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Report Names 3 "Warm" Candidates For USC Job

A general view of USC's football stadium.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 02: A general view of the stadium during the game between the Washington Huskies and the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

USC's job opening has been one of the most intriguing topics in all of college football for the past week. Although the head coaching search is nowhere close to being over, a few top-tier candidates have emerged.

In fact, J. Brady McCollough of the Los Angeles Timeshas already named three "warm" candidates for USC's head coaching job.

The first candidate that McCollough mentioned is Penn State head coach James Franklin. He has been linked to the Trojans for several years, but the noise surrounding this potential pairing is certainly louder now more than ever. Last week, Dan Patrick said there's mutual interest between Franklin and USC.

“By all accounts he’s done a nice job there, you know it’s the next challenge,” Patrick said. “A lot of these coaches think ‘I’m done with this, next challenge.’ Maybe that’s the case, I don’t know. But there’s going to be a lot of names you’re going to hear.”

Franklin isn't the only marquee name being listed as a "warm" candidate. Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell is also an attractive choice for the USC job due to his recent success with the Bearcats, and his connection to USC AD Mike Bohn, who hired him to lead the Bearcats. However, he recently dismissed any rumors linking him to the Trojans.

"Look, I don’t talk to anybody. I barely talk to my own family during the season,” Fickell said, via the Los Angeles Times. “So I wouldn’t ever talk about it nor would I even answer a phone call or anything like that. It’s not a big deal. It’s nothing but distractions, and for us, it can’t be."

The third and final candidate on this list is Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, USC is one of the only college jobs that might be able to pull Bieniemy away from the NFL.

Any of these three candidates would be a fine choice for USC. Franklin has shown that he can win in multiple places, Fickell is an emerging star at the collegiate level, and Bieniemy is an offensive genius who could make the Trojans must-see TV once again.

USC fans, who do you want as the team's next head coach?

[Los Angeles Times]