Gator Bowl: If Not Jim Harbaugh, Who Would Replace Rich Rodriguez at Michigan?

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Gator Bowl: If Not Jim Harbaugh, Who Would Replace Rich Rodriguez at Michigan?
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With all the talk swirling around the Michigan Wolverines football program, you'd think it was a foregone conclusion that athletic director David Brandon is going to fire head coach Rich Rodriguez and replace him with Stanford miracle worker Jim Harbaugh.

After all, Rich Rod hasn't exactly succeeded at the helm in Ann Arbor, with the 2011 Gator Bowl marking the Wolverines' first trip to a bowl game during his tenure.

Similarly, the Maize and Blue fans and boosters do not seem intent on embracing Rodriguez as their guy, both for his lack of winning and his insistence of a spread offense at a school known for playing smash mouth football.

Oh, and Brandon didn't hire him, so it's not as though the Michigan AD would have any sentimental qualms with cutting Rodriguez loose and starting over again.

Furthermore, Harbaugh would seem to make perfect sense as Rodriguez's replacement.

For one, Harbaugh is a Michigan man, a "Golden Boy" who spent three years as the starting quarterback under legendary coach Bo Schembechler while leading the Wolverines to the Fiesta Bowl in 1986 and the Rose Bowl in 1987.

If that weren't enough, Harbaugh has proven himself to be a rather capable head coach, leading Stanford to the first 11-win season in school history in his fourth year in Palo Alto.

Unfortunately for U-M fans, Harbaugh is a tough nut to crack and has yet to show signs that he would jump at the opportunity to restore his alma mater to its former glory.

With that in mind, let's have a look at the top 10 candidates for the Michigan job should Rodriguez get his walking papers and Harbaugh turn down one of the premiere coaching jobs in college football.

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