Texas Football Coaching Hot Board: Top 9 Replacements For Charlie Strong

Updated 12/29/2015 at 7:40 pm EST

The seat of Charlie Strong cooled off when the Texas Longhorns upset the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas State Wildcats, but Strong has put himself right back on the hot seat with losses in three of the team's last four games. The Longhorns are now 4-7 after a loss to Texas Tech and they're unlikely to be bowling this season, even if they miraculously take down #12 Baylor on Saturday.

Games against Notre Dame, Iowa State, TCU and WVU featured an offense that resembled a dumpster fire. Losses to California, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Texas Tech featured awful defensive efforts (which was supposed to be Strong's strength), along with plenty of physical and mental mistakes.

Strong's 10-14 record at Texas will likely become even worse, since Texas won't beat Baylor in the season finale. That will give the Longhorns a 4-8 record, something that should never, ever happen at Texas. 

The athletic director that hired Strong is already gone, and whomever Texas hires as AD could look to bring in a coach of his own choosing. 

Making matters worse for Strong is that alumni and boosters are already getting fed up. Here's what our Texas source had to say. 

"These losses are on the current coaching staff and I will not sign off on my million donation for this product," a prominent alum told our source. "One reason and one reason only. These kids deserve to be better coached than that." 

The decision to take away play-calling duties from Shawn Watson (Strong's OC at Louisville) and hand them to Jay Norvell reeked of desperation. The offense has been better, but the end result has not changed. If Strong doesn't start producing this season, he might not get a third year at the helm.

If Strong is fired, the list of potential candidates will be as long as the Red River. After all, Texas is one of the best jobs in the country. Here are 9 candidates that will likely be among the first to receive a phone call if Strong is dismissed. 

NOTE: This article originally had Art Briles as a candidate. Given that he's been fired by Baylor, that is no longer an option and Briles has been removed. 

9. PJ Fleck, head coach, Western Michigan

Fleck is one of the rising stars in the coaching world, taking the Broncos from a 1-11 team in 2013, his first year on the job, to 8-5 last year. They're bowling again this year. At just 34 years old, he could bring a young energy to an Texas program that's looking for a spark.

8. Mack Brown, former Texas HC 

This one isn't as outlandish as it may seem. Brown is still beloved by many at Texas and wants to coach again. He could take over as head coach for a few seasons while grooming his replacement. It would be a bit like going back to the ex-girlfriend, but that works sometimes. 

7. Jim Mora, head coach, UCLA

Texas offered Mora the job before it went to Strong, but Mora turned it down. If Strong is fired, Texas could try to lure Mora away from UCLA again. 

6. Todd Graham, head coach, Arizona State 

Graham has been a job-jumper in the past (he went from Tulsa-Pittsburgh-Arizona State in three years), but Texas could keep him in one place for a long time. Graham just received a raise from ASU, but Texas has the funds to make the raise seem like pocket change. 

5. Dabo Swinney, head coach, Clemson 

Swinney has been at Clemson since 2003, but the allure of Texas is hard to ignore for any coach. Swinney has done a great job with Clemson and could do even better with Texas' resources. 

NOW READ: Why Texas Needs To End The Charlie Strong Era

4. Jon Gruden, ESPN Analyst 

Gruden's name pops up every time a major college head coaching job becomes available. If Strong is fired, expect that to be the case again this season. Gruden was rumored to have interest in the job last time and that will likely be the case again. Gruden's college coaching experience is limited, but he's good enough to win anywhere. 

3. Hugh Freeze, head coach, Ole Miss 

Freeze has come along way from being "the coach from The Blind Side." He's a rising star and has Ole Miss in contention for a SEC West title. If Texas were to come calling, Freeze could have a tough time turning the Longhorns down. 

2. Chip Kelly, head coach, Eagles 

Chip Kelly was fired by the Eagles Tuesday, and he'll immediately be one of the hottest coaching targets. Several college teams likely already regret making their hires now that Kelly is on the market. If Texas ends up firing Strong this season (or next), they'll likely make a run at Kelly. 

1. Nick Saban, head coach, Alabama 

Saban was Texas' top target the last time the job was open, but Saban ultimately decided to stay at Alabama. However, there are already reports Saban isn't happy in Tuscaloosa. Texas came close to snagging Saban last time. If the job opens up, they'll go hard at Saban again and this time, they might just get him. 

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Related Topics: College Football, Texas Longhorns Rumors, NCAA Football, Mack Brown, Hugh Freeze, Art Briles, Nick Saban, Chip Kelly, Dabo Swinney, Jim Mora, Todd Graham, Tom Herman, Jon Gruden, Charlie Strong