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Report: Matt Rhule might be a favorite to land the Missouri job

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The misdirection and misinformation involved in reports from "SOURCES" are, of course, legion. But PowerMizzou's Gabe Dearmond has been mentioning for a while that Temple's Matt Rhule could be a finalist to replace Gary Pinkel at Missouri, and it appears Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel is hearing the same thing.

One candidate who intrigues Rhoades is Temple coach Matt Rhule, who has been choosy about which jobs he's involved with. Rhule is an odd geographic fit, but his success at Temple has been so strong that there is a belief his personality could fit anywhere. Missouri assistant Barry Odom will also get strong consideration as an internal candidate, as he's well thought of in Columbia. (Odom is also the favorite to replace Justin Fuente at Memphis.)

At Temple, Rhule inherited a program that was sliding backwards after a brief peak under Al Golden and Steve Addazio. His Owls bottomed out at 2-10 in his first year but improved to 6-6 with an incredible defense last year. This year, the Owls are 9-2 and one win from the AAC East title. If they beat UConn this evening (6:00 p.m. CT on ESPNU), they will face Houston next weekend in the AAC title game.

In terms of Def. S&P+, Rhule has produced a top-20 defense for two straight years. His offense has been problematic (sound familiar?) but has been drastically improved this year; the Owls are still inefficient but are increasingly athletic and capable of producing big plays.

Rhule doesn't have any big-time offensive chops and has no natural ties to Missouri or the SEC. But as Thamel said, if you appear to be the real deal overall, you can overcome a lack of ties. Gary Pinkel didn't have any Missouri ties either, obviously.