Urban Meyer Resigns: Why Dan Mullen Is Best Of Four Candidates To Replace Him

Joe MorganSenior Analyst IDecember 8, 2010

Urban Meyer Resigns: Why Dan Mullen Is Best Of Four Candidates To Replace Him

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    Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer resigned from his position Wednesday afternoon, citing a desire to spend more time with his family as his top concern.

    And with the departure of Meyer expected to officially step down following the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day, the Gators will now turn toward the future of their football program.

    Here are the top five candidates to replace Meyer as main man in Gainesville.

4. Chris Peterson

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    While the Florida Gators may be the most recognizable orange and blue team in the nation, the Boise State Broncos are not far behind.

    And a big reason for the Broncos' prominence is their fiery head coach Chris Petersen.

    In five seasons as the head coach of Boise State, Petersen has a phenomenal 60-5 record, which includes four WAC titles, two undefeated seasons, and two BCS bowl victories.

    Petersen is coach that has a knack for getting the most out of his players and at a school as talented as Florida, he could do some incredible things.

3. Charlie Strong

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    Although this season was Charlie Strong's first as a head coach, he is held in high regard by Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley.

    Strong had a solid 2010 season as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, improving their record by two wins in his first season and earning a berth in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl.

    During his time as an assistant for Florida, Strong was responsible for one of the nation's best defenses, ranking fourth nationally in scoring defense both in 2008 (12.9 points per game) and 2009 (12.4 points per game).

    Although inexperienced as a head coach, Strong would bring not only bring top-notch football knowledge to Gainesville, but he would bring an understanding of the Gator Nation, which would work wonders on the field and in recruiting.

2. Kyle Whittingham

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    If anybody knows how to follow a legend like Urban Meyer, it's Utah Utes' head coach Kyle Whittingham.

    It wouldn't be the first time.

    When Meyer left Utah to become the head coach at Florida following the Utes' 2004 Fiesta Bowl victory, Whittingham stepped right in and continued to build off the momentum of that season.

    In the six seasons since, Whittingham has posted a 58-19 record and is undefeated in six bowl appearances, including a 31-17 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2009 AllState Sugar Bowl.

    With University of Florida President Bernie Machen's Utah ties, it wouldn't be surprising to see Whittingham interview for the position at the very least.

    Whittingham has a style similar to Meyer's and he has the coaching IQ to succeed in a high-profile job like Florida.

1. Dan Mullen

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    Dan Mullen is currently the hottest candidate for every major head coaching job in college football and for good reason.

    In just his second season in Starkville, Mullen led the Mississippi State Bulldogs to an 8-4 record in one of the most competitive SEC West races in conference history.

    Additionally, with the Gators' recent struggles on offense, many believe that Mullen was the true genius behind Urban Meyer's spread offense.

    If athletic director Jeremy Foley were to call, Mullen would probably be willing to listen, especially considering the rich recruiting base in the state of Florida.

    Considering the candidates, Mullen would be the best option for the Gators, but with perks and prestige of the job, Florida will definitely have plenty of candidates to choose from.

    Who do you think should replace Urban Meyer? Talk about your favorite candidate in the comments section below.