It's not a good time to be changing coaches at Oregon.
This is more fact than opinion. Start with the fact the school hasn't fired a coach in 40 years. The best names are off the board. Athletic director Rob Mullens is trying to recreate Camelot without his king.
Chip Kelly isn't likely to come back, at least right now. Meanwhile, there is dwindling attendance, concern that the Oregon brand -- as well as the program -- is slipping.
Here are seven names who may be persons of interest for Mullens. In no particular order ...
Mike MacIntyre, Colorado: This may sound strange, but MacIntyre might have it better at CU right now. The Buffaloes' foundation is a rock-solid defense. That philosophy has been the key to turnarounds at USC and Stanford in the Pac-10/12. Mac started the season on the hot seat but expect recruits to start flocking to the Flatirons. The Buffs once again are sexy. Oregon has to make the call, though. MacIntyre will get plenty of votes for national coach of the year. How many coaches have won 10 at both San Jose State and Colorado? A chance for a sizeable raise and better facilities could be tempting. But make no mistake, Oregon is a rebuild.
Larry Fedora, North Carolina: That was an ugly loss to NC State to end the season. But Fedora's name continues to pop up at Baylor. He was a back-up plan at LSU and Texas. There are only two people walking the Earth who have double-digit win seasons at North Carolina. His offensive background makes Fedora an interesting choice. His current quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, may be the first taken at his position in the draft. Think what Trubisky could have done for the Ducks this year.
P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: Fleck taking over at Purdue is one thing. Taking over the Nike flagship is a whole 'nother issue. Fleck's animated motivational approach rubs some of the wrong way. But there continue to be only two undefeated teams left. The Broncos are one of them. Receiver Corey Davis led the season in touchdown receptions. Does Oregon want to tie its future to a talented 35-year-old coach who might still be on the come?
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: Dan Mullen, Quarterback Whisperer? Nick Fitzgerald just ran for 258 yards against Ole Miss to post the No. 4 single-season quarterback rushing total in SEC history. That comes after Mullen developed Dak Prescott. You can't ignore Oregon hiring a coach coming off a 5-7 season, but Mullen also deserves credit for developing a top candidate for NFL rookie of the year.
If Mullen can take freakin' Mississippi State to the No. 1 ranking for five weeks (in 2014), think what he could do at Oregon. Lest we forget, Mullen has ties to both Kelly and Urban Meyer. Kelly recommended Mullen for his first job. Both grew up in New Hampshire. Mullen was Meyer's offensive coordinator at Florida.
Bryan Harsin, Boise State: Best overall record of anyone on this list (38-13). Harsin has won at least nine in at all three seasons with the Broncos, winning at least 10 twice. The former Texas offensive coordinator has picked up in Boise where Petersen left off. That is, making the Broncos a national program in the Group of Five space. He checks a lot of boxes in Eugene.
Jim McElwain, Florida: Mac is feeling unappreciated these days. All he has done in two seasons is play for a couple of SEC championships. Never mind the Gators are three-touchdown underdogs and are missing 12 players on Saturday. If McElwain truly is upset, a move to Oregon wouldn't be outrageous. He has Western roots and is an offensive coach the Ducks need. This could be McElwain's agent (Jimmy Sexton) angling for some love. The coach is already telling Florida recruits he's staying.
Willie Taggart, South Florida: Never mind Oregon law requires interviewing at least one minority candidate, Taggart makes perfect sense. Jim Harbaugh's former running backs coach at Stanford has steadily built USF back following the firing of Jim Leavitt. Taggart already has seven years of head coaching experience culminating in a career-best 10-2 record this season. Have you seen Quinton Flowers play? A poor-man's Lamar Jackson.