Dueling minds: The Tennessee coaching search

Give me your top three realistic candidates for the job.

Ramey: 1. Will Muschamp – Tennessee’s No. 1 candidate since the Kiffin saga began, Muschamp is still a possibility, no matter how contradicting the message board rumors may seem. He’s the head coach in waiting at Texas, but the other UT won’t be able to match what UT and Mike Hamilton can offer Muschamp for a head coach position. And let’s face it, Mack Brown has a few miles left in the tank.

2. David Cutcliffe – Sounds crazy? What is normal these days? Cutcliffe has been solid at Duke, but would he come back to UT after Hamilton fired his friend and former boss Phillip Fulmer? It’s a realistic possibility. He’s as Tennessee as a candidate could be. But Muschamp would have to say no first.

3. Troy Calhoun – Calhoun has called Tennessee speculation just that, speculation. He claims to be happy at Air Force, but Tennessee may be too much to pass up for Calhoun if he is in fact contacted, interviewed or offered the job. It’s certainly not the ideal choice for Tennessee right now. But the Vols aren’t exactly in an ideal place.

Chartrand: Muschamp scares me for the reason I talked about earlier. I just don’t trust that he’ll be here for more than 2 or 3 years. Cutcliffe has been in the SEC before and was probably not given a long enough leash at Ole Miss, but he wasn’t exactly an ace recruiter. And he’s getting up there in age. Those are both pretty big negatives to me. Calhoun wouldn’t be a bad choice. He would bring discipline and and class to the position, and the latter is more than we can say for the guys who just left. None of those three guys would be make my realistic wish list, though.

1. Randy Edsall – I was in Connecticut last semester, so I was close enough to see how great of a job Edsall did holding his team together after the Jasper Howard tragedy. Like Calhoun, he’d bring some qualities that appeared to be lacking in the last staff. He was also rumored to be a strong candidate at Notre Dame, so this isn’t a far-fetched proposition. He’s been in the mix for other big jobs.

2. Gary Pinkel – I haven’t heard anyone mention this name, and he might not even be on Mike Hamilton’s radar. But he should be. Missouri has had prolific offenses during Pinkel’s entire tenure, with quarterbacks Brad Smith and Chase Daniel leading the charge. The Tigers have risen to as high as No. 2 in the polls under Pinkel, and he currently has a top 15 recruiting class lined up for next season so it at least appears he can recruit.

3. Jeff Jagodzinski – The former Boston College head man is currently unemployed after some weird circumstances with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he’s still the same coach that led BC to back-to-back ACC championship games. He also helped turn Matt Ryan into a first round pick after a stellar senior year, and has experience as an NFL offensive coordinator.