The Bryan Harsin era at Auburn, after just its first season, left more questions than answers. The combination of finishing the year 6-7 with five straight losses and losing nearly two dozen players to the transfer portal on top of not signing any prospects on National Signing Day has put Harsin's tenure in question with Tigers. Now, the former Boise State coach faces an alleged scandal that has put his job at even further risk.

With the departure of Harsin from Auburn looking to be closer and closer to a foregone conclusion, who will the Tigers pursue to lead the team next season?

Many names have been thrown around, ranging from familiar faces to outright preposterous suggestions, but allow me to categorize some of the potential candidates.

The Good Ol' Boys

This is a group that many of you are likely familiar with, as they have all hung around the SEC in some form or fashion before. While many of their previous stints in the league ended with nothing but disappointment and their ultimate firing, those Barners still love to put these names out there.

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  • Hugh Freeze, Liberty

    This name seems to make every Auburn fan perk up when they hear it, but those same fans quickly forget how his program at Ole Miss went up in flames. I don't think Freeze is a bad coach, but why invite the surrounding controversy of someone who resigned in scandal just six years ago?

  • Kevin Steele, Miami

    This former Tennessee linebacker has spent much of his coaching career in the SEC, most recently serving as the defensive coordinator and interim head coach at Auburn after Gus Malzahn's firing. Many fans showed their disdain at the thought of hiring him in 2020, but have spent the last week campaigning for his return.

  • Will Muschamp, Georgia

    Muschamp, like Steele, has spent the majority of his career in the SEC, but his recent stints as head coach at Florida (2011-14) and South Carolina (2016-20) left a lot to be desired. It's no secret that the current co-defensive coordinator at Georgia can build a strong defense, but can he salvage a program?

The Wildcards

This dynamic duo of coaches may lack the tenured SEC experience of the previous group, but don't turn your nose at what they have accomplished. While they may not be quite as popular as the other options, both of these coaches would make an excellent hire.

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  • Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss

    Joey Freshwater himself. Kiffin has no real reason to leave Ole Miss for Auburn as the move would be lateral at best considering the progress he's made in just two short seasons, but if "the powers that be" could get it done, it would certainly be a home run.

  • Bill Clark, UAB

    Of all the names mentioned on this list, this is one that should worry Alabama fans the most. While these other coaches have certainly seen success in on-field production, Clark has built a program from the ground up. After Clark's first season in 2014, the Blazer football program was shut down and only reinstated after raising $27 million the next year. Since reinstatement, Clark has led the program to two conference championships and four bowl appearances, winning two of them.

The Wikipedia Hires

When Harsin was hired, he was a very under-the-radar name that few people were familiar with. Due to the lack of success under his leadership, the Tigers will likely not take that route again; however, this pair of coaches has accomplished a lot at their smaller schools and the power five will come knocking sooner than later.

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  • Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina

    Chadwell joined the Chanticleer staff in 2017 as an offensive coordinator but was quickly moved into a head coaching role following Joe Moglia's unexpected retirement in 2018. After a tough start, going 5-7 in his first two years, Chadwell has turned the program on its head and put together back-to-back 11 win seasons and a conference title in 2020.

  • Tyson Helton, Western Kentucky

    Helton has just three years of head coaching experience, all at Western Kentucky, but has won nine games in two of those seasons and secured two bowl wins for the oft-forgotten Hilltoppers. More importantly, in 2021, WKU finished with the second-ranked offense in the nation, averaging 535 yards and nearly 45 points per game.

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