With Mack Brown rumored to be preparing to retire after a long and successful tenure as the head coach at Texas, the rumor mill has been buzzing with Nick Saban leaving Alabama for the Longhorns. However, two intriguing possibilities make up the wish list after Saban, according to Bobby Burton of Horns247: San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher.
Saban has been bandied about for months with possible connections to Texas because Saban’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, confirmed that, “UT is the only job Nick would possibly consider leaving Alabama for, and that his success there created special pressure for him.”
This is old news, and we have yet to hear anything of substance to suggest that Texas would be able to get Saban out of Tuscaloosa, where he has the No. 1 recruiting class coming in next year. What we’ve heard from Saban is that he is “totally committed” to Alabama, he’s “too d–n old to start over somewhere else”, and his wife Terry even told The Wall Street Journal, “We’re staying. We’re not going anywhere.”
Harbaugh has college experience at San Diego and Stanford, where he helped build that program into a national power, so he would undoubtedly have success at Texas, where he recruited Andrew Luck. However, he turned down an opportunity to coach at his alma mater Michigan to coach in the NFL, and I believe a raise and extension is more likely from San Francisco than Harbaugh going back to college.
Fisher may be No. 3 on the wish list, but he’s No. 1 on the list of those most likely to accept an offer from Texas. Despite agreeing to a five-year deal that will pay him $4.1 million annually on Saturday, that money would pale in comparison to what would come his way from Texas. Burton reported on Horns247.com that if Texas “comes strong,” then Fisher will go.
Now what does “come strong” mean? His new agreement with Florida State makes him one of the top-10 highest-paid coaches in the country, so Texas undoubtedly would have to make him a top-five, if not top-three paid coach. To leave a national championship contender — if not the winner — he’ll have to get at least (if not more than) the $5.4 million that Brown received.
If Fisher is the guy, I highly doubt there is any circumstance where he is hired before the national title game in January. So, the longer this situation plays out in Austin, the more likely Fisher-to-Austin appears.
Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.