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Kragthorpe to SMU rumors persist

Again, just throwing this out there, and then slowly backing away.

Sources in Dallas confirm Louisville Head Coach Steve Kragthorpe is very likely the choice to replace the deposed Phil Bennett at SMU.

It is unlikely SMU Athletic Director Steve Orsini has actually offered the position to Kragthorpe - or that the two have even spoken about the position - since Louisville has one more regular season game on its schedule.  It's more likely the two sides are negotiating the parameters of a would-be deal through intermediaries, while also feeling out other options.

Steve Kragthorpe and SMU could be a marriage of convenience.  For SMU, the Mustangs get a proven, championship coach (2005 C-USA Championship at Tulsa) with deep ties to the state of Texas (played at West Texas, assistant coach at Texas A&M) which should help significantly in recruiting.  The potential hiring would also give Orsini the "splash" hire he's known to covet.

For Kragthorpe, SMU would be a way out of a very difficult situation at Louisville.  The Coach apparently feels he will never be able to win back his fan base (see Ron Zook at Florida) and with Brian Brohm, Harry Douglas and several other seniors not returning, next year could be worse than 2007 (currently at 5-6).  It would also be a chance for him to resurrect a program that hasn't been to a bowl since 1984.  The thinking is, if Kragthorpe can lead the Mustangs to a bowl in a couple of years, he can have his pick of jobs when the time is right to move again.

The difficult thing for Kragthorpe to overcome could be his very close personal relationship with his current boss, Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich.  If Coach Krag can get the blessing of his old friend, he may just jump on the first Pony heading west.

While there are several other names floating around Dallas, such as Terry Bowden, Houston Nutt, Paul Johnson and Dennis Franchione - and even Chan Gailey, the smart money is on Kragthorpe.  In the end, Orsini may deicide to move in a different direction - or Kragthorpe may decide the move just isn't right for him and his family, but right now it appears SMU and Steve Kragthorpe are moving closer toward a marriage of convenience.