After reading Blutarsky's outstanding headline regarding the Ole Miss search, I did a little early morning reading about candidates for the job.
It's not that Ole Miss has never made a good hire. It's just they can't get out of their own way.
David Cutcliffe was a well tenured offensive coordinator for Tennessee going into the National Title game in 1998 with ties to the Manning family. It was a logical hire that worked until Cutcliffe's recruiting fell apart. Tommy Tuberville was a tenured Defensive Coordinator for Miami with 3 national title rings, and he was a DC at Texas A&M when they went 10-0-1 in 1994. The hire worked for them until a better offer came along.
Ed Orgeron had a national title ring, but he had never even been a coordinator...and he had a checkered past. Houston Nutt was being run out of his last job on a rail. And the other 5 coaches following Vaught's retirement were just bad.
Who will they hire? Athlon has a very comprehensive list which includes everyone except Terry Bowden (Pictured above). My only issue with the Athlon list is that it lists Mike Leech as a riskier hire than coaches at Southern Miss and Florida International.
If I were running their search, my top 3 candidates would be Leach, Malzahn and Rodriguez. Malzahn's resume is closest to their prior successes...a proven coordinator with a national title. Rodriguez was a horrific fit at Michigan, but winning at West Virginia without an in state recruiting base is a major accomplishment. Leach put forth a consistent winner despite major recruiting, facility and logistical drawbacks.
Would Leach help Ole Miss pass Bama and LSU in the West? No. But there's no coach in America who could do that and not leave them for a bigger job. Leach could build a program that would consistently beat MSU, Texas A&M, the non-conference tomato cans OM schedules, Vandy, Kentucky and Missouri. He could also put them on equal footing with South Carolina and Arkansas. That's enough to build a consistent 8 win program which Ole Miss hasn't been since desegregation.
Having said all of that...my real hope is they hire Terry Bowden. The comedic potential is better.