Texas Longhorns football: Five potential candidates to replace Mack Brown

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Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy talks on his headset as he watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the game against Louisiana-Lafayette in Stillwater, Oka. on Sept. 15. Oklahoma state won, 65-24.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Mack Brown’s resignation Saturday ended his tenure at Texas after 16 seasons, but it also opened up one of the premier coaching gigs in college football. Here are five possible replacements for Brown as Texas’ next head coach:

Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

Gundy’s stock elevated over the past three seasons, when he led the Cowboys to a 30-8 record and a conference title in 2011. Overall, Gundy is 77-37 in nine seasons at Oklahoma State, posting a 5-2 record in bowl games. He does plenty of recruiting already in Texas, and he’s been instrumental in solidifying OSU as one of the Big 12’s most consistent programs.

Gus Malzahn, Auburn

It was reported Texas was Malzhan’s dream job earlier this month, right before he inked a six-year, $26.85 million contract to remain at Auburn. That said, if anyone possesses the money to buy out a contract — it’s Texas. Malzahn has impressed, leading Auburn to a 12-1 record and a trip to the national championship game in his first year with the Tigers. The previous season, Auburn finished 3-9 and 0-8 in SEC play. His up-tempo offense would be a solid fit with the Longhorns.

Charlie Strong, Louisville

Strong’s buyout would cost Texas $5 million, but the Longhorns' bigger challenge would be convincing him to leave Louisville. He passed on a chance to go to Tennessee last year, and the Cardinals seem intent on paying whatever it takes to keep him. Still, he is an enticing fit for Texas. Strong has gone 22-3 in the last two seasons and led Louisville to a Sugar Bowl victory last year. He also won a pair of national titles as an assistant with a big school in Florida.

James Franklin, Vanderbilt

Franklin enjoyed another strong season with Vanderbilt in 2013, leading the Commodores to their third straight bowl game. Overall, Franklin has guided an overachieving Vanderbilt team to a 23-15 record in his three seasons as head coach. The Commodores went just 4-20 in the two seasons before his arrival. It’s interesting to think about what Franklin could do with all of Texas’ talent at his disposal.

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

After failing to nab Nick Saban, it would be natural for Texas to turn to the next best thing. In this case, that’s Fisher; who sports a .815 career win percentage and a trip to BCS bowls in each of the last two seasons. Like Malzahn, Fisher is fighting for a national championship this year with the Seminoles. He also recently received a raise to $4.25 million from Florida State. Texas would likely offer more money, but Fisher would be hard pressed to leave an FSU team that figures to contend for another national title next year behind freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.