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Texas Tech coaching candidates: SMU's Sonny Dykes, UTSA's Jeff Traylor top list

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Kansas State takes its first lead on Vaughn's third TD (0:33)

Deuce Vaughn scores his third touchdown, his first through the air, to put Kansas State on top of Texas Tech. (0:33)

The theme of this year's coaching carousel so far is: No hesitation. When it's time for a change, schools aren't thinking twice about making one.

USC knew after two games and fired Clay Helton. LSU knew after six games and then fired Ed Orgeron following the seventh.

Texas Tech also seemed to be waiting for its chance to end the Matt Wells era. After the Red Raiders blew a 14-point halftime lead at home against Kansas State on Saturday, the school wasted no time in firing Wells on Monday. Despite the team's 5-3 record and some obvious improvement this season, Wells hadn't provided enough evidence that things would turn around in Lubbock. He's out after going 13-17 overall and 7-16 in Big 12 play.

Several factors drove Wells' dismissal. He didn't win enough, especially since being brought in to improve the product following Kliff Kingsbury's tenure (35-40 in six years). Kingsbury's incredible rise from fired Big 12 coach to successful NFL coach (20-18 with the Arizona Cardinals, including 7-0 this season) certainly created some regret in Lubbock.

But perhaps the biggest driver for the change is that Texas Tech has two A-plus candidates to replace Wells: SMU's Sonny Dykes and UTSA's Jeff Traylor, both of whom lead undefeated, ranked teams this season. Texas Tech likely wanted to move on from Wells before he could get any late-season traction, and to ensure it could pursue Dykes and Traylor before another Power 5 school could hire them.

Texas Tech is a challenging job because of its location, and only Mike Leach has generated recent national-level success there. But the school has a passionate fan base and a respected athletic director in Kirby Hocutt. Texas Tech should be able to compete in the reconfigured Big 12.

Many would be surprised if Texas Tech's search goes beyond the top two names, but here's a more complete look at coaches the school might consider to replace Wells.