Is Arkansas, Tennessee or Auburn a Better Job for Louisville's Charlie Strong?

Randy ChambersAnalyst INovember 7, 2012

Is Arkansas, Tennessee or Auburn a Better Job for Louisville's Charlie Strong?

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    When smaller programs end up having success, the rumors begin to takeover.

    This is exactly what is happening with Louisville right now.

    The Cardinals are currently undefeated, No. 9 in the latest BCS rankings and are on the right track to appearing in a BCS bowl game for the first time since 2006. Because of this success, head coach Charlie Strong has to answer questions about possibly leaving the program.

    After all, it is not very often when a coach stays with the little guy any longer than he has to. Once those dollars are thrown his way, we have seen many coaches pack up their bags and head to the nearest airport.

    Strong has said multiple times that he is not going anywhere and is 100 percent committed to the program he is at. CBS Sports is reporting that Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich will match any offer to keep the current head coach in town.

    Will he stay or will he go?

    Well, we have heard many coaches say they aren't going anywhere and then end up leaving a couple of weeks later. There will also likely be a few head coaching positions open in the SEC, which is a much more attractive option than the Big East.

    Let's take a look at three programs besides Louisville that Strong could be roaming the sidelines for next season.


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    Why This Coaching Gig Will Be Available

    John L. Smith was named the interim head coach after Bobby Petrino landed himself in hot water during the offseason.

    He took over a program that had national championship dreams and has turned it into a 4-5 club that will likely miss the bowl season all together.

    Arkansas has already said that it would like to find a new head coach as early as December, and it certainly won't be Smith returning for a second year.


    What's in It for Strong?

    There is a Facebook page dedicated to bringing Strong in as the new head coach.

    Strong is actually from Batesville, Arkansas and spent his college football days playing for Central Arkansas.

    Taking over as the new head coach for the Razorbacks would be a homecoming for the coach, which has to be somewhat appealing, as there is no place like home.


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    Why This Coaching Gig Will Be Available

    Volunteer fans are simply fed up with head coach Derek Dooley, who has a combined record of 15-19 in the last three years.

    Tennessee is in jeopardy of missing the bowl season for the second year in a row and is 0-10 against ranked teams since last year.

    For a program that was consistently winning double-digit games just five years ago, Dooley knows his time has likely run out.


    What's in It for Strong?

    Strong is familiar with the SEC East considering he spent several years as an assistant and defensive coach for the Florida Gators.

    He also got his start as a graduate assistant back in 1983 with Florida, so Strong knows this division like the back of his hand. And while the familiarity may be enough to gain his attention, Tennessee is also an established program that has a heavy tradition of winning.

    If Strong is able to gain that respect back, he may go down as a legend in Knoxville.


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    Why This Coaching Gig Will Be Available

    The Auburn Tigers are making very little progress from week to week and will not participate in a bowl game for the first time since 2008.

    Head coach Gene Chizik hasn't accomplished much in his tenure at Auburn, except for the 2010 undefeated national championship season, which was more about quarterback Cam Newton transforming into Superman than anything else.

    Auburn is a proud program that can certainly do better than what is going on right now.


    What's in It for Strong?

    Out of these three programs, Auburn is probably the place that would be the best recruiting spot.

    While competing with in-state rival Alabama for top recruits isn't easy, the Tigers do well for themselves and are able to snag a few from the Crimson Tide every year.

    And much like Tennessee, Auburn is a historic program that has produced three national championships and 66 Consensus All-Americans.

Where Would He Go?

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    While every school has a lot to offer, and coaching any program in the SEC means a lot, taking over for Tennessee would make the most sense.

    Strong is familiar with the division, as he spent a lot of time at Florida and was even an assistant at Ole Miss and South Carolina for a period of time.

    Becoming the head coach for the Volunteers would also give Strong a chance to play the Florida Gators every season and gain a little revenge.

    Back when Ron Zook was fired from the program in 2004, many thought Strong was the best candidate to replace him, but instead Florida went ahead and hired Urban Meyer.

    Strong later said that he didn't get a fair shot at the job because of a race issue, according to ESPN.

    Everybody always said I didn't get that job because my wife is white. Strong said back in 2009. If you think about it, a coach is standing up there representing the university. If you're not strong enough to look through that [interracial marriage], then you have an issue.

    I'm not sure Strong would leave Louisville to clean up a mess in Arkansas, and competing in the SEC West is as hard as it gets, which would likely remove Auburn.

    With Tennessee, Strong would have the traditional program, easier path to win sooner and would get multiple chances to stick it to the rival Florida Gators each season.