The Baylor Bears are about to wrap up their season in the Fiesta Bowl and an interview with the Texas Longhorns could be next on the to-do list of head coach Art Briles, according to a report from the Austin American-Statesman.
While such a meeting has not yet taken place with Briles focused on the first BCS appearance in school history for Baylor, a source told the Statesman that he would be willing to talk. Two other sources indicated that Briles would take the job if offered.
The perception from the Baylor side has been that Briles would turn down the Texas job, a feeling enforced by the contract extension that Briles signed in the middle of November that includes a significant buyout.
Under the new deal, Briles will make over $4 million per season and has a buyout that may be be higher than $4 million, though a high buyout is not expected to make a difference for the resource-rich Texas program that was once again named the wealthiest in college football.
In addition to the new contract, the opening of Baylor's new stadium in 2014 has also been seen as a possible reason for Briles to turn down the Texas job and stay in Waco. And there's also the fact that Bears have won some recruiting battles against the Longhorns and are probably in a better position to win in the short term.
But people speculating about turning down a job the caliber of Texas on the outside and Briles actually turning down an offer on the table are two completely different things. The Statesman report is the first to indicate a high level of interest on the part of Briles, who has turned around the Baylor program -- the 25 games won over the last three years are the most in any three-year period in school history and the three straight bowl game appearances also a school record.
The Statesman also confirmed the report from Orangebloods that athletic director Steve Patterson interviewed Louisville head coach Charlie Strong.
Would Texas offer the job to either Strong or Briles before the national championship game next Monday, after which Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher would become available for an interview?
The next few days will tell.