Once Auburn made the move to fire Gus Malzahn, the number of possible names to replace him on The Plains poured in, and it was a who’s who of notable names from Power 5 schools, and others with NFL ties as former head coaches.

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, John Talty of AL.com and Brandon Marcello of 247Sports each mentioned Oregon’s Mario Cristobal, a former Alabama assistant, along with Liberty’s Hugh Freeze, who is familiar with the SEC West from his time at Ole Miss, and Louisiana’s Billy Napier. Freeze and Napier were also mentioned prominently for the South Carolina opening, including Napier reportedly being interviewed, before the Gamecocks hired Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer.

Before Oregon, Cristobal spent four seasons (2013-16) at Alabama as the assistant head coach, offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator under coach Nick Saban, as he was on the staff when the Crimson Tide went to the to the CFP National Championship in 2015, as well as a runner-up finish the next season.

Other names include both Clemson coordinators, Louisville coach Scott Satterfield, also briefly connected as a possible candidate South Carolina, former Houston Texans and Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, former Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.