Louisville head coach Charlie Strong is the current favorite to replace Mack Brown at Texas, according to multiple bookmakers. Bovada lists him as a 2/1 favorite, with the next highest being Art Briles at 9/2. Sportsbook.ag jumped him to 6/5 from 5/2 yesterday.
If Strong wants a move, now would be the time and Texas (probably) would be the place. Louisville is moving up a level of competition in the ACC. Star QB Teddy Bridgewater, most suspect, will leave for the NFL Draft. Strong’s stock won’t be higher than it is this winter.
Texas may be the only school willing to write off Strong’s $5 million buyout. It may be his last opportunity for a “marquee” job to come available. Muschamp may be out at Florida after next year. Though, one suspects the next hire would be an offensive guy. Beyond that…Spurrier retiring at South Carolina? Notre Dame looking for someone if Brian Kelly goes to the NFL? None of those three jobs are Texas.
Would Texas want Strong? It’s a safe hire, a solid B+. High floor. Moderate ceiling. He’s not as sexy a prospect as Saban, Meyer or Harbaugh. But he’s not as young as James Franklin, not as deflating as Jim L. Mora and he would not give Texas that incestuous, slumming it feeling that would come from poaching a Baylor or Oklahoma State coach. Strong recruits well. He has coordinated national title caliber defenses. With the right offensive staff and quarterback, he would do a very good job.
Hiring Strong would also be a much easier process. That deal could be done this week. Many of the “stronger” candidates would require waiting until after the NFL season or the BCS title game just to interview. It’s hard picturing Strong as a Longhorn Network star, though folks do far more demeaning things for far less money. The real question may be how he feels about cowboy hats and belt buckles.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]