Is Spurrier's successor coaching in the Pac-12?

Don't be surprised to see Rich Rodriguez emerge as a candidate for the South Carolina opening. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

We’re still six weeks from South Carolina interviewing candidates to replace Steve Spurrier, and even further away from a hire, but a short list is already coming together for athletic director Ray Tanner.

Those close to the program say the search is likely going to center on three candidates: Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, Houston coach Tom Herman and Memphis coach Justin Fuente. Those names don't come as a surprise; that trio has been at the forefront of any mention of the job since Spurrier stepped down a week ago.

But here’s another name to file away for consideration: Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.

Rodriguez did not immediately come to mind when I started to think about potential candidates for South Carolina. I assumed he would stay at Arizona until a bigger job -- say, LSU or Florida State -- became available. But as I discussed the possibility with agents and coaches, as well as with people close to the Gamecocks' search, it seems distinctly possible that the 52-year-old Rodriguez and Tanner will eventually talk.