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Mike Shanahan as Dan Hawkins' replacement at CU? In our dreams

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We've reached the point in the Dan Hawkins saga where no one is even pretending he can survive as coach of the CU Buffs. After this past weekend's catastrophe against the Cyclones of Iowa State, talk among members of Buffs nation has transitioned from silly discussions about bowl eligibility to fantasies about who might take Hawkins' place.

The most unlikely name to have popped up thus far? Mike Shanahan. Really.

Earlier this week, the Colorado Daily's Bleacher Report shared athletic director Mike Bohn's comment about the Shanny speculation: "The position is not open." (Yet.) Meanwhile, CUIndependent.com listed Shanahan as a long shot for the gig -- one that'll "NEVER happen," author Ryan Callahan concedes -- using the following logic:

Shanahan's 35,000 square-foot mansion in Cherry Hills Village should be finished by now and he is being paid by Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen to basically do nothing. Why not come to Boulder for a couple of years and coach the Buffs? It worked for former NFL head coaches Pete Carroll and Nick Saban.

Crazier still comes this from what was once the Fire Josh McDaniels blogspot; it's been rechristened "Keep Coach Josh McDaniels." The site takes note of a rumor that Shanahan's son Kyle, currently offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans, will become the Buffs' coach -- and bring along dad as offensive coordinator.

Actually, Kyle Shanahan as coach of the Buffs doesn't seem all that far-fetched; he's certainly got name recognition in this area, and he's at the stage of his career that such a leap might seem attractive. But the Mastermind's moniker comes up in every discussion about NFL coaching vacancies. Every. Single. One.

Mike will be able to pick from several pro franchises apt to be looking for a new leader at season's end -- possibly even Chicago, where he could reunite with Jay Cutler not far from his hometown (he was born in Oak Park, Illinois). As a result, the odds of him rejecting these options in favor of taking over an absolute mess of a college program are so tiny that you'd need an electron microscope to see them.

But we can dream, can't we?

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