Steve Patterson, Bill Powers and the rest of the power brokers at Texas are on the prowl for their next football coach.
No matter who they snag, it will be of interest in our fair state.
The Cowboys in the state will want to know who they're going to have to deal with in trying to maintain the momentum that they've built, and the Sooners in the state will want to know, well, do we really need to spell it out? No other fan base is more wrapped up in their rival.
The upside-down hand signal? The stickers and tags upside down on cars? Everything about the Horns interests the Sooners.
But here's the deal: there are some coaches that if hired by Texas could make things really interesting north of the Red River.
Nick Saban tops that list, of course. Imagine Bob Stoops and Oklahoma going toe to toe with oil' Nicky in the Cotton Bowl every October. Or Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State trying to push that winning streak in Austin to four with the coach who has currently won three of the last four national titles standing on the other sideline.
Luckily for the Sooners and Cowboys, it looks like Saban is staying at Alabama, though I would still like to see some evidence that he has actually signed the paperwork on that extension and raise to $7 million a year. Sworn witness. Instagram photo. Even then, this is the same guy who said, “I'm not going to be the Alabama coach”, then left the Miami Dolphins about five minutes later to become the Alabama coach.
So, when Saban says, “I never considered going to Texas,” forgive me if I don't consider his word to be the gospel truth.
Forgive me, too, if I refuse to believe that Texas won't check one last time to see if Saban isn't interested in making in a couple more million a year, planting himself in the most fertile recruiting ground in the country and coaching in a conference where it's way easier to go undefeated and assure yourself a spot in the national-title chase than the league he's currently in.
But barring that from happening, there are still plenty of coaches that would be loads of fun to see in burnt orange.
* Les Miles: The LSU coach is heartily hated by Sooner fans. While he was at OSU, he refused to call their team by name and spouted off one too many times for their liking. Beating OU a couple times didn't endear Miles to the Sooner Nation either.
The thing about Miles is that he's loathed by plenty of Cowboy fans, too. Feelings are still hurt after he bolted Stillwater for Baton Rouge.
Just imagine Miles with that Longhorn on his high hat.
*Mike Gundy: The OSU coach played footsie with just about everyone who had a job opening last season. It doesn't seem crazy to think that his agent Jimmy Sexton has already placed a call to Austin.
Seeing him in Texas orange would make the blood of OSU fans boil. If a good number of Cowboy fans were mad about Miles leaving, it's hard to fathom how they'd feel about seeing the former Cowboy quarterback coaching the Horns.
And for OU fans, Gundy would go from rival 1B to rival 1A.
Oh, the drama.
*Art Briles: Clearly, the man can recruit and coach with the best of him. What he's done at Baylor has been remarkable.
Wonder what he'd be capable of doing with Texas' resources.
Yes, Briles is another coach who has recently done an extension with his current school, but Texas' coffers are deep enough that a massive buyout wouldn't scare it off if they really, truly wanted someone.
*Jon Gruden: Chucky vs. Stoops. Enough said.
*Gus Malzahn: Flat out, the guy knows how to coach. He's been successful everywhere he's gone, and that includes Auburn. Last season under Gene Chizik, the Tigers won three games. This season with largely the same players under Malzahn, they are playing for a national title.
Chances are, none of those guys will be the next coach at Texas. It's more likely that Patterson, Powers and Co. will give the job to someone like David Shaw, who's been extremely successful at Stanford, or Jim Mora, who's turned around UCLA in addition to having NFL coaching on his resume.
We'll be interested regardless.
But hire someone like Miles or Gruden, and you will absolutely hook us, Horns.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.
MACK BROWN BY THE NUMBERS
16: Seasons at Texas.
9: Consecutive 10-win seasons from 2001-09.
8: Big 12 titles for Oklahoma under Bob Stoops.
2: Big 12 titles for Texas under Brown.
2: Appearances in the national championship game.
1: National title (2005)
.771: Winning percentage at Texas (158-47).
.600: Winning percentage the past four seasons (30-20).
.748: Winning percentage against Big 12 foes (98-33)
.438: Winning percentage against OU (7-9).