As Virginia Tech fans continue to look back on the storied career of Frank Beamer, Whit Babcock has the unenviable task of looking forward and replacing the legend. The list of potential coaches continues to change in the always volatile college landscape and two new names from the SEC have emerged as possible candidates.
Why he makes sense: It appears Miles' time in Baton Rouge may be coming to an end, yet another college coaching victim of a delusional fan base.
Source: 'Good possibility' that LSU buys out Les Miles' contract https://t.co/iqnA2bRljC
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) November 23, 2015
Miles faced questions from the media on Monday about his job status during his weekly press conference and the LSU athletic department gave no comment, a worse sign than even the dreaded vote of confidence. It seems that even a $15 million buyout will not deter Miles' detractors.
If Miles is indeed let go after the season, he should be the first person Babcock calls. Miles has a 110-32 record at LSU with three division titles, two SEC titles and a national championship in 2007. He has recruited very well as LSU has had a top ten recruiting class as ranked by Rivals.com for the past three years and their 2016 class is currently ranked No. 1.
Hiring Miles would add instant energy and credibility to a program trying to remain nationally relevant. His only crime at LSU is seemingly not being able to beat the nation's best coach in Nick Saban.
Why he doesn't make sense: Miles won't just be at the top of Virginia Tech's wish list - if he leaves LSU he will instantly become the top coaching candidate available. Virginia Tech is not the best job coaching vacancy and will continue to fall on that list as the annual coaching carousel continues. Why would Miles go to Virginia Tech over USC or other SEC programs like South Carolina and possibly Georgia?
Even the biggest Hokie fan can't argue that going from LSU to Virginia Tech would be a step down. For a coach that will be one of if not the best coach on the market, a coach who essentially will have his pick of any job in the country, it's hard to see him choosing to go to Blacksburg. Babcock would really have to open up the check book and I'm not sure they have that kind of money.
You also have to wonder if Miles wants to continue coaching. As young as the "mad hatter" may look on the sideline, he is actually 62 years old. He has been the head coach of the Tigers since 2005 and spurned other job opportunities in the past including his own alma mater, Michigan, to stay in Baton Rouge. Will he really want to start over again somewhere else?
If Miles and LSU part ways, it's not hard to imagine him calling it a career.
Why he makes sense: According to FootballScoop, Mullen is a serious candidate for Virginia Tech's head coaching vacancy. While most SEC schools are considered top tier jobs, Mississippi State is not.
It's really hard to win in Starkville. The Bulldogs have won eight games this season and are in sixth-place in the SEC West, ahead of only the imploding Auburn Tigers. The success Mullen has had in Mississippi State not only reflects how good of a coach he is, it reflects the difficulties of finding sustained success there.
Mullen is in his seventh season at Mississippi State and has won at least eight games in four of those seasons. In 2014, he led the Bulldogs to a 10-2 record, only the second 10-win season in school history. They were ranked No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings last season, they have won eight games this year and still remain a footnote in the SEC conversation.
Star quarterback Dak Prescott is a senior and will be gone after this season. Mullen may decide to leave with him.
It may be an SEC program, but leaving Starkville and the brutal SEC West for Blacksburg and the very winnable ACC Coastal is arguably an upgrade.
Why he doesn't make sense: While Miles looks like he is getting pushed out of Baton Rouge, Mullen is not and is still employed. You can expect athletic director Scott Stricklin to do everything he can to keep Mullen in Starkville.
Mississippi State's roster was built for a big 2014. They were expected to take a step back this year and they have, albeit a small one. If Mullen wanted to leave Starkville, the time to do it was lest year when his stock was at its highest.
The news surrounding the coaching search in Blacksburg is that Babcock wants to get this hire done quickly. Expect Virginia Tech to be one of the first of the growing number of vacancies filled.
MORE VIRGINIA TECH: Tech loses Beamer's final home game in OT to No. 12 UNC