Conventional wisdom says you don’t fire a coach during the season unless you’ve already picked his successor, right?

Rest assured Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has made calls, several to worthy candidates.

RELATED: Florida fires Will Muschamp

The short list

  • Bob Stoops, Oklahoma — An elite head coach with a winning pedigree, Stoops is a former Florida defensive coordinator under Steve Spurrier. Now in his 16th season at Oklahoma, Stoops and the Sooners are heading to their 16th consecutive bowl game.
  • Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers
  • Todd Graham, Arizona State — Graham had his contract extended at Arizona State through the 2018 season in May, but a chance at joining the coaching ranks in the SEC would be too enticing to pas up. He’s recorded double-digit win totals four times over the last nine years at four different head coaching stops.
  • Art Briles, Baylor — Briles would bring a much-needed switch in offensive philosophy to Gainesville and energize a fan base that’s grown tired of the methodical run-first approach under the outgoing regime.
  • Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
  • Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
  • Rich Rodriguez, Arizona — During his time at West Virginia, Rodriguez developed a recruiting pipeline to the Sunshine State and was the master mind behind one of the nation’s top offenses. He’s continued that offensive success at Arizona after a failed stint at Michigan and would be an ideal get for the Gators.
  • Gary Patterson, TCU

Mississippi State coach and former Florida assistant Dan Mullen has all but dismissed any interest in the possible Florida opening and told Campus Insiders’ Seth Davis that he was already at a destination job. We do know coaches keep their cards close to the vest during searches, however.

James Franklin and Charlie Strong could have success, but neither is likely to leave their current jobs at Penn State and Texas in their infancy.

Steve Spurrier laughed when asked if he would be interested in a return to Gainesville.

What the Gators can’t afford to do is hire another assistant coach. The last two, Ron Zook and Muschamp, have failed.