In college football, Thanksgiving week basically means three things: rivalry weeks, such as Auburn-Alabama in the “Iron Bowl” and Ohio State-Michigan in The Game, and Washington-Washington State in the “Apple Cup” and Oregon-Oregon State in the old “Civil War”; It means the start of the football championship preliminary qualifiers; It also brings heuristic searches in many cases to or near their conclusions.
That’s where things now stand at Auburn University, which fired the ill-fated Brian Harsin mid-season and worked to secure its next head coach in the Tigers’ ongoing and enduring battle to escape Alabama’s elephant-sized shadow.
At the top of Auburn’s roster was and still is Lane Kiffin, an Ole Miss coach who won a national title as Alabama’s offensive coordinator and in a short time turned around the Rebels program and accepted the Florida Atlantic University program.
Also, Kiffin can recruit, and has proven to be ‘The Portal King’ with a competitive 8-3 roster backed by double-digit NCAA Transfer Portal additions between the 2021-22 seasons, Kiffin clearly knows the ins and outs of the Alabama program from his time as offensive caller Nick Saban.
Multiple sources continue to tell FootballScoop that Kiffin is the main target; But Auburn knows that until an agreement is reached, anything can happen. It’s also important to note that despite receiving contract extensions and hikes each of the past few years after solid seasons at the top of the Ole Miss program, Kiffin is able to make it out of Oxford, Mississippi, for a relatively small fee in the world of college football.
As noted on the FootballScoop podcast that updates this research and others, Auburn’s game plan appears to be “Kevin, he’s obviously their first choice…and I’m not sure who No. 2 is. But there’s a huge gap.”
Hugh Freese appears to be the #2 candidate behind Kevin, and while he and Auburn freshman John Cohen never worked together, they shared a lot of time together at Magnolia State when Cohen was at Mississippi in the Bulldogs athletics department. Freeze was the head coach of Ole Miss, and some believe that the shared history hindered Freeze’s candidacy, at least from his viewpoint at the top of Auburn’s roster. But we hear he’s considered a viable candidate in the event a Linn train doesn’t make it to town.
Auburn has, and continues to do, diligence regarding other candidates including background work on other head coaches currently in the top ten.
Sources told Matt Rule was in the discussion. Although the signs do not currently point in this direction in this research.
It should also be noted that Cadillac Williams did everything Auburn wanted in the role. He rallied the players and the fans. We’ve discussed on several podcasts that if Harsin is fired, Auburn can be expected to move Cadillac into the role for exactly this reason. He has served Auburn University well and it is expected that he will be offered an important role moving forward. Auburn would like to pair Kiffin with Cadillac if possible, if Kiffin doesn’t happen, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
As explained above and in more depth in the podcast below, until the ink is dry, anything is possible. Enjoy the iron pot and then get ready for the real fun.
Here’s FootballScoop’s “Coaching Hunt Update” podcast, with the latest info on college football’s biggest openings:
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