Bovada has released its first odds on the most likely replacements for Mack Brown at Texas, and Louisville's own Charlie Strong is the 2/1 favorite. It's a relatively surprising choice given the lack of legitimate chatter surrounding Strong over the last couple of weeks, but it's also news that should surprise no U of L fan who has experienced the last couple of winters.
Anyway, here are the odds:
Charlie Strong 2/1
Art Briles 9/2
James Franklin 5/1
Mike Gundy 7/1
Bill O'Brien 15/2
Chip Kelly 10/1
David Shaw 10/1
Jim Mora 10/1
Jimbo Fisher 15/1
Jim Harbaugh 20/1
Mike Tomlin 20/1
Strong was asked about the Texas job on Tuesday, and his response sounded similar to what we've heard for what feels like the past 10-15 Decembers.
"I don't even think about it," Strong said. "I don't even worry about it. I have a good job here. I have a really good job here. There's a lot of work to be done here. The only thing I can control is what's happening right here."
"I just want to make sure that I don't allow that to take away from our bowl preparation, that I don't allow it to hinder anything that I'm trying to do for this university," he said. "I don't even get caught up in it. I make sure we work here. We go to practice. That everything's getting done here and we're all on track."
Strong also said the chatter about him was a "tribute" to his staff and players for what they've accomplished. The Cards are 22-3 over the past two seasons, including a Sugar Bowl win over Florida.
"Four years ago I didn't have a job," Strong said. "Now that I have a job I get all the talk. Nobody wanted me. It's what you get everywhere."
I've said it before and I'll say it again: This seems like such a bad fit that I just can't see it happening. It's Texas, and I don't think any of us could blame Charlie for leaving (or at least thinking about leaving), but I just don't think it will ever come to fruition.
I was terrified last year when Tennessee came calling, I'd be terrified right now if Charlie was the odds-on favorite to land the Florida job, but for a number of reasons, I just can't see him at Texas.
There's also this: Charlie has big-time money at Louisville and he's going to a big-time conference with Louisville. National college football folks will roll their eyes at us claiming this as a major factor, but there's no question that it is. U of L was the first program that took a chance on Strong, but staying is no longer just about loyalty. Louisville has become a place where Charlie can do all the things he ever dreamed about as a college football coach. That matters.