As it stands right now, the Auburn job is the most high-profile head coaching position in college football open, and rightfully so. You won’t find many programs in the country with more financial and emotional commitment from its fans and boosters. Jordan Hare is one of the best home field advantages in college football, and the school sits in a hotbed for recruiting. Still, there are obvious downsides, namely having to face Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and the rest of the SEC.
For some, like Brian Kelly, that’s exactly what candidates want. To be the best, you have to beat the best. Whoever accepts the Auburn job, they’ll have a tough road ahead of them. There have been some rumored candidates like Dan Lanning of Oregon and Deion Sanders of Jackson State. Both head coaches clarified their commitment to their current school, but as we know, money talks.
I still imagine Lanning and Sanders are long shots for the Tigers. After all, they’d be taking massive leaps in their respective careers. Lanning is a first-time head coach, and despite his experience in the SEC, leading a program in the toughest conference in football is a much different task than being a coordinator on staff. Sanders has shown an impressive ability to recruit and connect to kids, but jumping from an HBCU to an SEC powerhouse is quite the leap.
However, there is one candidate with experience in the conference who has shown an ability to succeed — Lane Kiffin. Interestingly, he hasn’t publically denounced interest in the job while throwing jabs at his program at press conferences. He mentioned losing D.J. Durkin to rival Texas A&M because of money, the lack of support from fans, and more.
Paul Finebaum of SEC Network feels Kiffin has thought about pursuing the job, the analyst said during an appearance on “McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning” on Jox 94.5 in Birmingham on Monday.
“It’s just my observation that Lane Kiffin is thinking about it,” Finebaum said Monday. “The subject came up in one circumstance that I was in. He just kind of nodded his head and shook his head as Lane likes to do. He’s been very careful not to say anything about it. I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s on his mind.”
This is nothing more than a hunch from Finebaum, but he’s absolutely right. Coaches usually denounce any interest in other opportunities almost immediately if they aren’t actually thinking of the job. Kiffin hasn’t done that. If the Ole Miss head coach believes he’d receive more resources at Auburn, I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a move inside the SEC West.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire