Let the Kiffin to Auburn talk commence, now that the school has moved on from Bryan Harsin after a messy marriage. Could the current Ole Miss coach make the jump to another SEC West school and restart his clock in the conference? Absolutely, but Hugh Freeze and Deion Sanders are going to draw interest, along with a recent NFL head coach.
There have been times over the past year where it has felt as if the Rebels head coach has been frustrated with the current landscape in Oxford. From the transfer portal to the NIL conversation, it's obvious that Kiffin feels as if Ole Miss is playing from behind in the current landscape.
How would this change with Auburn? It's simple, the Tigers have decided to go all-in on NIL, something Ole Miss money folks have been struggling to get up to speed. But it's not not just about NIL or trying something different.
What else can Kiffin do in Oxford after coming off the Sugar Bowl last season, besides beating Alabama in two weeks. Yes, Ole Miss still has a shot at the SEC West, but there's also the chance to rebuild the program and get after Nick Saban one more time before he retires. One source I spoke with on Saturday put it in perspective.
"He's had the opportunity to rebuild himself in Oxford, but what if he got the chance to prove himself in the State of Alabama. There's a lot more than just smoke, he'll listen."
How About That Liberty Extension For Hugh Freeze?
This could be said for numerous coaches, but another name mentioned to me over the past two weeks is Liberty's Hugh Freeze. Yes, an extension was just agreed upon with the Flames, but contracts aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
Getting back into the SEC is a goal of Hugh's, with Auburn being one of the best spots for the potential move. The Tigers need a splash, with a coach that can turn things around immediately, especially on the recruiting trail. I can't think of two coaches that would make a bigger splash than Kiffin or Freeze, if the Auburn administration wants to go down this road.
Also, we can't overlook the fact that new athletic director John Cohen is certainly familiar with both coaches, with Freeze formerly at Ole Miss. Now, Cohen would have to overlook the reason why Freeze was fired in Oxford, but everyone deserves a second chance.
Deion Sanders Make Sense, Especially With New AD
If there was an outside candidate that makes complete sense, it would be Deion Sanders. There have been numerous mentions from Sanders that he'd listen to offers and with the college football world loving Sanders at the moment, this would be the perfect opportunity to strike. Is Sanders going to wait for another job to open, like Florida State. It doesn't feel as if the Seminoles are going to make a move from Norvell right not, so how long would he wait?
This would be the perfect opportunity for Sanders to shake things up and take a job like Auburn, if he even gets a phone call. We will see how much interest there would be. But new AD John Cohen is certainly familiar with his work in Mississippi.
Other Potential Coaching Candidates
Could Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham make his way back to Auburn? After serving as the OC under Gus Malzahn, he certainly understands the inner-workings on the plains. If Oregon can hire former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning as the head coach, I don't see why Auburn couldn't do the same with Dillingham. There's no shame in going the assistant coach route.
Former Baylor and Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, who was fired this season in Carolina would be an obvious phone call. This would be a total rebuild for Rhule, which at the present time might not look very appealing, but he could most likely pull it off with enough patience. You have to at least make the call and gauge his interest.
We'll see where this goes, as we're only four hours into the coaching search.