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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Would Muschamp really leave Texas for Tennessee job?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

The fallout from Lane Kiffin's abrupt departure from Tennessee for USC is already shooting through the Big 12.

Texas head coach designate Will Muschamp has emerged as the leading candidate for the vacancy at Tennessee, according to various sources across the South.

It might appear far-fetched that Muschamp would leave the Forty Acres for a shot at the Tennessee job, but there are other forces in play that make it seem like it could happen.

For all of the promise of replacing Mack Brown someday in the future, the shot at the Tennessee job might appeal to Muschamp.

First, by any measure, the Tennessee job is a good one. I would include it among the top 12 to 15 jobs in college football when fan support, facilities, conference affiliation and tradition are factored into the equation.

I'd say Texas is among the top three by that measurement. But Muschamp might have to wait several years until Brown retires for that job. The Tennessee job is available now.

Also, Muschamp knows the lay of the land in the Southeastern Conference after playing at Georgia and serving as an assistant at LSU and Auburn. He knows that Urban Meyer's uncertain status at Florida and Georgia's recent downturn make the SEC East winnable on a consistent basis for the Volunteers with the right coach.

Whether he leaves Austin will be determined in the next several days. I would be shocked if  Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton doesn't try to talk to Muschamp about the job.

Hamilton needs to hit a home run in filling Kiffin's vacancy.

And Muschamp would provide the big splash the Volunteers so desperately need.