Mark Richt Hot Seat: 10 Possible Replacements for the Georgia Football Coach

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer INovember 11, 2010

Mark Richt Hot Seat: 10 Possible Replacements for the Georgia Football Coach

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    COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 11:  Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt watches the action on the field during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli
    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Marc Richt, outside of Rich Rodriguez, could be sitting on the hottest college football seat in the country.

    His Georgia team has under performed and been in a slow, downward spiral for the last few years.

    Since Georgia finished 11-2 in 2007 and won the Sugar Bowl, the Bulldogs have begun to lose wins in each of the last three seasons.

    Georgia finished 10-3 in 2008, 8-5 in 2009, and they're 5-5 so far this season. I would say that's a decline, wouldn't you?

    He could be on the chopping block at the end of this season if things don't turn around. If that does in fact happen, the university will begin looking for replacements, someone that can get them back to where they were three years ago.

    Here are 10 possible replacements to take over at the University of Georgia.

10. Bill Cowher

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    PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 5: Pittsburgh Steelers' Coach Bill Cowher announces his retirement during a press conference at the Pittsburgh Steelers' headquarters on January 5, 2007 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
    Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

    Bill Cowher's name will come up on just about every job opening whether it's in college or the pros. He's a guy a lot of people want, but only the perfect job is going to lure him out of retirement.

    While Georgia may not have a shot at him, you can bet that his name is going to be mentioned in conversations. He's not going to be on their short list because they're not going to be on his.

9. Les Miles

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 06:  Head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers watches pregame before playing the Alabama Crimson Tide  at Tiger Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    There's been talk of Les Miles being out at LSU for the past few seasons but not as much as there has been this season.

    I would have said his job was in serious jeopardy had LSU lost to Alabama. However, they did not and he's safe for another week. Sounds like an episode of Survivor doesn't it?

    If that does indeed happen, he won't need to make that big of a jump going to Georgia. While we don't know how things will work out until the end of the season, he's still a candidate in my book.

8. Kevin Sumlin

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    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Houston Cougars during warmups for the game with the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on September 18, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Kevin Sumlin might not be on too many radars, especially since he's not exactly a big name out of the University of Houston.

    But, neither was Derek Dooley before he was hired by Tennessee.

    Sumlin is in his third season with Houston and has led them to winning records in at least his first two years including a 10-4 record and a division title in 2009.

    Say what you want about him being unknown, but even the most unknown guys can turn into the ones that turn your team around.

7. Jon Gruden

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    ATLANTA - DECEMBER 14: Coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directs play against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December 14, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Jon Gruden is going to be on a lot of people's short list and that includes NFL jobs that will come open and those that already are.

    There are more teams than Georgia that might look for a new head coach or are already looking—Minnesota and Colorado are already there.

    Gruden has a Super Bowl ring and might be someone the university would at least call to gauge his interest.

6. Jason Garrett

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  (L-R) Quarterback Jon Kitna and assistant head coahc/offensive coordinator Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys look on from the sideline against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Tex
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    While Jason Garrett is the interim head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, he won't be after this season is over and he won't have a job either.

    Jerry Jones is going to bring another head coach into Dallas, one that can bring the championship years back to Cowboys Stadium and that coach is going to want his own guys.

    Garrett is going to be available and he's going to get opportunities. Georgia may think about him, but he won't be on the short list.

5. Brady Hoke

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    MUNCIE, IN - NOVEMBER 25:  Head coach Brady Hoke of the Ball State Cardinals stands on the field during the Mid-American Conference (MAC) game against the Western Michigan Broncos at Scheumann Stadium November 25, 2008 in Muncie, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The head coach at San Diego State has the Aztecs in a better position than they've been in a long time. He took the team from 4-8 his first season to a much improved 7-2 this season.

    He's someone that's going to garner some interest around college football after this season is over. San Diego State doesn't want him to leave but don't think for a second that he won't consider a higher paying gig at a big time school.

4. Kyle Whittingham

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    SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JUNE 17: University of Utah Head football coach Kyle Whittingham smiles as it is announced that the University will be admitted into the PAC-10 June 17, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The University of Utah was invited to join the PAC-
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Kyle Whittingham is a guy that will be on a lot of team's short list. The University of Utah head coach has already garnished interest from schools in the past even though he signed a five-year contract extension in December of 2008.

    If Georgia cans Mark Richt, they're going to have a guy like Whittingham on their short list and for good reason.

    Sure he's turned down other jobs in the past, but Urban Meyer left Utah for an SEC team. Could Whittingham be next?

3. Gary Patterson

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    SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 6: Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs calls a play against the Utah Utes during the second half of an NCAA Football game November 6, 2010 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. TCU Beat Utah 47-7.  (Ph
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Next to Kyle Whittingham, TCU's Gary Patterson will also be someone that Georgia could be looked at as a candidate and might be on their short list of candidates.

    Patterson is in his 10th season as the head coach of the Horned Frogs and has compiled a 95-28 record including a 59-18 record in conference.

    This season, the Horned Frogs are ranked third in the nation and are coming off a dominate win over conference rival, Utah, on the road.

    He's been someone that teams have been interested in before but says he's committed to TCU. We'll see if Georgia comes calling to gauge his interest.

2. Will Muschamp

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    AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 07:  Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp of the Texas Longhorns watches the defense prepare against the UCF Knights on November 7, 2009 at Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  Texas won 35-3.  (Photo by Brian B
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Will Muschamp has been on a lot of short lists over the last few years including getting a call about the USC opening before Lane Kiffin was hired as well as the Tennessee opening before Derek Dooley was hired.

    Muschamp is supposedly the "coach in waiting" for the University of Texas once Mack Brown retires, but there's no indication that Brown will retire any time soon.

    I have to wonder how long he's going to wait before he's going to want his own coaching gig. Though he wants the Texas gig, if he's thrown enough money and it's the right fit, he could think long and hard about it.

    Though, if he turned Tennessee down, why would he accept the Georgia gig?

1. Chris Petersen

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Chris Petersen of the Boise State Broncos celebrates after defeating the TCU Horned Frogs 17-10 during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo b
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    This is going to be one of the most sought after coaches in the college football when this season is over.

    Minnesota is already looking for a coach and so is the University of Colorado but there will be more when this season comes to a close.

    Petersen has seen nothing but success at Boise State but there are some that wonder if he's going to be another Dan Hawkins—a success at Boise State but can't have the same kind of success at the next level of college football.

    Though he says he's committed to Boise State, if the right job comes calling, he may find it hard to turn it down.