Matt Rhule has left Baylor, accepting a huge contract offer to become the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers. That leaves the Bears without a head coach. Here's a look at five replacement candidates for Rhule at Baylor.
Joey McGuire, Baylor (associate head coach)
McGuire is the current associate head coach and defensive ends coach at Baylor. He is likely the odds-on favorite to land the job given his connection to the school. He's been at Baylor for three seasons now, spending the first two as the team's tight ends coach.
McGuire arrived at Baylor after a legendary coaching career at Cedar Hill High School in Texas. During his tenure, McGuire led Cedar Hill to a 141-42 record, won three state titles, and took home seven district championships.
He'd be an extremely popular choice among the players and Texas high school coaches.
Josh Heupel, UCF
Heupel hit the ground running at Central Florida and hasn't looked back. The 41-year-old former Oklahoma quarterback has compiled a 22-4 record during his two seasons at UCF, including a 12-1 mark and a Fiesta Bowl berth during the 2018 season. He's definitely on a lot of short lists given his major conference pedigree and the success he's had in Orlando.
Heupel spent eight seasons as an assistant at Oklahoma, including four years as the co-offensive coordinator, and two years as Missouri's offensive coordinator before landing at UCF. He knows the Big 12 and major-conference football inside and out, he's just waiting for the opportunity to jump.
It's also worth nothing that current Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades was at Missouri when Heupel was.
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati
Fickell has been an incredible success story at Cincinnati and is set to get a ton of looks from Power 5 teams. After taking over a down program, he struggled in his first season, and the Bearcats went 4-8 in 2017. Fickell has turned things around big time, though; Cincinnati has back-to-back 11-win seasons, going 22-5 over the past two campaigns.
Fickell has a serious commitment to defense, which would be a welcome change in the Big 12. He's also a fantastic recruiter. If the 46-year-old could land a big-time offensive coordinator, he could fit in really well.
Bryan Harsin, Boise State
Harsin has done a fantastic job upholding the commitment to excellence at his alma mater after Chris Petersen left. Boise State has thrived under its 43-year-old head coach, going 64-17 in his six years, winning six division titles and three conference titles. Oh, and they've won 10 games or more five times, including a 12-2 record this year.
Harsin coached under Mack Brown at Texas as co-offensive coordinator from 2011 through the 2012 season, so he has some Big 12 experience. He's also in that category of guys who are ready to take the next step in their careers after proving themselves outside of major conference football.
Blake Anderson, Arkansas State
A former Baylor quarterback and wide receiver, Anderson has done some really good things at Arkansas State in his six years as the head coach. The Red Wolves have gone 47-30 under his watch and 36-12 in conference. He's led the team to bowl games in each of his seasons in charge as well as earning two conference titles.
Anderson has Texas ties as a former Baylor player who grew up in Hubbard, Texas. He's done a solid job at a place not known for turning out great football teams. With the money and resources available at Baylor, he could turn the results up to the next level.