Fans of the Auburn Tigers are still riding high with the prospect of an unexpected trip back to the national championship game looming as long as head coach Gus Malzahn's team can get past the Missouri Tigers next weekend, so they probably aren't exactly ready to hear that their savior coach could bolt after the season.
But that's exactly what Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel believes could happen after a source told him that "Malzahn has told friends privately that coaching the Longhorns is his dream job."
Thamel goes on to lay out the argument for why Malzahn would want to leave Auburn after only one season as the head coach of the Tigers, citing meddling boosters, head coaches who have had success but not stable careers, and the fact that the job is probably the fifth-best in the conference, though there's certainly a case that Texas A&M is a better job, making it the fourth-best in that division.
Now, Auburn fans want to hear that as much as Alabama fans want to hear that Nick Saban could abandon the Tide after all of his recent success, but that's just because no head coach has ever left for another program, right?
The bigger question is probably on the Texas side of things.
Saban remains the top target until there is compelling reason to believe otherwise, but there's no questioning Malzahn's offensive acumen that has shined over the course of his different stops, from high school football in Arkansas to Arkansas to Tulsa to Auburn to Arkansas State and back.
And Thamel cites his ability to change the culture at Auburn in a single season as a major reason why he deserves a chance like Texas. However, he doesn't have any ties to the state (other than being born in Texas), doesn't have long-term recruiting experience at Auburn, and only has two years of head-coaching experience.
On the plus side, there's that track record of success, his offense is appealing for fans, he's only 48, and maybe this Auburn team has a flair for the dramatic for good reason.
With coaches like Art Briles and David Shaw as likely to turn down Texas as to take the job, Malzahn is at least a strong candidate with a hot name who would be smart to make the move to Austin if the opportunity presents itself.
The biggest question remains, however. Should the Longhorns hire a head coach with such a great affinity for sweater vests and visors? Could be a deal-breaker.