As we head into “rivalry week” in College Football, Auburn athletic director John Cohen is believed to be in the final stages of naming Auburn Football’s next head coach.
Rumors have run fierce since the dismissal of Bryan Harsin on Oct. 31, but now it seems as if there are three serious candidates remaining in the pursuit of the vacant position.
ESPN insiders Chris Low and Adam Rittenberg recently shared their insight into every vacant head coaching position within College Football, as well as several jobs that could open within the next several days.
Auburn was the first opening that was discussed in the article. Both agreed that there are two genuine candidates for the job, Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin as the front runner, with Liberty’s Hugh Freeze being seen as an equivalent.
Both Kiffin and Freeze are riding two-game losing streaks currently, but Low and Rittenberg say that two weeks are not going to trump what each has done in their coaching careers.
Ultimately, the past few weeks aren’t going to outweigh otherwise stellar bodies of work by Kiffin and Freeze. Most college football insiders feel the ball is in Kiffin’s court. One of the big factors is name, image and likeness, according to sources, as Auburn has built up its NIL program to an elite level and will be better positioned to add talent, both through high school recruiting and the portal, and also be better equipped to hold onto talented players and keep them from entering the portal. Ole Miss can pay Kiffin what he wants, so salary won’t be a dealbreaker. But the Rebels figure to have a difficult time keeping up with Auburn in the NIL game.
Low and Rittenberg believe that if Kiffin does not take the job, Auburn would be just as confident in Freeze’s ability to lead the program. The insiders cite Freeze’s ability to develop quarterbacks, recruit successfully in SEC territory, and lead offenses to high rankings every season.