The UNC coaching rumor mill kicked into high gear today when word got around that AuburnUndercover reported that Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was expected to be the next coach at Carolina, only to later downgrade that to "was the frontrunner" for the job. It was enough for numerous outlets to re-report it, however, and now everybody is working themselves into a lather.
But wait. New athletic director Bubba Cunningham has been on the job for a little more than a week, barely time enough to be acquainted with the twenty-six different teams he's now supervising. I know hiring a new football coach is the top priority at this point, but it's not something an athletic director does alone, and it's not a process you can start before actually taking the job. At best Cunningham walked into his office on the first day with a list of people he'd like to pursue; there have been no interviews, and probably no more than the earliest of feelers as to whether particular prospects might want the job.
So when someone is reported to be nearly a sure hire, and that someone is a big name assistant who will probably be up for quite a few jobs, and that person is the biggest name coaching associated with Cunningham if you do a cursory search of the man's bio, well the odds quickly ratchet up that someone along the line is talking more from conjecture than from fact. Everyone probably needs to calm down and, I don't know, track private planes or something.
For what it's worth, the same blogs repeating the Malzahn rumor also append the same three names to end as fellow candidates – Boise State's Chris Peterson, Houston's Kevin Sumlin, and Southern Mississipi's Larry Fedora. But all three of course would be mentioned for most big-name coaching jobs opening up now; Tar Heel Illustrated has mentioned Petersen before, but most people find that hire rather unlikely.