record at Baylor: 65-37 in eight seasons

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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