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Five candidates that could replace Dan Mullen at Florida

The Florida job is open following the firing of Dan Mullen. Here are the top five candidates that the Gators should pursue as their next head football coach.

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LUKE FICKELL, Cincinnati

Luke Fickell
Luke Fickell (USA Today Sports Images)

The Cincinnati coach is obviously going to be linked to every big job opening, as he's one of the hottest coaching candidates in the country. Since 2018, the Bearcats are 42-5, and are in serious contention for the College Football Playoff this season. There's no question that he's a great coach, but he has zero ties to the Southeast having never coached outside the state of Ohio.

And with Cincinnati heading to a Power Five conference in the next few years, there may not be the same pressure to leave. He can be picky about the next job he chooses, but there's no doubt that when it's clicking Florida is one of the best jobs in the country.

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LANE KIFFIN, Ole Miss

Lane Kiffin
Lane Kiffin (USA Today Sports Images)

We all know that Kiffin's offense would be a great fit in Florida - the combination of his scheme and the talent available in the Sunshine State would make for an explosive attack. The question then becomes how much of an upgrade would it be moving from Oxford to Gainesville?

With the potential of Arch Manning having Ole Miss near the top of his list and Kiffin likely in demand, he might think twice about leaving.

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BILLY NAPIER, Louisiana

Billy Napier
Billy Napier (USA Today Sports Images)

One of the best coaches in the Group of Five, Napier is going to crop up for a lot of jobs especially in the Southeast. He's 31-5 at Louisiana in the past three seasons, and has clinched his third-straight appearance in the Sun Belt title game.

While he hasn't coached in the state of Florida before, he's spent time at both Clemson and Alabama and is clearly one of the game's brightest offensive minds. He would be a bit less of a conventional hire, but has huge upside.

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BOB STOOPS, Retired

Bob Stoops
Bob Stoops (USA Today Sports Images)

Would the Gators' job lure the legendary coach out of retirement? Stoops has history in The Swamp, serving as Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator for three seasons in the late 1990s before taking over the Oklahoma job. And his 190-48 record speaks for itself.

But he's been out of the game since 2016 and, at 61-years-old, may not be that inclined to put up with all of the pressure that comes with the UF job. If he ever had interest in coming back to the game, however, there's not a much better fit.

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MEL TUCKER, Michigan State

Mel Tucker
Mel Tucker (USA Today Sports Images)

While Tucker's stock will definitely have taken a hit following the demolition of his squad at the hands of Ohio State, there's no doubt that he's still going to be a top candidate for a lot of jobs. Tucker has proven that he can get a lot of talent up to speed fast, as evidenced by how good the litany of transfers that he brought in have been this season, and that's something that will be required in Gainesville.

Additionally, there may be some benefit of bringing in a more defensive-minded head coach as the Gators have struggled on that side of the ball of late.

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