Who's next at Florida

Updated: November 4, 2004, 11:33 PM ET
ESPN.com

With Steve Spurrier withdrawing from consideration for the Florida job, who's next in line? Knowing that Florida will be looking for a proven head coach, here's a few names to consider.

Urban Meyer, Utah head coach: It's impossible to ignore Meyer as a leading candidate when Florida president, Dr. Bernie Machen, says, well, that you can't ignore Meyer. But as much as the relationship might help, the fact Meyer has Utah thisclose to breaking into a BCS bowl is what stands out for Meyer.

The catch? Would AD Jeremy Foley want to risk a coach making a step up again knowing if this hire doesn't work, the coach may not be the only one to go.

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa head coach: Florida noticed Ferentz on New Year's Day when his Hawkeyes completely dominated the Gators in the Outback Bowl. Florida officials were blown away with how the overmatched -- let's face it, Florida had better talent -- Hawkeyes whipped the Gators. Iowa's discipline, not only on the field, but in all things associated with the game from crisp play to sideline demeanor turned heads. Don't be surprised if Florida makes a big play for Ferentz.

The catch? Ferentz is so highly-regarded in the coaching community, it's entirely possible the NFL could come calling as well.

Jeff Tedford, Cal head coach: Arguably the hottest coach in the country right now, Tedford would be the kind of name to get the Gator Nation drooling. He's turned dormant Cal into a Rose Bowl contender and it's scary to think of what he could do with Chris Leak and the offensive weapons at Florida. He has a very reasonable buyout and with the struggles to upgrade facilities at Cal, he might listen to other offers.

The catch? Tedford has never been one just to go where the money is so who knows what it will take. If Cal gets its act in order on facilities upgrades, maybe that's enough to keep him in Berkeley.

Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia head coach: Rodriguez has turned West Virginia into a national player and the Mountaineers are the big fish in a small Big East pond. Even with up-and-coming Louisville arriving next year, WVU will be the favorite to win the conference and head to the BCS.

The catch? Does Rodriguez give up the security of challenging for the BCS every year for the weekly SEC battles.

Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay Bucs head coach: Maybe it's a bit of a longshot here, but Gruden's name has been mentioned in the college game before (see: Notre Dame). He lives in Florida and you have to think he's not having a real good time in Tampa Bay. Besides, you could argue he might have better players if he went to Gainesville.

The catch? Some guys are just NFL coaches. Gruden has a Super Bowl ring and not sure recruiting and BCS headaches would appeal to him.

Butch Davis, Cleveland Browns head coach: Davis knows a thing or two about winning in the state of Florida. While with the Miami Hurricanes from 1995-2000, Davis was 51-20 (.718) and recruited the players who won the 2001 national championship.

The catch? Would the Gators hire a former Hurricane? And there's no guarantee saying Davis would leave (that is, if he's not fired).