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Had Willie Taggart stayed at USF, would he be Gators’ top choice?

Former USF coach Willie Taggart still might be a prime candidate for the Gators' coaching vacancy.

Hypotheticals and hindsight are the joyrides of athletics. If overtimes and extra innings are the tension-building, heart-palpitating Sheikras of sports, speculating on what could be — or might have been — are the bumper cars.

Which is to say, harmless fun.

And as speculation over the Gators' football coaching search enters its third day, here's something fun — and maybe fascinating — to ponder.

Had Willie Taggart remained at USF for one more season, he might be atop the Gators' wish list.

Who knows, he still might be.

Think about it: If Taggart still were around, USF's defense still might have issues (let's give some credit to what Charlie Strong has done with this unit). But the "Gulf Coast Offense" engineered by Quinton Flowers probably would've kept evolving to the point where it could outscore any of USF's first eight foes.

If USF were 8-0 (and presumably ranked) under Taggart right now, his record over his last 30 games as Bulls coach would be 26-4.

Toss in the heralded local recruiting job of he and his staff at USF, his youth (he's only 41) and the diversity factor (UF would break ground by making Taggart its first permanent African-American coach head football coach), and the upside is glaring.

But enough hypothesizing. Reality is, Taggart very well might be a candidate anyway. As this report indicates, his buyout from Oregon appears surprisingly minimal, and the fact he publicly has said he hasn't been contacted by anyone at UF doesn't mean his agent/represenative hasn't received a call.

Stay tuned.