NFL Coaching Rumors: Doug Marrone Moves Up Lists As Bill O'Brien Stays At PSU

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Syracuse head coach moves up NFL coaching lists, as Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien decides to stay.

You know that superstition you do when the Syracuse football team has a 10-point lead trimmed to three late in a game, and the offense needs just a few first downs to close out a victory?

Well, whatever you usually do to "help" the Orange pullout a win (please share with us if you do have one) start doing it now, because Thursday night the odds of Doug Marrone jumping to the NFL increased.

(Update: Tom Withers of the Associated Press hinted in a Tweet Marrone is "not leaving 'Cuse." Whatever you're doing KEEP DOING IT because it maybe working!)

According to Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, maybe the hottest college commodity, decided to stay in State College after the school ponied up some cash to keep him there.

The decision came after the university put together what one source called a "massive push" to keep O'Brien in State College. He and his staff are expected to receive significant pay raises, although details haven't been finalized.

That news came a few hours after The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot reported Marrone had indeed interviewed with the Cleveland Browns, who were extremely interested in O'Brien.

Now, the Browns seem set on offering Oregon's Chip Kelly a contract, reports Cabot.

If the Browns' interview with Kelly goes well, they'll be prepared to make him an offer he can't refuse.

If Kelly doesn't like what the Browns have to offer - the Eagles and Bills are extremely interested in him too - the next person in line seems to be Marrone, as all indications point to the Browns wanting a fresh face.

(Update: Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole is saying Marrone, along with New England Patriots coordinator Josh McDaniels, are still in the running for the Browns job if Kelly passes on an offer.)

Kelly, who helped the Ducks earn a 35-17 Fiesta Bowl victory over Kansas State on Thursday, is set to meet with the Browns on Friday.

Reports still say the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs (if the deal with Andy Reid falls through, reports Jason La Canfora) are still interested in Marrone, however, there's still no clear information on when he will make his next interview. It looks like it depends on how the other coaching dominoes fall.

Looking at the four vacancies, I feel confident the Bills and Chiefs will not go in the college coach direction.

Reid seems very interested in the Chiefs job and I see that working out, while the Bills are strongly targeting former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, another candidate for the Brown jobs, and former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

That leaves the Browns and Eagles, which are both the most likely franchises to turn to the college ranks and offer a job to Marrone.

Also don't forget that the Cardinals and San Diego Chargers have openings and if all their candidates fall through the cracks, and Marrone's interviews go well, teams might say, "Hey, you might want to check out this guy."

In conclusion, the O'Brien news is big when it comes to Marrone. As more dominoes fall the odds of the 48-year-old Marrone leaving goes up, and the nerves of Syracuse fans and recruits, including incoming quarterback Zach Allen, should rightfully become uneasy.

Yet, those close to the program still feel there's a good chance Marrone stays.

Whatever the chances are its probably best you starting doing that superstition you do, so Syracuse can close this out.

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