And why not? Seemingly everybody else is.
As is usually the case this time of the year, the name of Boise State head coach Chris Petersen has been tossed around in relation to several big-name openings. In his seventh season in Boise, Petersen has already been connected to one SEC vacancy (Arkansas) this year, and is now being connected to another.
Citing someone familiar with the process, al.com is reporting that Petersen is on “Auburn’s list to be the school’s next football coach [that] is now more than a half-dozen names long.” Of course, being on a school’s wish list doesn’t necessarily equate to a realistic shot at landing the coach, especially as it pertains to Petersen.
Over the past three years, Petersen has seen his name connected to openings at (take a deep breath) Penn State, UCLA, Stanford, Florida, USC and Mississippi State just to name a few. Each and every time, and regardless of whether there were conversations at any level or not, Petersen always ended up right back where all of the rumors all started: as the head coach of the Broncos.
Of course, you never say never when it comes to a head coach and a potential move. However, Petersen’s track record — preferring to remain by far the biggest fish in what will be an improving conference pond (maybe) with the football program’s move from the Mountain West — suggests this is more wishful thinking on the part of AU’s athletic department than it is reality.
Now, if Chip Kelly leaves for the NFL, opening up the Oregon job? Well, let’s just say it would get interesting as it pertains to Petersen.
As far as other potential candidates on Auburn’s to-do list, al.com reports that TCU’s Gary Patterson is a “new name” that has emerged. Patterson has also been mentioned as a potential permanent replacement for Bobby Petrino at Arkansas.
The newspaper’s website also lists Petrino, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and a trio of current head coaches — Arkansas State’s Gus Malzahn, Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher — as being among AU’s targets.
Fisher addressed the speculation yesterday, saying “I’m very happy right here. I’m content to be here, this is where I want to be.”