Charlie Strong Emerges as Vols' Choice, Auburn and Arkansas Make Hires

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Charlie Strong Emerges as Vols' Choice, Auburn and Arkansas Make Hires
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Charlie Strong has emerged as the leading candidate to fill the vacant head coaching position for the Tennessee Volunteers, according to SEC blogger Chris Low. In my opinion, this is neither a surprise nor anything less than terrific news.

Strong is the man for this job.

But before a quick review of a crazy day on the SEC coaching carousel, how about a little shameless self-promotion:

Note the date. Back on October 13th, Strong was my man (as he was many of yours), above Jon Gruden, Jimbo Fisher, Mike Gundy et al.

As for Strong, his coaching intentions are deliciously vague for Vol fans:

When asked Monday whether he could say definitively that he would be back at Louisville next season, Strong said, "I will say that at the right time." -from Chris Low

While Tennessee became one step closer to hiring their 23rd head football coach on Tuesday, Auburn and Arkansas filled their vacancies with two very nice hires.

Gus Malzahn and Bret Bielema Find New Homes in the SEC

Auburn brought back former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn after his 9-3 season at Arkansas State. Auburn's most recent success was realized under Malzahn's fast-paced no-huddle offense ran by Cam Newton in 2010.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

To be honest, I completely forgot about Malzahn as a potential hire for Auburn, but I think it's a very nice move.

Arkansas ended what has been a most entertaining coaching search, especially from the outside looking in. They snagged former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema.

After offering Jon Gruden and Les Miles huge deals and making several more unsuccessful offers to Gary Patterson, Chris Petersen and James Franklin (admittedly, rumored offers), the Razorbacks landed a proven winner.

If you had asked me earlier today who the most Big Ten-ish coach was, I would've immediately said Bielema. After winning his third consecutive conference title and ragging on the SEC when Urban Meyer arrived at Ohio State, the last place I expected him to end up was at Arkansas.

Bret Bielema has this to say about the SEC: "I can tell you this. We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC—in any way, shape or form."  

It's amazing how much difference a few months and a few million can make.

Strong on His Way to Knoxville?

With no more evidence than a wet finger held up on a windy day, I believe that Charlie Strong will be hired by Tennessee no later than next Monday, December 10th. The talk is heating up, and the fact that Dave Hart has let it be known that Strong is his No. 1 candidate after a silent hiring process is telling.

Starting pumping iron, Vol fans. It's time to get Strong.

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