Who Are Auburn's Top Candidates for Head Coach?

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By Jessica Gertler

Names are already being thrown around about who could lead the Auburn Tigers football team now that Gene Chizik has been fired.

Now that Gene Chizik is officially out, Auburn's hunt for a head coach has begun. And with Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky also looking for a head coach, we're hearing the Tiger Nation will try to secure a candidate by the end of the week.

Just Hours after Auburn fell to Alabama 49 to 0 on Saturday, the Tiger's head football coach Gene Chizik was fired.

"We are in a better position now than we have ever been to hire someone," says Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs.

But who is Auburn considering as their next coach?

We asked CBS 8 Sports Analyst John Longshore to list the top three candidates and what each one would bring to the table.

First up is Bobby Petrino, who was ousted as Arkansas' head coach last spring after an affair with a staff member.

"in his four years at Arkansas, his average ranking for his recruiting class was 31 in a state that he had no competition. There is no SEC institution in Arkansas," says Longshore. "And then you look at head-to-head competition. Saban has owned Petrino in three of the four games they have played."

Next on the list: Gus Malzahn, who is Arkansas State's Head Coach.

"Here's a guy that obviously had Auburn's offense just rolling and clicking. He had to scale it back due to Gene Chizik wanting him to slow it down and help Auburn's defense," Longshore says.

"I believe that his coaching skills were a little bit better to me. Caring more about the players," says Daryl Williams, an Auburn fan who would like to see Malzahn as head coach.

And coming in at number three is Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher.

"Maybe his star has dimmed somewhat because of the loss to Florida last week," Longshore says. "He lost a game earlier this year to NC State when they had a lead and had no reason at all to lose that game."

At the end of the day, Longshore says he's not floored with Auburn's candidates.

"I think Auburn can do better. I think they need to go on a national search, and go after these big time head coaches and put the money out there," Longshore says.

He says he's also heard Auburn is looking at Alabama's Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart.

But Longshore says if he could choose, he would hire Vanderbilt's head coach James Franklin.

So who do you think Auburn should hire? Leave your comments, or vote in our poll, that you'll find on the home page.



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