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SI.com speculation links UA coach Rich Rodriguez to Florida job

The more the Arizona Wildcats win, the more you’ll read about the possibility of head coach Rich Rodriguez being poached by a different school.

Hired as the Wildcats were wrapping up a four-win season in 2011, the former West Virginia and Michigan coach has guided Arizona to a 21-11 record as well as two bowl victories, and in the process resuscitated his career and put his name back on the list of the game’s elite sideline bosses.

SI.com’s Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans are speculating that the Florida Gators may be in need of a new coach this season, and is likely to consider Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen while also attempt to lure away Bob Stoops from Oklahoma or Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze. If none of those three end up in Gainesville, however, they write that athletic director Jeremy Foley may look to Tucson.

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has the offensive ingenuity and head coaching success to fit in Gainesville, but the low-key Rodriguez and hard-driving Foley seem like an odd couple. Rodriguez’s success recruiting Florida while at West Virginia would be a plus, but he’d likely need a staff upgrade. It’s debatable if he’d do that.

Arizona has done plenty to upgrade its football program over the last few years, with stadium and facility upgrades being the most visible aspects. However, while improved, it is still not viewed as one of the more prominent programs in the country. Maybe Rodriguez, who flamed out in Michigan, would like to try again at a big-time school.

Or, maybe he has decided that comfort is key and has little interest in leaving Tucson, even if a high-profile program comes calling.

At the very least, the fact that his name is being brought up for some of the top jobs means he’s doing a good one in the Old Pueblo.