Southern Miss and head coach Jay Hopson parted ways so quickly, it’s hard to believe the school didn’t have its sights set on a new coach eager to be the next Eagle coach.

We’ll know soon enough if that’s the case but the way Paul Finebaum reacted to the news, the ESPN and SEC Network host believes one of the first coaches mentioned as a potential candidate at Southern Miss makes a ton of sense.

Here is what the ESPN host had to say when asked about Southern Miss moving on from Hopson after just one game this season during his most recent appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio show “The Roundtable.”

“Even more interesting than Hopson is the already rampant speculation about who will take his place – with Hugh Freeze being at the top of the list, who happens to be a USM graduate,” Finebaum said on the show.

If you missed the news from Liberty, where Freeze currently serves as head coach, Jerry Falwell Jr. recently left his post as the school’s president.

The way Finebaum sees it, that could make Freeze’s decision that much easier to leave the school.

“I don’t know what the succession plans are at Liberty after Jerry Falwell Jr., but clearly Falwell was the person that brought him there. So it could be a factor,” Finebaum continued. “Hugh has wanted to be back in the South at any cost. We all heard the stories, and they were true, that Nick Saban was ready to hire him as the offensive coordinator.

“I think at Southern Miss he’s at least back on the radar screen and my gut feeling is he would take the job just to show that he is ready for prime time again. It’s a good job. Southern Miss is always playing someone we know and occasionally beating them.

“I think it would be hard to find a better fit than Hugh Freeze.”

Freeze back in the state of Mississippi would certainly make for some good headlines.