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Is the ASU-Sumlin marriage closer to fruition?

The search continues for Arizona State’s new head football coach just
days after Dennis Erickson was relieved of his duties.

On Monday, reports circulated that ASU had indeed
targeted Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin as their top candidate
and that talks had already started.

Wednesday night, Arizona Sports’ Paul Calvisi tweeted the following:

Multiple sources confirm ASU has made contact w/ reps
Kevin Sumlin & they are “down the road.” Ready to spend $2.5M per yr.

The real nugget there is the amount ASU is reportedly ready to spend.
Erickson made $1.5 million this season. Just last week, the University of
Arizona hired Rich Rodriguez as their new head coach, and he agreed to
five-year, $9.55 million contract, or about $1.9 million per season
(including money from IMG and Nike).

Sumlin signed a six-year deal with Houston back in January of 2010, and
his reported salary for the 2011 campaign is $1.2 million.

The 47-year-old Sumlin is in his 4th season at Houston, and has the
Cougars on the doorstep of their first ever BCS bowl bid. This is the 3rd
season under Sumlin’s watch that the Cougars rank in the top two
nationally in total offense. Led by record-setting quarterback Case
Keenum, Houston ranks first in the nation in total offense (613.3 yards
per game) and points (52.7 per game).

Calvisi’s tweet also suggests that talks are advancing between the two
sides despite Sumlin’s quote earlier this week. “No one has contacted
me from anywhere in the country about a coaching job anywhere. Even if
they tried, at this point, I wouldn’t even talk to them. We’re in the middle
of the season,” he said.

Houston will host the Conference USA Championship Game on Saturday
against Southern Mississippi.