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Our top four candidates in Colorado’s coaching search

There’s a lot of smoke being blown around as the Buffaloes look for a new head football coach.

Oregon State v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Many names have been mentioned in Colorado’s search for their next head coach. Some are legitimate, but the majority are a result of fabricated rumors. Here’s our list of the top four coaches who are the top candidates to take over in Boulder.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Ohio State Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Day, Ohio State Buckeyes offensive coordinator

Day, 39, was named interim head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes while Urban Meyer served a three-game suspension to start the 2018 season. He took over as co-offensive coordinator for the Buckeyes in 2017. Day has experience in the NFL as a quarterbacks coach, along with a consistent track record as an offensive assistant in the college ranks.

Ohio State (12-1) is in contention for a Big Ten Championship and can possibly advance to a spot in the College Football Playoff. If Day is No. 1 for Colorado— and considering he’ll likely coach the rest of the Buckeye’s season— can CU athletic director Rick George wait another month to get a new coach on board in Boulder?

Seattle Times

Jimmy Lake, Washington Huskies defensive coordinator

Lake, 41, took over as defensive coordinator for Washington Huskies in 2018 after serving as co-defensive coordinator with Pete Kwiatkowski in the two prior seasons. The Huskies defense has been a stout group over the past couple seasons, leading the Pac-12 in total defense and scoring defense. Washington went 9-3 this season and defeated Utah in Friday’s Pac-12 championship. Like Day, Lake comes with an NFL background as an assistant coach in the secondary for Tampa Bay and Detroit.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Mel Tucker, Georgia defensive coordinator

Tucker, 46, is one of the most experienced defensive coordinators among today’s college ranks. Since beginning his coaching career in 1997, Tucker has spent time on Nick Saban’s staff at Michigan State and again at Alabama. He won two national championships at Ohio State as Jim Tressel’s defensive backs coach in 2002, and as an assistant for Saban at Alabama in 2015. He took over as the defensive coordinator at Georgia in 2016. Under Tucker, the Bulldogs have been ranked in the top 15 for total defense each of the past three seasons, allowing an average of 18.1 points per game.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Boston College Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Long, Notre Dame offensive coordinator

Long, 35, took over as offensive coordinator and play caller at Notre Dame in 2017 after serving in the same role at Memphis the year prior. He guided quarterback Paxton Lynch and the Tigers 16th ranked scoring offense to an average of 38.8 points per game. The Fighting Irish were ranked 20th in the nation this year for offensive efficiency and 28th in total offense with a total of 5,473 yards. Prior to being under Brian Kelly at Notre Dame, Long served as an offensive assistant at Arizona State and Illinois. He was also named as a finalist for the Broyles Award, recognizing college football’s best assistant coach. Notre Dame went undefeated at 12-0 for the third time since 1988.