Immediately upon Butch Davis's firing, thoughts turned to who UNC was going to find to replace him. It won't be an easy task. Even assuming the Heels won't have to payout Davis's contract – there's a fired for cause exemption, of course – the state just slashed $100 million from UNC's budget, making the optics of a big hire problematic. There's also the fact that Ohio State is looking for a coach at the same time, bidding everybody up. That being said, the lists will be made, and CBS has two, both really bad.
Let's start with the completely ludicrous. First up, Mike Leach, fired from Texas Tech for abusing the son of an ESPN analyst, and currently suing his former employer. Putting aside the fact that Craig James is a horrible person, there's no way UNC is going to jump to another controversial coach. (Although the comments last night lit up at the thought of Leach coming on. I'll be reading a lot more about him in the next day or two, and may revise that opinion. First thought, however, is no way.)
The same goes for Jim Tressel, although even the article rules him out and assumes fans will clamor for him. They won't. While we're on the unreasonable list, I agree Urban Meyer wouldn't decide to restart at UNC in a million years. Also completely absurd is Rich Rodriguez, a man who the mere act of me typing his name just raised the blood pressure of the new Carolina March Fiancée (she's a West Virginia fan). Rodriguez is also being investigated by the NCAA for violations at WVU and Michigan, so... no.
Now just the people who will say no. The Bowden brothers? Not only would UNC fans not want them, but I don't think they'd want to cash at Carolina. Neither strike me as the type willing to rebuild after academic scandal or coexist with a popular basketball team. Bill Cowher? As much as I'd absolutely love for Cowher to come to UNC after State spent years doing their own version of Waiting for Godot with him, it's just not going to happen. Carolina is not the type of job that would pull him out of broadcast retirement.
(I am going to take a moment to imagine the State fans' reaction to that hire though. First smile I've had all day.)
And Bud Foster? We did that, ten years ago. Foster got a raise, and Carolina got embarrassed. That won't happen again.
The only two reasonable suggestions on CBS's lists are Dan Mullen and Gus Malzahn. Even Mullen leaving Mississippi State and the SEC for Chapel Hill is a longshot, unless he thinks he'll be fired anyway. Malzahn will be on everybody's short list, but I don't know enough about the man to make a good judgment myself just yet. Stayed tuned in the next week to see what kind of reasonable list we can build up.