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Who will succeed Mack Brown as Longhorns head coach?

Brody Schmidt / Associated Press
Mike Gundy has been head coach at Oklahoma State since 2005, guiding the Cowboys to a 77-37 record.

Mack Brown will not be coaching Texas next season.

Neither will Alabama head coach Nick Saban, not after signing a lucrative new contract extension and publicly declaring that he "never considered" the Longhorns.

Nor will San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who publicly scoffed at reports he could be a target for Texas.

With that in mind, here are some potential candidates that are likely to be targeted as Brown's successor (in no particular order):

» Jimbo Fisher, Florida State head coach: After replacing Bobby Bowden and rebuilding the Seminoles into national championship contenders, Fisher understands the challenges and expectations that would come with following Brown.

» Art Briles, Baylor head coach: The Longhorns need a bona-fide quarterback guru to get the offense back on track, and it is hard to argue with Briles' track record in developing the likes of Kevin Kolb, Case Keenum, Robert Griffin III and now Bryce Petty. Add in his understanding of and connections to Texas high school football, it's easy to see why he is Barry Switzer's pick to turn the Longhorns into the "next Alabama."

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» Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State head coach: Gundy knows the Big 12 and has built the Cowboys into an upper-echelon program despite a revolving door of offensive coordinators. But his 1-8 record against Oklahoma could prove problematic if Texas wants to win the press conference.

» Todd Graham, Arizona State head coach: Laugh at his job-hopping all you want, but Graham has delivered four 10-win campaigns in eight seasons across four FBS stops. He is an excellent defensive coach with strong ties to the state of Texas. As the Sun Devils' former athletic director, new Longhorns AD Steve Patterson is familiar with Graham's work in the Valley of the Sun.

» James Franklin, Vanderbilt head coach: His presence would pop on the Longhorn Network, and Franklin's successful track record with quarterbacks bodes well for getting those touted Texas recruits to turn into the next Vince Young or Colt McCoy. After engineering an immediate turnaround for the Commodores, it isn’t a stretch to think he could produce greatness with the caliber of athletes available through Texas' vast recruiting base.

» Jim Mora, UCLA head coach: In two seasons with the Bruins, Mora has shown an ability to deploy previously underachieving talent in the right positions, including the decision to move Anthony Barr to outside linebacker. With his engaging personality and infectious enthusiasm, Mora would excel in handling the social aspects of being the Texas coach (recruiting, dealing with boosters and media).

» David Shaw, Stanford head coach: Since Texas can't get Saban, Shaw's similar approach of dominating the lines of scrimmage with a punishing run game and bruising defense would be the next best thing. Shaw has had success recruiting in the Lone Star state, bringing wide receiver Ty Montgomery, offensive tackle Cameron Fleming and some guy named Andrew Luck to the Farm.

» Jon Gruden, TV analyst: If there's a vacancy anywhere in football, Gruden must be linked to it, right?

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.


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