It's that time of the year -- every December, as the holiday season picks up and teams prepare for bowl games, like clockwork the name of Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden starts getting thrown around for college jobs.
For a period in college football often known as the silly season, few names connected to whatever job is open seem more silly than Gruden's, a guy who has perhaps the best color job in all of professional sports and hasn't coached in college since he was at the University of Pittsburgh in 1991.
Yet, there were the reports on Wednesday morning from Orangebloods that Gruden is interested in speaking with Texas about the head coaching job now vacant after the resignation of longtime head coach Mack Brown.
Okay then, but such reports often come with an agenda behind them from whatever source is being used, making them rather easy to ignore.
Making it all a little more credible is the fact that the SST Radio show in the Florida panhandle was able to confirm the interest through a source in the Tampa area (full disclosure: I've been a weekly guest on Scott McKinney's show for well over a year now).
The key in all of this, assuming that Gruden is somehow more interested in this particular job than he was in all the other jobs he name was floated with?
New athletic director Steve Patterson was adamant during Sunday's press conference addressing Brown's resignation that the differences between the NFL and college games will eliminate most NFL candidates.
"I think in college football, college ball is a different enterprise than the NFL," Patterson said. "There are far different requirements with a college coach. Certainly, you don't have the same story of interaction with high school coaches and students and academics and mentoring and donor relations and all of those kinds of demands that go into college coaching that you have at the pro level. I think whoever is going to coach here has got to have some extensive experience in the college game."
If Gruden is truly interested in the job, a monumental if given the recent history of Gruden's name being connected to college openings, Texas would be wise to give him a call, but this all seems rather silly until proven otherwise.
About the only other movement in the still-nascent search has been some denials from college coaches asked about the opening. Non-denial denials, mostly.
Like this one from Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher:
"I'm going to talk about our team, that's all I'm going to talk about. I ain't getting into all the rumors. It's unfair to those teams and our team. We're planning here, getting ready for a game, that's where I plan on being, right here getting ready for a game. That's my soul focus and that is it."
Or this one from UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora, Jr.:
"I love being a UCLA Bruin. My plan is to stay here and hopefully retired one day ... It's like Jim Harbaugh said, 'For me to be even thinking about any other job is absurd,' and that's the same for me. I only think about the job that I've got. I'm staying at UCLA. I love UCLA. Why would I ever want to leave UCLA? I've tried to learn to never say never because you don't know where life is going to take you, but I would love the opportunity to stay at UCLA for the rest of my career."
Or this one from San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh:
"Are you trying to be funny? I don't ever talk about any job other than the one I have."
Sense a developing trend? The coaches aren't denying that they have interest or that they would interview with Texas, merely emphasizing their focus on the job that they have.
Maybe they learned from the backlash from the emphatic denials that coaches like Nick Saban made before he left the Miami Dolphins for his current position with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
In any case, there's really virtually nothing of substance happening publicly as Patterson does his preliminary research.
When does the fun part start?