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Syracuse football: seems like the candidate list is narrowing down

Reports have two names of interest leading the way

Syndication: USA TODAY Brad McClenny / USA TODAY NETWORK

The rumor mill for who will be the next head coach for the Syracuse Orange football team continues to be scorching hot less than a week after former coach Dino Babers was fired.

Dan Mullen, the former coach for the Florida Gators and Mississippi State Bulldogs, appears to be the unofficial odds-on favorite amid the laundry list of coaching candidates out there It is being reported that Mullen visited Syracuse University’s campus on Thursday for a practice, and that met with Athletic Director John Wildhack on Wednesday. Keep in mind that Mullen was formerly a graduate assistant for the program in 1998.

Mullen coached at Mississippi State between 2009 and 2017, as well as served as the coach for the Gators between 2018 and 2021. He has a career record of 103-61 as head coach for both those programs and guided those teams to 10 bowl appearances combined.

Mullen also played off rumors during today’s Miami-BC game.

Football Scoop reported earlier Friday that outside of Mullen, Holy Cross head coach Bob Chesney also appears to be the other top option given his success with that program as well as his ties to the Northeast. Chesney is 44-20 all-time since he took the Holy Cross job in 2018, with his only season with a losing record occurring during his first year as coach for the Crusaders.

Other candidates reported by Football Scoop as being vetted by Syracuse officials include Toledo head coach Jason Candle, Marshall head coach Charles Huff and Notre Dame defensive coordinator Al Golden.

On Monday, Wildhack in a press conference clarified that preferred candidates to replace Babers included those who can gear recruitment to the New England and Mid-Atlantic states, have a connection of some kind to the Northeast and ideally possess previous Power 5 experience as a coach, coordinator or assistant.

Following the announcement of Babers’ tenure ending, Wildhack named tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile as the interim head coach for the rest of the 2023 season.

Despite all the chaos this year, Syracuse sits at 5-6 and will look to clinch bowl eligibility Saturday afternoon against Wake Forest in hopes of reaching back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since 2012 and 2013.