Colorado coaching candidates: Matt Wells, Bryan Harsin lead list of candidates for the Buffaloes

A decent man and great coach, Colorado's Mike MacIntyre became the fourth Power Five coach fired this season. MacIntyre's star fell quickly. The Buffaloes started 5-0 but have lost six straight.

It was only two years ago that Mac was named national coach of the year after leading to the Buffs to the Pac-12 Championship Game. It was only five days ago that Colorado athletic director Rick George said he "had made no decision" on the future of the program.

That sure changed quickly.

Let's take a look at the top five candidates to replace MacIntyre at Colorado.

1. Matt Wells, Utah State coach: This seems too easy. Wells, 45, is peaking with possibly the best season in the program's history. Wells has spent almost his entire career in the West. This opening seems to suit him perfectly. He is an offensive coach who has been at Utah State eight years, six as head coach. If he can get the Aggies sniffing the top 10, think what he could do with Colorado's resources. Wells is 1-7 against Power Five competition.

2. Bryan Harsin, Boise State coach: Harsin, 42, has restored Boise State to near Chris Petersen-era levels. His name pops up each year for big-time jobs. This could be the one with the Broncos playing Wells and Utah State for the division title this week. Winner gets the CU job?

3. Jim Leavitt, Oregon defensive coordinator: Not clear if Leavitt would wait to see if Kansas State is open or go after Colorado. Leavitt was MacIntyre's coordinator in 2015 and 2016, the year the Buffs played in Pac-12 Championship Game. Leavitt has baggage after allegedly striking a player at South Florida.

4. Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator: Bieniemy's star is rising quickly as the Chiefs OC. Being attached to Patrick Mahomes is not the worst thing in the world. Beloved in Boulder, Colorado, he is one of the all-time Buffs and a member of the 1990 national champions. All it might take is a phone call from Andy Reid but does Bieniemy want to leave during what might be a magic season? There might be better jobs out there.

5. Jeff Tedford, Fresno State coach: Tedford's road back to the Power Five looks much clearer now. Aaron Rodgers old coach at Cal has won 19 games in two seasons at Fresno State.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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