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Arizona State Strongly Considering Hiring SMU's June Jones

Officials from the Pac-12 school have made no decisions yet, but they met with Jones for over three hours on Saturday.

According to reports from Arizona, Arizona State officials met with SMU coach June Jones for over three hours Saturday to discuss their vacant head coaching position.

While the school has not formally offered the position to Jones, he is widely considered to be one of the front-runners for it.

After going 1-11 in his first season in Dallas, Jones, a renowned turn-around artist, has gone 22-17 in the last three seasons, bringing SMU to three consecutive bowl games, the school's first since receiving the death penalty in 1987.

While he is one of the highest paid coaches outside of a BCS conference, with an annual salary of $2 million, Jones has clashed with the school administration about admission standards and has expressed disappointment at the often lackluster crowds at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Arizona State, which recently fired Dennis Erickson, would be Jones' first chance to coach at the highest levels of college football, as he spent most of his career in the NFL.

While the Mustangs have been linked to the Big East in the latest round of conference re-alignment, the future of the conference is very much in doubt, especially with many BCS administrators pushing to eliminate the idea of "Automatic Qualifier" conferences. 

The Sun Devils, meanwhile, are positioned to take advantage of the wide open Pac-12 that has already seen two offensive masterminds hired this off-season -- Rich Rodriguez at Arizona and Mike Leach at Washington State. The two biggest schools in the Pac-12 South, UCLA and USC, have unsettled futures as well, as USC is about to begin losing scholarships as punishment for the excesses of the Pete Carroll era while the Bruins recently fired coach Rick Neuheisel.

Because of the rumors swirling around his future, Jones was not made available to the media in the wake of news that the Mustangs will be headed to the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham to play Pittsburgh on Jan. 7.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.